‘Facing Shadows’ young people share their experiences of depression

@Mymindfeed welcomes  our guest blog written by Sally from the Anna Freud Centre.


In April 2015, seven young people involved in research at the Anna Freud Centre, came together in a four day workshop to create a short, animated film about their experiences of depression and getting help. With a group of researchers and professional film makers, the young people created ‘Facing Shadows’.

The young people had all been part of a research project, called the IMPACT study, which is investigating treatment for depression in young people. We wanted to find a creative way of sharing some of what we were learning from the young people involved in the study, and the idea of making a film came up.

To create the film, we had a four day workshop. Throughout this week, the young people were involved in all creative aspects of the project, from recording the audio and music, to creating the visuals and animations and directing the film. The young people wanted to share their experiences, to help other young people to speak out about their problems and to get help. Throughout the week, the young people were incredibly brave and articulate in sharing their experiences. Stella, who was one of the young people involved in creating the film, said:

“The one thing with depression is that you feel alone. I hope that the film sends out a message to people who are suffering from depression and are really low, that they are not alone.”

Facing Shadows was premièred at the British Film Institute (BFI) in London, in July 2015. Jonny Benjamin (mental health campaigner from the #FindMike social media campaign), attended the premiere as a special guest, and commented:

“It was a privilege to be at the premiere of Facing Shadows. I was in awe of the bravery of all those that took part. It was a real pleasure to meet them in person. The films are outstanding and I know will help many people who suffer from depression.”

You can see the Behind the Scenes film here, to see how Facing Shadows was made:

And Facing Shadows can be viewed here:

The films are available to watch on YouTube, and the Anna Freud Centre are keen for them to be widely used in mental health services and schools, and hope they will be helpful to other young people, as well and parents and professionals working with young people.

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