A mental health documentary produced by Cork students airs on RTÉ tonight 3 years ago

A mental health documentary produced by Cork students airs on RTÉ tonight

The documentary, which centres on mental health amongst Irish youths, airs on RTÉ tonight.

In recent years, mental health has become one of the most pressing issues for Ireland’s youth. Last April, RTÉ released a harrowing documentary which highlighted the strain on resources available to children and adolescents experiencing mental illness. Young and Troubled emphasised the tragic consequences a lack of funding in this area can have, particularly emphasised to me with the story of eleven-year-old, Milly Tuomey's heartbreaking suicide.

A new documentary created by former CIT student, Edvinas Maciulevicius, aims to move the mental health narrative along further by featuring a series of raw first-person testimonials from young Irish people.

 

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In its early stages, the documentary began as a humble project Edivas set up along with a group of fellow Cork students. They created a Facebook page, Our Mental Health, and asked people to get involved in their discussion. They sought out people to share their stories because they asserted,

"Too many young people have resolved to drastic measures as a means of a way out and it’s time we change that because not one person should resort to taking their life."

This initial small step proved to be a giant leap in terms of the project's success as the Facebook video garnered immense traction and people bravely came forward to share their own experiences of mental turmoil.

After the success of their social media campaign, the group yielded further support and crowdfunding enabled them to purchase equipment to continue their journey and interview a number of Irish young people who all conveyed their unique stories about mental illness.

It quickly became apparent that what was initially intended to be a 12-minute video warranted longer screen time and after some persistence, RTÉ decided they wanted the film.

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Fast forward over a year and tonight sees the launch of My Other Life: Ireland’s Youth and Their Mental Health on RTÉ 2 at 10:30 pm. A pre-screening of the documentary was shown yesterday in several major Irish colleges including, UCC, CIT, UCD, Trinity and LIT.

Speaking to Her, Edivas said this pre-screening aimed to "bring the students of Ireland together and help break the silence surrounding mental ill health."

 

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The aim of the deeply personal first-hand accounts featured in the documentary is Edivas says,

“that by sharing their experiences with depression and anxiety they will encourage others who may be struggling to do the same”.

In advance of the documentary, they have also released a video on Facebook, "Little Johnny", which has attracted a lot of attention and is one that the group hopes will also resonate with young people.

The documentary holds a lot of promise and could be a catalyst for change, be it at an individual level or to gain more attention from government officials and secure better funding for vital services. It is refreshing to see a project like this produced by the demographic it is aimed at and inclusive of the voices that can often be at the periphery.

One’s experience of mental illness will always be tangential unless you have personally experienced inner turmoil. Hopefully, the programme will bring people suffering the solace to know that the old cliché is true, it’s OK not to feel OK. Things can and will always get better.