The free events are funded by Croydon Council with the support of NHS Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Croydon BME Forum, and aim to explore the experiences of those with mental health conditions, service users, their families and carers.
Three poignant films will be screened together on Wednesday 10 October during showings at 2.30pm and 6.30pm at the David Lean cinema, Croydon Clocktower, Katharine Street, CR9 1ET. On Saturday 13 October, two live stage performances will take place at 1 Matthews Yard, Croydon CR0 1FF at 3pm and 7pm.
The David Lean cinema screenings include the highly acclaimed film, So you think I’m crazy. The film uses rap, poetry, dance and music to take audiences on a journey from London’s streets to a secure wing of a psychiatric unit, from the perspective of a young service user.
WIT H IN is a powerful short film conveying the inner turmoil and battles faced by people who suffer with mental health issues. It is performed by Crowns and Owls, a London-based filmmaking and photography collective.
Also to be shown is Perinatal Positivity, a short animated film using the voices of actual parents who have experienced mental wellbeing difficulties around the time of pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting, to help new families safeguard their mental health.
The films are directly followed by a question and answer discussion in the David Lean bar with representatives from Croydon Council, NHS Croydon CCG and Ekanem Hines, writer and director of So you think I’m crazy. They will explore the stigma of mental health and the challenges of accessing services and care.
Two live stage performances of So you think I’m crazy, performed by the Know My Mind Theatre Company, will take place at Matthews Yard on Saturday 13 October.
There will be an opportunity to speak to the cast in character and a question and answer session after each performance. Know My Mind is a community theatre group in Croydon raising awareness of mental health through therapeutic theatre.
Councillor Janet Campbell, deputy cabinet member for families, health and social care, “I am pleased that we have the opportunity to use the arts in Croydon to explore these powerful issues surrounding mental health and wellbeing. Around one in six adults experiences a common mental health problem at any one time. A deluge of life issues, or simply one incident like feeling lonely or isolated, bereavement or unemployment can negatively impact on a person’s mental wellbeing.
“Improving the health of people with mental health problems is a priority and we are determined to raise awareness of mental ill health in our communities in Croydon. It is of vital importance to understand the experiences of those who face such difficulties and what we can do to ensure they receive adequate care and support. I hope that many residents will come out in support of these events to both enjoy and learn from the performances.”
Dr Agnelo Fernandes, Clinical Chair of the CCG and local GP said, “I’m delighted to see these events are being held to raise awareness of how living with mental illness affects the lives of those with mental ill health and those around them. We can all take steps to improve our mental health and I encourage everyone to check out the support available in Croydon through the JustBe Croydon website and Talking Therapies service.”
Ekanem Hines, also a former social worker with over thirty years’ experience working in mental health, “I would like to thank Croydon Council for providing these free platforms for us to showcase such important issues to people in the borough. These films and the stage performance depict honest and thought-provoking accounts of what it is like to experience mental health issues in today’s society. They aim to touch the audience emotionally and physically by shining a spotlight on mental health issues from the perspective of service users and carers.”
World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health.
The day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.
Croydon’s health website has information and advice to support people to look after their mental wellbeing and feel happier and healthier, www.JustBeCroydon.org
Croydon Talking Therapies is a free NHS service helping people to speak about current difficulties they are facing. Visit the website for more information.