Free Film Night!
Manchester Mental Wealth Matters believed in the positive value of film, and wanted to launch a series of events to stimulate discussion and promote wellbeing.
The ‘Free Film Night’, run by Mental Wealth Matters, has been running for two months now. It has raised the profile of the Group within the Student’s Union, as well as attracting a wide variety of people – undergraduate, postgraduate, staff, locals – to watch a film and take part in a discussion afterward. It serves as a monthly lynchpin to the group, along with the committee meetings, to keep up a sense of progress and achievement.
We want to show a variety of films – from films that challenge people, through to comedies and romances – as long as we feel there is some educational value, and the possibility to learn something about mental health and ways to promote positive wellbeing.
For example, for the first film in October, 50 people came to watch ‘The Virgin Suicides’, and 20 stayed for the discussion on the representation of suicide in the media. The discussion allowed people to air their views in a safe space, and to learn from the opinions and experiences of others. In this way, the relationship between the film and the discussion, and the learning from the discussion itself, contribute to a broader understanding of the issues around mental health, student suicide and campus wellbeing.
The film was, we recognise, a contentious choice. However, we believe that, when done in a safe environment that encourages learning, the showing of such a film will stimulate debate and positive action, as opposed to influencing people negatively. It is the watching of the film in a group, strengthened by a facilitated discussion, that makes it safe and justifies its showing.
We hope also that the film night acts as a good ‘way in’ to the group, for those who would be put off by awareness-raising and publicity activities, thus inviting people who would otherwise not get involved. We want to be inclusive to all kinds of people who are good at all kinds of different things. We believe a broad range of initiatives will achieve this – the Film Night being key.
This is part of our broader aim of raising the profile of positive mental health in the student population in Manchester, and of reducing the stigma attached to suffering from mental health problems, as well as encouraging people to seek help from the appropriate places.
The funding will be used for the following specific purposes:
• To promote the Film Night, printing good quality posters that can be distributed around the Uni to get more people to come along, containing the MWUK and Papyrus logos, to show that we are receiving funding from, and working with, both organisations.
• To provide refreshments and food, to create an incentive for people to come, including home baking and hot drinks (especially over the winter!).
• To buy and rent films to watch.
Although these things can be achieved without a lot of money, the £300 we hope to gain from this will make a huge difference to the quality and quantity of the advertising we can put out. On a campus saturated with events, we need to find our voice and grab student’s attention with what we do. In that way, the aims of the Group can be widely disseminated and thought about.
Lastly, the Films are run with the full knowledge of the Welfare Officer at the Union, who supports our group, and links us to the formal structures of the University, including safeguarding procedures.