My Illness conveys a message of hope to others who are struggling with their mental health. We are pleased to launch the film as part of Mental Health Awareness Week 2021.
Cambridge Junction’s Creative Learning team worked with young people at the Darwin Centre, a specialist residential unit near Cambridge for young people with complex mental health challenges.
Using beautiful and thought-provoking imagery, they talk about their journeys with an illness ‘that can’t be seen’. They speak openly about their experience of staying at the Darwin Centre – how they learnt to understand themselves; how they found ways to manage their struggles; and how there can be light at the end of the tunnel.Get In Touch
We have developed a page where young people can find information on charities and organisations who can offer help and advice on mental health issues.
My Illness was made in January 2020 by young people at the Darwin Centre, a specialist unit for young people with complex mental health challenges. The Darwin Centre is on the Ida Darwin site at Fulbourn and run by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust. The Darwin Centre is supported by the Pilgrim Pathways School, which helped facilitate the making of this film.
The project was one of a series of funded theatre and film-making projects which support young people with complex needs to make their own films. This specific project was funded through BBC Children in Need and Cambridgeshire Community Foundation.
The project sought to boost academic achievement, soft skills and access to the arts. The group worked with a professional film-maker and theatre-maker to tell their stories through the medium of film. Workshops introduced the young people to the process of creating a story, writing dialogue, making story boards and filming and editing techniques. They aimed to support the development of imagination, creative writing, speech and communication, teamwork and leadership skills, and foster inclusion, confidence and self-esteem for young people who are often marginalised due to their needs.
The project has received support from the #iwill campaign, BBC Children in Need, Cambridgeshire Community Foundation, Cambridge City Council and Arts Council England.
Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 10-16 May 2021.
“We can’t articulate what they’re going through to family and friends, or even to us, but this film can do that”
– Parent of a young person involved in the My Illness project
“It is a great way of the young people expressing how they felt. It’s a moving piece that gives us just a tiny insight into how the young people feel.”
“Making the film gave me something to occupy my mind at a very difficult time, and watching it back makes me feel proud that I was able to help create something even feeling as low as I did.”