Local young people design films to support good mental health

Published: 07 Oct 2019

Hertfordshire County Council is once again inviting children and young people across the county to take part in a film competition as part of Hertfordshire’s award-winning #JustTalk mental health campaign.

Schoolchildren are being invited to design a storyboard for a short film on the theme of ‘How to cope with exam pressure,’ to help peers manage stress as mock exams season approaches – something young people have told us is their number one worry.

Hertfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Prevention, Tim Hutchings, said: “The #JustTalk film competition launch coincides with World Mental Health Day on 10 October 2019 and is just one of a raft of activities that take place each year as part of the campaign.

“As well as receiving £100, the winners will be given an exciting opportunity to work with a professional film-maker to turn their storyboards into a short film. The winning films will become an ongoing resource for the campaign to help share important messages and encourage conversations about mental health.”

“We are extremely proud of the success of the Just Talk campaign, working with schools throughout the county and a range of partners it has done an enormous amount to raise the profile of mental health issues amongst young people in Hertfordshire. I encourage young people throughout the county to become involved in this competition.”

Last year’s winning films are now available on YouTube.

Twelve-year-old Tilly Lee from Hemel Hempstead, a student at John F Kennedy Catholic School, was one of three winners of last year’s competition.  She produced a striking animation that explores the effects of bottling up our feelings.

Tilly said: “I entered the Just Talk competition because I wanted people to be more aware of the issues surrounding mental health and how talking can help. You may not want to show how you are feeling but do tell someone you trust how you are feeling because it will help.”

Fourteen-year-old Chancellor’s School student Zoe Broadhead from Welham Green, pipped hundreds of other entries to the winning post with a film that takes a mature look at how to deal with family arguments.

Zoe explained: “I was really surprised to win the Just Talk competition. I think the Just Talk campaign is a good thing because if people talk about mental health they feel as though their problems are halved.”

And 12-year-old St Albans student Ryan Kennedy from Verulam School, was another deserving winner with his frank and engaging film that highlights how talking can lighten the load when things are getting us down.

Ryan told us: “I was so happy that my storyboard was chosen to be part of the #JustTalk campaign. It was really cool working with a real cameraman and high-quality cameras. It allowed my story to come alive!

All three films are available to view on the Just Talk webpage, where you can also find out how to enter this year’s competition: www.justtalkherts.org