Last week, some of the Phase team ventured down to Hitchin town centre with a camera team and a big red arm chair. The aim was to capture some footage to use in a new 'Let's talk' video.
The big red chair was set in the middle of Hitchin market square , where we invited passers-by to take a seat and respond to some cue cards. Written on these cards were different words related to mental health and mental ill health, which have stigmas attached to them, for example; schizophrenia, OCD, mental health, wellbeing and eating disorders. Our volunteers were asked to give us their first response to each word we presented them with; what they thought the word meant how it made them feel, how they thought someone might deal with having that word attached to them.

The response was hugely varied! Some people appeared to be very ‘in the know’ whilst others responded very much in line with the stigmas attached to the words. It was surprising just how many people shared from personal experience, both in front of the camera and in conversation, either from having been diagnosed with one of the illnesses we had listed, or from a friend or family member with a diagnosis. It really reiterated just how relevant and how important raising this awareness is!
Many of the volunteers had preconceived ideas about the terms they were presented with, many of which were common but poorly informed. However, those who spoke from personal experience will enable this video to present and hopefully counteract some of the stigmas attached to mental health.
Our aim is to provide this video was a lesson plan attached, as a conversation starter for use in lessons and assemblies. We want to increase understanding as well as raising awareness, by informing those who may have preconceived ideas about what mental illness and mental wellbeing are.
Keep an eye on the Phase site over the next few weeks to see the video when it is released!

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