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The full film is now online! The first major project undertaken by Wednesday Films is a documentary on mental health and mental health services, that was filmed on the Isle of Wight between 2016 and 2018, and completed in June of 2018. The film is called ‘Crisis or Awakening?’

Five screenings were organised in July and August of 2018, in Ryde, Shanklin, Cowes, Ventnor and Newport, the last of which was held at the Riverside Centre on Newport Quay on the 15th of August, which attracted a really good crowd of people that included current and ex-mental health service users, carers and family members, mental health professionals and volunteers, members of voluntary organisations like the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, and local politicians, including Bob Seely the Island’s MP, and Councillor Clare Mosdell, the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health.

In the next week or two an update will be posted on this web-page outlining what exactly this film has achieved, in terms of helping to inspire and guide mental health reforms on the Island, and where the general process of reform seems to be heading. Many conversations have been started, and the situation seems very fluid, as there are several projects currently underway to coordinate and reform our mental health services, that involve the NHS, CCG, Council, Citizen’s Advice, and small independent groups of campaigners, such as ‘Save Our NHS’ and Justin Pinder’s campaign to have the activities of the Richmond Fellowship charity scrutinized, after taking over the management of, and making some very unpopular changes at the Quay House recovery centre.

In a couple of weeks time it should be possible to take stock of the situation and draw some conclusions in terms of likely outcomes. Lots of wonderful ideas have been proposed, and assurances given, but how much of that actually materialises in tangible results on the ground remains to be seen.

Three documents were made in conjunction with this film, which are free to download and use for any purpose, i.e there’s no copyright attached to them.

Crisis or Awakening?‘ – The booklet to accompany the film. Click link to download.

A Key‘ – Additional reforms proposed at a slightly higher (more strategic) level. Click link to download.

Psychotherapy‘ – Looking at different approaches to psychotherapy used around the world, and suggesting that we trial some of the most successful methods. Click link to download.

Lastly, I’d just like to say a huge THANK YOU! to all the people and venues who made this film, and the five screenings possible – especially Christine Quantrell, Community Action IOW, Jeremy Irons, Healthwatch, WightAID, Ventnor Arts Club, Shanklin Conservative Club, the IOW Community Club in Cowes, Aspire in Ryde, The Riverside Centre, Frances Tilley from the IOW Council. And heartfelt thanks also all those who helped to promote the film, so that people on the Island got to hear about it – especially OnTheWight, Vectis Radio, the IOW County Press, the Adult Community Learning Centre, Quay Arts, and the libraries and GP’s clinics that posted flyers on their noticeboards. One of the best things about making the film was all the bright and caring people that I had the privileged to meet along the way.

UPDATE – 18th August 2018

Update on the film and the current state of mental health reforms on the Island.

The screenings have now taken place, there were five public and one private screening organised for the CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group). They all went well, especially the last one at the Riverside Centre, which attracted over 40 people, including our MP Bob Seely and Clare Mosdell, the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, who was appointed the mental health champion for the Island by the Council last year.

Bob Seely stood up at the end of the Riverside Centre screening and invited me (Sam, the film-maker on this project) to a meeting with himself and Clare Mosdell the following day, which I attended, and the upshot is that they both asked me to submit a document to get the ball rolling with some reforms.

I gave Mr Seely the following document on ‘Benefits and Mental Illness‘, and Mrs Mosdell the following document on ‘9 Key Mental Health Reforms‘ that need putting in place on the Island. Mr Seely said that he’d take the benefits document up to the House of Commons and mention it there, and pass it on to some people from the DWP to take a look at. And Mrs Mosdell said that she’d study the 9 ideas for reforms that I’d given her, and open a dialogue with me via email, as she tries to get them put into place, with occasional round table discussions that the press would be invited to, to publicly keep track of our progress.

It sounds good, and I’ll remain positive and keep pushing things as far as I can push them, but I am aware that the honey-coated words of politicians don’t always translate into tangible results on the ground, so I’m balancing my optimising with a healthy dose of scepticism. I value actions more than words, but will happily give anyone the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

Other things worth mentioning are that the film is now online, both here and on the newly created Wednesday Films YouTube channel, see https://youtu.be/wTOC9PqlMlE.

Aside from that, I’ve just been asked to give one more screening and speak about the film at the next South Wight Parishes Health & Well-being Forum on 6th September at the Broadway Centre in Sandown, so that’s good. Another opportunity to wave the flag for mental health reforms.

And I’m also talking to Vicki Haworth from the NHS and Catherine Budden from the CCG about their transformation plans and the new mental health blueprint. Some of the ideas proposed in the film are finding their way into the reforms they’re trying to get put in place, and their own ideas are really strong too, so that’s promising – see the following draft doc entitled ‘Vision of Future Wellbeing Services‘. They’re both really genuine people who are doing their best to make a difference, but the systems they’re working within don’t always make change very easy. Plus the Island’s CCG has overspent by £20M in recent years, which doesn’t help, as they’re now trying to make cut-backs to recoup costs, rather than inject the seed money needed to get some new reforms up and running.

So… that’s where we’re at. In the early stages of lots of ‘stuff’, that has the potential to come up good, but could also wither into nothing if people don’t follow through with their promises, or get ham-stringed by lack of funding or red tape.

I hope this info has been interesting. I’ll post one or two more updates as things unfold over the next 12 months or so. But if anyone has any questions, or would like to get involved in this ongoing process, just drop me an email and I’ll do my best to oblige.