‘My voice: My Story!’ will be shown during Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from May 10-16.

Arts group Angels of Hope support the project.

It ran an Introduction to Film course and a screenwriting class over Zoom to service users and staff across the Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership. 

Three scripts were produced from the screenwriting class:

  • ‘Mate Crime’ was written by a staff member and is an educational film about how drug dealers befriend victims and get them hooked on drugs. 
  • ‘Persuasion’ is an internal monologue from a service user on how mental health has affected her family life. 
  • And ‘Juggling Life’ is a poem from a service user about how life and living with mental health are a big juggling act. 

The films were shot and edited by Ruani Barros Da Silva, who runs True Vision, a local video production company that specialises in storytelling. 

It took him and his crew a day and a half to shoot, and Mr Da Silva gave up his time to edit the films. 

They were completed on a low budget as an example to the course participants of what a small-scale film production can create. Some 18 service users, mainly from Oxford, were on the arts courses and four service users made the films. 

One said: “I enjoyed working on the film project, it was very interesting, and I enjoyed meeting new friends.”

Response has supported the Angels of Hope initiative by providing the staff and start-up cost for the project. 

Oxford City Council provided a grant from their Culture Fund, which helped pay for local actors, a graphic designer, True Vision’s input, a sound person, graphic designer, acting teacher and screenwriting teacher. 

Senior personalisation worker Laura Boone set up the Angels of Hope group as a meaningful activity for service users, especially Response residents. 

The production team consists of four work placement volunteers who meet once a week to make decisions around the showcase supported by volunteers from as far away as Banbury. 

Ms Boone said: “Mental health can affect anyone at any point in their lives. 

“We wish to advertise this and the need for supporting services that address issues around mental health and support people through these challenging times in their lives. 

“Statistics show that currently mental health issues are on the rise, and one in six people have experienced issues in the past week.” 

The three to four-minute films will first be showcased via Zoom on Friday, May 14, at 3 pm. Email laura.boone@responsse.org.uk for a Zoom link to the free showing. 

The showcase poster can be downloaded by clicking here.