In 2010, a collection of young people with experiences of psychosis worked with us to respond to an NHS brief and help raise awareness of the early stages of psychosis – all to increase referrals to its early intervention unit.
Authentic experience is the most compelling: it’s obvious. If you want people to understand what the early stages of psychosis look like, in order to know when to seek help for someone they care about, you need to build out from firsthand experiences.
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly NHS Foundation Trust wanted to increase awareness of the early stages of psychosis, directing the public to its early intervention unit as a way of helping young people struggling with the condition as soon as possible. We knew how to help.
In collaboration with four young people, we developed a film campaign inspired by and drawing on their authentic experiences of psychosis to help audiences understand the realities of what it feels like, so they could be better prepared to recognise an episode and act.
Through a 12-day devising process we planned and created a campaign that would be visually arresting, clear on its call to action, and have viral potential. We knew it needed to draw the commonalities of psychosis into a clear narrative that could be captured into a cohesive campaign message.
Through acting, physical performance, underwater dance, writing and photography we honed in on the approach; using the idea of being underwater as a metaphor for the reality shift people with psychosis experience. Which found us at the bottom of a dive pit, with five characters, totally submerged.
The final film had a cinematic premiere, was supported by a new website and print collateral, to really push the message out, across the region. And the results speak for themselves.