West Yorkshire Health & Care Partnership, Forum Central, University of Leeds and different VCSE organisations from across West Yorkshire have contributed to a film project which highlights the different people with lived experience of mental illness. Warning: links contain themes of mental health, suicide and self harm.

Read the report:

The Living with Lived Experience Co-produced Film Project Evaluation (pdf)

Summary of the Report:

The report discusses a series of films featuring people sharing their experiences of unwanted journeys into mental illness. It identifies four stages within these journeys, using the metaphor of a journey:

  1. Recognising the need for help
    People often struggle to describe their feelings and seek help only when their mental health deteriorates. Labels like “craziness” and “madness” are stigmatising, and making sense of available information can be challenging.
  2. Accessing help and support
    Seeking help is courageous, but individuals in the films express frustration with unresponsive services. Inequality and discrimination in accessing professional help worsen the situation.
  3. Establishing trust in help
    Trust is crucial for effective support. Active listening emerges as the primary factor in building trust and healing relationships, allowing individuals to feel heard and understood.
  4. Coping
    Coping differs from cure and involves managing life despite ongoing challenges. The films showcase stories of people learning to cope, serving as inspirational examples along the journey.

Communication is a central theme across these stages

Effective communication involves expressing personal experiences, articulating needs, receiving respectful hearing, and finding practical coping strategies. The report highlights that poor communication leads to negative outcomes throughout the mental health journey. The films aim to shed light on both harmful and compassionate communication instances.

Watch the films

Here is a list of all the films in the report and links to them. There is a summary to each film in the report.

  1. Finding the words to describe mental health: Film 1:“What does mental health mean to you?”
  2. Seeking Help: Film 2: “It felt like the end of the world, really…” and Film 3: “That’s the help I’m asking for, so I can come across to people”
  3. Trust and Listening: Film 4: “You need to be able to engage, sincerely” and Film 5: “You know they’re interested in you… it’s part of the process of pulling you out of the dark”
  4. Coping: Film 6: “Ever since I started coming here, I feel a lot better”

Where next?

  1. Ensure as many people as possible use these films as a catalyst for discussion and change
  2. Take details and encourage your workforce/colleagues to use the films
  3. Help maximise the benefit of these films – ensuring the generosity of the voices who made them is heard