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Students have a ‘Mind’ to talk about mental health

Date 19.11.2020

Two social work students whose interest is talking about mental health, used their ‘downtime’ during a placement to create a video about it, developing new insight and skills in the process.

Rosabella Johnson – from London and pictured on the right – and Holly Barr – from Northampton – are studying the MA in Social Work. As part of their degree, they are currently on placement with Mind Northampton.

Their daily duties see them put their knowledge and skills from the classroom into practise, supporting the organisation’s service users who are experiencing mental health difficulties and struggle to overcome these on their own.

Aside from their degree work, Rosabella and Holly have the flexibility to develop their own projects about issues they are interested in.

Being committed to communicating the need for good mental health, they used this time to put themselves to action and created a video about it.

It’s a decision that also saw them step out of their comfort zone and into the world of videography, with the finished product given pride of place on Mind Northampton’s website homepage.

On why they created the video, Rosabella said: “Holly and I were both given a broad and blank canvas here. We had the opportunity to create something of our own about something we have interest in, all from scratch. The video doesn’t count towards any formal assessment, we just wanted to do something creative about a very important issue.

“From a personal perspective, this also let me tap into something that defines who I am and how I see things. I’ve always been someone who thinks about issues from a national and global perspective and mental health is a worldwide issue. So, researching facts and figures and making the video about mental health helped me to create something that reflects my way of thinking.

“I was also using technology I had never touched before, such as video editing software as well a planning and filming a video. It was all very new ground for me – I’m very far from being a techy! – and was a little fiddly at first. But it was a great chance to throw myself in and have a go at such things.

“It might not win any Oscars, but Holly and I are both proud of the result. If people watch the video and can relate to what we were up to (such as doing the most British thing of making a cup of tea) whilst sharing vital information and they actually learn a thing or two about mental health from our video, then I would say we got the job done!’’.

Holly added: “I’d say watching the video is important for all age groups and backgrounds and whether you are male or female. So many people suffer alone, but the reality is more people experience issues with their mental health than you would imagine.

“It is important to promote this so people are able to receive help and to recover safely from it. I hope watching the video will reassure other people who are suffering with mental help and encourage them to reach out and not suffer in silence so we can promote inclusion.

“Apart from the added knowledge around mental health I gained from making it, the video has given me extra confidence when, for instance, I deliver presentations, courses or training. It has enhanced my professional profile and encouraged me to get more ‘stuck in’ around supporting people with mental health issues.”

Fundraising officer for Northamptonshire Mind Nick Tite said: “Rosabella and Holly have been working really hard to help support our communities at what is a difficult time for so many people.

“The video they have put together shows the importance of opening up on the topic of mental health and we hope people will take a look and not suffer alone and in isolation. Well done to both of them for their sterling work.”

Find out more about the MA in Social Work at the University of Northampton.

Holly and Rosabella’s video can be viewed on the Mind Northampton website.