Earlier this year I happened to meet an old school friend, Louise, who I’d not seen for a couple of years. Now a GP, living close by, she asked me if I might help her with a charitable project she was thinking of launching writes Media Parents’ Jodie Chillery, PD.
Dr Louise told me how she has witnessed a dramatic rise in young people presenting with self-harm injuries at her surgery and she had a feeling that online instruction videos and images are behind this spike in reported incidents. Louise had her own battle with mental health as a teenager and was admitted into a child psychiatric unit from the age of 13 to 16 with self-harm and an eating disorder. She remembered what it was like in the mid 90s when anyone suffering with a mental health problem was branded a “looney” or resigned to the “nut house”. And while its true, a great deal has been done to raise awareness and change attitudes since then, Louise can’t help but feel its not enough, something needs to actually be done!
I helped her produce a fundraising video for a project called Growing Resilience in Teens she is piloting in Hitchin in Hertfordshire to tackle issues associated with low self esteem and manifesting in negative behaviour such as self-harm. But as I met more of the young people who were self-harming and learnt more about how they are influenced, it seemed to me that there was a bigger story in this project worth exploring.
And now some months later with some filming underway the project is snowballing. I have contributors, I have an exec producer, I have a Radio1 DJ even, and I have an audience – I just don’t have any money!
I also have a duty and a commitment to make this film. Not just to raise awareness and investigate what it is that’s influencing our young people, but to document Dr Louise’s journey so other communities around the country can take a look and replicate her idea in their school or community group.
This is happening right here, right now and I desperately need a bit of equipment. The equipment will both help to actually make the film, but also has the potential to be used as part of the project in film-making workshops with the teenagers that take part. Hired in or borrowed equipment will not give us the flexibility this project needs.
So, on Friday 30th June I’m launching a crowd funding campaign to help generate some initial funding to get the project off the ground. It should also put me in a stronger position to apply for other grants and funding streams. If you think you might be able to contribute something please pledge via the crowdfunder here and if you can think of anyone else that might want to help with this please do share the link too.
And when this film is released, I’ll be back here writing about how it worked out!