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Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK ran from the 13 th to 19 th May. For a long time I didn’t really understand what this was however in the last few years I have become more and more aware of mental illness and how it can affect young people just as much as adults. Pressures and triggers are around us all the time - pressure to be popular, pressure to be cool, pressure to get good grades. Sometimes young people find this very difficult to deal with and it can become a serious problem in the form of depression.

I have been lucky to be involved in a not for profit project that launches this month which aims to raise awareness and help young people with depression. ‘Struggle’ is a short film series that follows the inner thoughts of the lead character, teenager Kitty, as her paintings come to life and speak to her about the pressures she faces day to day. Accompanying the storyline are some narrator sequences telling real life stories and offering advice. While the narrations have been filmed using actors, they represent real young people from all walks of life and in all kinds of circumstances across the country. I was honoured to narrate Marie’s Story for the project and hopefully someone can relate to it and find the help they need. The goal of the project is to get this series into schools and colleges across the UK and US. Raising awareness in schools and colleges will hopefully let people know there is a way to get help before the effects of depression destroy their life. In addition the project aims to create an open forum for discussions about self-help programmes.

The film series was written and directed by the award winning Jane Sanger and sponsored by Cameron Grant Memorial Trust who believe in the preservation and protection of good mental health in young people, urging people to talk openly about their mental health and pointing them in the right direction toward help and support.

If this project helps even one person then it will be worth it.

Working on this project has helped me understand how you can really never know how a person feels. Their story on the outside or on social media may not be the whole story. My key take-away from this experience is definitely ‘In a world where you can be anything; be kind.’

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