Moving Minds - youth-made films about mental health and wellbeing

04 Feb 2019

5 mins
Moving Minds - youth-made films about mental health and wellbeing

In 2018, in response to the growing number of young people experiencing mental health challenges, we devised a project to explore and promote mental wellbeing through filmmaking. The Moving Minds Filmmaking Project gave 200 young people aged 11-19 the chance to work with professional filmmakers to devise and create their own short film on an aspect of wellbeing they thought was significant. 

Working creatively and collaboratively with professional mentors was a great opportunity for the young participants to increase their confidence, learn about working in a team, and to gain filmmaking skills and experience. Making their films also gave them a voice on mental health, enabling them to build their own resilience and to advocate the importance of talking about wellbeing to others. The young people were drawn from schools, youth groups and NHS services.

Our aim is for the impact of Moving Minds to reach far wider than the 200 participating young people, and for their films to be used as a lasting legacy. We believe that youth-made films are uniquely useful for starting and supporting discussions about youth mental health, enabling the viewer to see the subject through young people's eyes. It is our hope that these films will contribute to de-stigmatising mental health.

We're launching the suite of Moving Minds films alongside an educational resource that provides discussion questions and activity outlines to support educators working with young people aged 11-19 to explore them. We're also providing guidance to enable you to facilitate simple filmmaking, as well as further activities to get educators working with film as a springboard to supporting mental health awareness in your school.

Into Film is very grateful to ICAP Charity Day for funding the Moving Minds Filmmaking Project.

ICAP Charity Day Logo - for Moving Minds Filmmaking Project Article

ICAP Charity Day

Into Film's Moving Minds Filmmaking Project is funded by ICAP Charity Day.

The Moving Minds Project Films

Scroll down the page to view all of the brilliant mental health-themed youth-made films, complete with age ratings, key themes, and short synopses of the films.

Animations on Mental Health 1 - Sir John Cass Red Coat School

Into Film age rating: 11+

Key themes: Depression, Anxiety, Strategies to Stay Mentally Healthy

Synopsis: Young people discuss how mental ill health can feel, and their best advice on how to cope.

Animations on Mental Health 2 - Sir John Cass Red Coat School

Into Film age rating: 11+

Key themes: Introduction to Mental Health Awareness, How to Stay Mentally Healthy

Synopsis: Young people discuss the vulnerabilities of living with mental ill health, and how being honest and talking openly with friends and family can be a great help.

Animations on Mental Health 3 - Sir John Cass Red Coat School

Into Film age rating: 11+

Key themes: Body image, Strategies to Stay Mentally Healthy

Synopsis: Young people use stop-motion animation to discuss the feelings of judgement whilst living with mental health struggles, and how to look after yourself by making small changes to your daily routine.

A Voice Too Small -  New Rickstones Academy

Into Film age rating: 11+

Key themes: Anti-bullying, Cyber-bullying, Self-esteem

Synopsis: How can a young person deal with bullying when they have a monster battling for control? In the forest of the mind the monster of negativity looms large. A little voice of self-esteem can be heard, but will this creature grow large enough to overcome.

Back on Track - Octavia House Schools

Into Film age rating: 11+ (Contains references to bereavement and alcoholism)

Key themes: Physical Health, Socio-political Themes, Seeking Help, Strategies to Improve Mental Health

Synopsis: Following the death of his father, 16-year-old Jack is forced to take on responsibilities way above and beyond the average teenager's capability. A talented athlete, Jack faces the challenge of balancing his role as ‘man of the house' with his love of running.

Behind the Mask - Luton Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

Into Film age rating: 11+

Key themes: Social Isolation, Seeking Help, Strategies to Improve Mental Health, and Social, Academic and Family Pressures

Synopsis: We follow a day in the life of Taylor, a young adolescent who suffers from mental health issues. Using a mask to conceal her inner emotions, we see her journey through a day of experiences that trigger her social anxiety, which eventually leads to her breaking down to her parents and wishing to seek professional help.

Beneath the Surface - Tower Hamlets Summer Holiday Project

Into Film age rating: 11+

Key themes: Social Isolation, Strategies to Improve Mental Health

Synopsis: An introverted - yet talented - boy called Daryl is unintentionally overlooked by a group of friends who lack his expertise in various activities. Will the group ever realise the talents and skills that Daryl possesses?

Every Rose Has Its Thorns - Grays Youth Theatre

Into Film age rating: 11+ (One use of mild bad language)

Key themes: Eating Disorders, Body Image, Social Isolation, Social Media, Be Proud of Yourself, Being Thin Won't Make You Happy

Synopsis: Rose's popularity masks deep insecurity, but the secret she hides is starting to come out - she is battling with bulimia. Friends, family and teachers all try to help, but she rejects them at every step, believing it is more important to look good online than feel good in herself. As she pushes everyone away, Rose must dig deep to find the courage to ask for help.

Feeling Happy - Inclusive Arts Centre

Into Film age rating: 11+

Key themes: Strategies to Stay Mentally Healthy

Synopsis: A short animation made by young people from an inclusive arts community centre exploring what makes them happy. A trip to the park surrounded by nature and a game of footy helps overcome feelings of anger and anxiety. What makes you happy?

Mental Health Myths - The Marsh Academy

Into Film age rating: 11+

Key themes: Introduction to Mental Health Awareness, Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Strategies to Stay Mentally Healthy

Synopsis: Young people use Claymation to discuss and debunk common mental health myths.

OK - Bromley Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

Into Film age rating: 14+ (Contains animated sequences of emotional distress and subtle references to suicidal thoughts.)

Key themes: Social Isolation, Depression, Bereavement

Synopsis: A series of short animations. A group of teenagers meet up for their weekly session. The leader asks them how they're all doing, but "I'm OK" just doesn't cover it all.

Our House - Simmons House Classroom

Into Film age rating: 11+

Key themes: Creative Ways to Illustrate Mental Health, Strategies to Improve Mental Health

Synopsis: A giant folk effigy which celebrates the summer is decorated with words and charms containing our hopes and wishes.

Panic - Grays Youth Theatre

Into Film age rating: 11+

Key themes: Anxiety, Strategies to Improve Mental Health, and Social, Academic and Family Pressures

Synopsis: A-student Brooke is starting to unravel under the pressure of her GCSE exams. Desperate to escape her mounting anxiety, she tries in vain to get her busy mother's attention. Her anxiety mounts as the appointed hour of her exam approaches. The resulting crisis leads to a way forward with her exams and a new understanding with her mother.

Paper Planes

Into Film age rating: 11+

Key themes: Anti-bullying, Seeking Help, Strategies to Improve Mental Health, and Social, Academic and Family Pressures

Synopsis: With exams looming and pressure building, a secondary school student struggles to overcome her anxieties. This film provides a glimpse into the internal workings of a young person's mind as their mental health deteriorates. What will help her get perspective?

The Broken Rose - Haringey Tuition Service

Into Film age rating: 11+ (Contains rude gesture)

Key themes: Anxiety, Social Isolation, Positive Friendships, Seeking Help

Synopsis: A young woman longs to connect with people and form friendships, but she is isolated and scared. She finds the courage to step outside only to be overwhelmed by the noise and bustle of modern living. Can she find friendship and belonging in this uncaring world?

Triple Sided - Hammersmith Academy

Into Film age rating: 11+

Key themes: Anti-bullying, Positive Friendships, and Social, Academic and Family Pressures

Synopsis: There are three sides to every story. Another day, another panic attack. Sam is doing his best to keep on top of things, but bully Charlie is really not helping. Thankfully he's got Jay on his side - but is he asking too much?

What is it Like on the Inside - Lewisham Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

Into Film age rating: 11+ (Contains references to suicidal thoughts)

Key themes: Anxiety, Depression, Strategies to Improve Mental Health

Synopsis: "Mental health looks different depending on where you are standing."

This animated film gives insight into the lives and experiences of a group of young people as they discuss the changing states of our mental health, and how we can manage them.

Woodland Home - Kent Health Needs School

Into Film age rating: 11+

Key themes: Mindfulness, Strategies to Stay Mentally Healthy

Synopsis: Contemplation of nature and its benefits are evoked in this meditation on a shady wood. A woodland is evoked as a place of refuge from the elements and a shelter for those who live within it.

#Treatithesame - Uxbridge College

Into Film age rating: 11+

Key themes: Physical Health, Anxiety, Social Isolation, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Seeking help

Synopsis: Noticing a mental health issue can be harder than noticing a physical health issue but this doesn't mean it should be treated any differently. When life feels tough we all need someone to offer us support.

Mental Wellbeing Resources

ICAP Charity Day Logo - for Moving Minds Filmmaking Project Article

ICAP Charity Day

Into Film's Moving Minds Filmmaking Project is funded by ICAP Charity Day.

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