A Carlow school's powerful short film promoting positive mental health has been shortlisted for a national award.
Transition year students at St. Mary’s Academy CBS’s In the Picture short film was in response to St Patrick’s Mental Health Services’ Walk In My Shoes Frame of Mind competition.
Established in 2012, Walk In My Shoes is an awareness and education campaign that runs initiatives to promote positive mental health. The Frame of Mind competition aims to improve awareness about mental health and to remove the stigma associated with mental health struggles.
“Inspiration for the film came out of student discussions about mental health, what this meant for them, and how best to visually communicate these ideas. While primarily a learning platform for film class students, this was also an exercise in creativity and social awareness,” St. Mary’s Academy CBS teacher AJ Doyle told Carlow Live.
As part of Mr Doyle’s film class, the students were asked to take pictures of anything from their daily surroundings that, for them, was a visual representation of mental health.
The images collected formed the basis of a narrative stitched together by the students, telling the story of an ordinary student who is experiencing mental health issues. This evolved into the script for a voiceover, with one student elected to act the part and another who took on the spoken word role.
“Film-making duties were shared among the class so that every student had the chance to learn to operate the camera and set up equipment. For the shooting of the film, students got behind the camera and filmed at various locations in and around the school. Adverse weather during outdoor filming times only encouraged 4H students to make lemons out of lemonade, as they made use of the rain as a visual metaphor for depression.
“Working on a tight four-week schedule during normal class time, the students managed to film and edit In the Picture on time for the competition deadline,” Mr Doyle added.
Having since been shortlisted by the judging panel, the CBS short film will be shown at a special screening in St Patrick’s University Hospital, Dublin, on December 10 where the winners of the secondary school and general categories respectively will be announced.