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"They'll tell me to man up": Five powerful explorations of mental health

10 May 2021

To mark Mental Health Awareness week, we've curated a playlist of short films from BBC Introducing Arts which creatively explore some of the mental health issues facing young people.

To discover more content to support your wellbeing visit Headroom, the BBC’s toolkit for your mental health. Details of external organisations offering help and support are available here.

A musical take on mental health

Elise Martin and Jess Bartlet's short film We Got It Easy harnesses the power of a musical as it follows a group of young people throughout a seemingly ‘average’ day in Britain. Sophie and a group of teenagers explore their battles with period poverty, cat-calling, body shaming and mental health issues that stem from the toxic obsession with social media.

Breakdancing as social commentary

Jamaal O’Driscoll's film Inside We Break uses Bboying and breakdancing to research and develop movement of the body in spaces where people congregate or pass through and the poignant statistics around suicide & depression in the UK.

Inside We Break

Breakdance film exploring mental health and the transformative nature of dance expression

A relationship to food

Flo Cornall’s film Cake unravels the turbulent relationship between food and the body. Her poem captures a coming-of-age narrative, building and breaking the rose-tinted lens of society’s expectations and the huge pressure these create.


Scales, measurements and rising temperatures meet a girl’s birthday celebrations over time

Behind the camera

While make-up vlogger Cam seems to be glamorous and glorious, is this what her life is really like? Eleanor Hope-Jones' short drama takes a wider view of social media and reveals the feelings of anxiety and uncertainty that can affect even those who seem to have it all sorted.


A vlogger starts a live Q&A, but as the questions get personal, things breadown

Overcoming depression

Isabel Palma's dramatic, poetic short film Manmade uses the visual language associated with horror films together alongside dance, words, music and sound to explore how it feels to be depressed and how we overcome our darkest selves.


The divide between urban environments and rural areas is both physical and psychological

If you've been affected by the content in any of the above films, details of external organisations offering help and support are available here.

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