The students, Ed Maclulevicius, Cathal Murphy, Billy Twohig, and Amy O’Regan say they have been “blown away” by the support their Our Mental Health project is receiving. Mental health campaigner, Bressie, has applauded the project, which is encouraging young people to talk openly about their mental health.
Cathal Murphy says a motivation for the film was that poor mental health was “often discussed too late”, in the aftermath of suicides.
The film was to be self-funded, but crowdfunding or arts funding may yet be sought, says Ed Maclulevicius, a CIT multimedia student. “As the trailer showed, we want Our Mental Health to focus on the personal stories, on the experiences. We want to be emotionally dynamic, but to be real. We don’t want to censor; we want to finish on a bright note to show what’s possible, what people have done to overcome this, how people are coping”, he says.
Derek Chambers, director of programmes at teen mental health service ReachOut Ireland, says “the initiative taps into a culture shift in terms of how we, as a population, are engaging with mental health”.
“This documentary is being made by young people for young people, and the approach the guys are taking can really help us in moving beyond ‘them and us’ conversations in mental health”.
Ed, who has taken a semester off college to do the filming, is hoping to have the documentary finished by August. He says it’s not just aimed at young people, but people of all ages, so they might better understand how vulnerable mental health can be.
“We did a lot of research first and spoke to experts, and it became clear that we needed to look at mental health in its totality, as not always being just about mental health problems. We want people to see that focussing on mental health is about keeping it healthy. Mental health does not necessarily always mean anxiety or depression,” he says.
A psychology and economics student at UCC, Cathal says they are hoping Our Mental Health will give “a better insight into the lives of those who have experienced poor mental health” and inspire others to be “a listening ear and support to those who might need to talk”.