‘I Am Me’ say pupils at Whitechapel’s Swanlea School in their film on mental awareness

Pictures at an exhibition... about film on mental wellbeing made by pupils at Swanlea School [photos

Pictures at an exhibition... about film on mental wellbeing made by pupils at Swanlea School [photos: Megan Oldham, 14, for Mile End Project] - Credit: Mile End project

A campaign of mental awareness has been launched by teenagers with a film they shot themselves at their school in London’s East End where there is one of the country’s highest levels of mental illness.

Pictures at an exhibition... about film on mental wellbeing made by pupils at Swanlea School [photos

Pictures at an exhibition... about film on mental wellbeing made by pupils at Swanlea School [photos: Megan Oldham, 14, for Mile End Project] - Credit: Mile End project

The ‘I Am Me’ campaign was launched last Thursday at Whitechapel’s Swanlea Secondary when they invited the Mayor of Tower Hamlets for its first screening and an exhibition of images and campaign photos taken by 14-year-old Year-10 pupil Megan Oldham.

They took part in an after-school film and media club over 10 weeks run by The Mile End Community Project with YouTube’s Corner Shop Show sitcom creator Islah Abdur-Rahman and one of its actors, Michael Truong.

Workshops included acting, learning how to storyboard and discussions about stereotypes and social media.

They learnt to handle the camera and other equipment to film and take pictures of the project.

Pictures at an exhibition... about film on mental wellbeing made by pupils at Swanlea School [photos

Pictures at an exhibition... about film on mental wellbeing made by pupils at Swanlea School [photos: Megan Oldham, 14, for Mile End Project] - Credit: Mile End project

‘Mental health’ and ‘breaking stereotypes’ were the two campaigns chosen by the youngsters to make a film about.


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“We as a community need to remove the stigma to mental health,” Swanlea Headteacher Brenda Landers said. “The students in this project are passionate about mental awareness—the after-school campaign encouraged them to use film and media as an outlet as well as learn about the film industry.”

The launch at the school was in the week the Prime Minister announced a national programme on mental awareness to be more recognised.

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Their film’s message is that it is not taboo to talk about mental health and those with issues have the chance to get help.

Mayor John Biggs said: “We have some of the country’s highest levels of mental health problems in Tower Hamlets, so it’s great seeing our school pupils sharing and portraying perceptions of mental health at such a young age.”

Among Thursday’s audience along with the mayor were guests including an NHS psychologist, volunteers from Samaritans charity and Tower Hamlets Public Health.

The film and campaign images are available on the Swanlea School website.

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