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Film event set to tackle mental health stigma

 film fest

People that have experienced mental ill-health, students and members of the public have come together to produce a series of films to fight against mental health stigma.

The films will be showcased at an event named, ‘Film to Change’, as part of this year’s film festival. The event will take place on Tuesday 16 November at Leeds Town Hall between 7.00pm-9.30pm.

Leeds Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust has been working with Leeds International Festival, Arts and Minds and Leeds Metropolitan University, to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health through film.

The event has been brought about following anti-stigma work in the local community around Time to Change, the nation’s biggest campaign to challenge stigma around mental health. This event hopes to challenge one of the nation’s last lingering taboos by showcasing a range of short films followed by a guest panel debate around the representation of mental distress in film.

The panel will be chaired by Larra Anderson from the Northern Film School. Panel members include Ben Anthony (Director of BBC 4’s ‘Sectioned’), Dr Rufus May (Clinical Psychologist and subject of ‘The Doctor who Hears Voices’), Harold Offeh (Performance and Video Artist) and Eleanor Longden (Psychologist, voice hearer and past user of psychiatric services).

Films were produced by first-time film makers with personal experience of mental ill-health. Each film employs a different genre from documentary through to animation and drama.

Ken Loach, English Film and Television Director is in support of the project he said: “There is still a stigma attached to those who have mental health problems. This film project in Leeds is a good response. It challenges familiar clichés and negative stereotypes. I support the Time to Change campaign and encourage others to do the same.”

Victoria Betton, Associate Director of Partnerships at Leeds Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are very excited for the ‘Film to Change’ event to take place. I know there has been an awful lot of work put into each of the film sequences and the people involved are extremely excited to have them showcased. The stigma surrounding mental health isn’t going to disappear overnight but we hope that events like these will go a long way to encourage understanding.” 

To find out more call Tom Bailey on (0113) 243 1121 or email