World Mental Health Day is marked on 10 October as an annual global celebration of mental health education, awareness and advocacy. Yesterday I had the pleasure of introducing Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust‘s anti-stigma film, designed to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing.
The film developed out of a creative idea suggested by the Living with Depression Community of Interest, and it was a proud moment for us to see it come to fruition with the help of so many dedicated people at the Trust.
I hope you enjoy viewing the film below and take some comfort from knowing that none of us are alone. Here are my introductory words from yesterday’s event, spoken as Chair of the Living with Depression Community of Interest.
Last year – in celebration of World Mental Health Day – the Living with Depression Community of Interest took dance to the Trust’s Executive Leadership Council meeting, and later the same day we invited people to join together in Nottingham’s Old Market Square for a public spectacle. We were emphasising the power of people connecting and the possibility of recovery.
It was really significant that Nottinghamshire Healthcare supported our flash mob by asking Kenny of Unique Images to capture it on film, because not everyone can make it to a certain venue on a certain date at a certain time. And that’s why the vision of this year’s anti-stigma film has been to include as many of the Trust’s service users, staff and stakeholders as possible.
This film puts people first. The warm relationships between staff and service users are so clear.
The personalities and characters involved in an organisation are what gives it value and meaning. As you watch the film I hope you feel a sense of pride in the Trust truly valuing diversity.
It demonstrates the strength of our working partnerships and highlights the commitment of staff and volunteers.
The film draws on the song ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams and the tone is definitely to promote a feelgood factor. But a seriously poignant message shines through. I believe happiness is a challenging concept for all humans and it is everyone’s responsibility to improve attitudes to mental health and wellbeing. Don’t judge by outward appearance. I’ve been told in the past that I can’t be depressed if I’m able to smile. That’s rubbish. Happiness isn’t continuous for anyone. It happens in quality moments, and we all deserve those moments.
Many of us with mental health problems have experienced a sense of disconnection from the world. Each of us discovers techniques and people to help us reconnect to the world. I’m passionate about the need to improve funding for psychological therapies – and I really hope that commissioners sit up and take notice of this film and recognise what patient and public involvement really means in practice. Diversity, innovation and creativity gives everyone a chance to get involved.
It needn’t be dance or music; it could be another shared activity which works for you. But I know, through dance, that I’ve learned how to enjoy myself, released new aspects of my personality, and managed to turn down the volume on the perfectionist version of myself which held me hostage and kept me feeling isolated and separate from other people. ‘Happy’ is a film which brings us together and values our connections.
To everyone who participated in the film, thank you. If shaking your booty isn’t your thing, or showing your face on film is so outside your comfort zone you sat this one out, please know that you are a part of this too. You’re making a big difference by being here and supporting the film’s message. Please share as widely as you can. Whether this film encourages you to laugh or cry (and maybe it will do both), let’s make a lot of noise about mental health.