Lights, camera, action - students work with local NHS to create compelling films addressing mental health issues

15 May 2023

Second year TV production students from Solent University, Southampton have been working with NHS staff and patients from Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust to deliver a set of videos focussing on raising awareness of mental health in time for Mental Health Awareness Week (15-21 May).

Last October Kate O’Driscoll, Senior Lecturer, TV Production at Solent University approached Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust to see if they would be interested in working with TV Production students for their module Live Briefs and Professional Practice 2. The brief that the team came back with was for the students to create several films that would raise awareness of mental health issue and highlight services available.

Seven highly creative videos have been produced featuring subjects such as gambling, men’s mental health, transgender, international nurses, young carers, mental health employment case studies and consent to share.    As well as providing real-world learning opportunities for the students, the highly creative films will form part of Southern Health’s Mental Awareness Week campaign running 15-21 May 2023.  The experience has also given the students an insight in mental health and the services available for people in Southampton and across Hampshire. 

Kate O'Driscoll, Senior Lecturer, TV Production, “The result is a powerful collaboration between the students, the NHS and volunteer organisations, and individuals within the community. Embedding this kind of real-world learning within the curriculum empowers the students to take ownership over their work, engages them with the wider community, and accelerates their professional learning. The students have risen to the challenge of delivering challenging content, to tight deadlines, and producing work of an extremely professional standard. They have shown a degree of maturity, creative flair and commitment that bodes well for their success in their future careers”.

Student Ida Ronning, who worked on the International Nurses video, said  “This project has been a great way for us to gain experience and understand what it’s like to work with real clients. I’ve learnt how to work professionally with clients, how to communicate and plan effectively and how to work together as a team to overcome any challenges we faced during this process. This project has been a great learning experience. “

Dr Steve Tomkins, Chief Medical Officer, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, “I have been so excited and indeed moved to see the creative ideas the students have come up with to raise awareness of vital mental health issues.  As a trust we have been impressed by their professional approach to the projects and their empathic approach to the sensitive nature of the content. I really welcome this collaboration with local community groups; it is fundamental that as healthcare providers we continue to build collaboration with our community partners. The students can be proud that their project will help others to get the support they need.

Emma Dalwood, Individual Placement and Support service was “really impressed with the whole process of working with Solent university to create this video. I was unsure what to expect but the final video has surpassed any expectations I had.  It is emotive, well thought out, will resonate with our audience, encourage them to get support and begin their recovery journey.”

All seven videos are available to view – we would encourage people to share them and start that vital conversation around mental health.

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