University students tackle mental health and schizophrenia in documentary

Davidson working on his script in the activity centre in Pisão.

Davidson Semedo working on his script in the activity centre in Pisão. - Credit: Pisão

A group film and TV production students from the University of Hertfordshire are wrapping up a documentary about schizophrenia.

Their final film, Pictures Inside My Mind, is a documentary following a Portuguese man who has recently started using film to manage his delusions.

The students, who are in their final year, wanted to shatter misconceptions of mental health and the stigma surrounding individuals with schizophrenia.

Director Beatriz Amado said the documentary was important “because it breaks the stereotypes on how mental illness is portrayed in film and TV, instead it shows the reality of living with it”.

Film maker Davidson Semedo.

Film maker Davidson Semedo. - Credit: Pisão

The documentary takes place in Centro de Apoio Social Pisão in Portugal, an institution with over 300 residents with varying severities of mental illnesses and disability. Their objectives are to promote independence and individuality as much as possible, ensuring accommodation, psychosocial treatment, healthcare, hygiene, and comfort needs are met.

Davidson, a resident of Pisão since 2011, has already made two short movies with the help of the staff and in this documentary we will follow his creative process as he makes his third film 'The Adventures of Bojar'.

As representatives of Pisão, Maria João Nogueira, Soraia Brito and Anabela Gomes released a joint statement welcoming the documentary as “an open door to social inclusion” with the view that it will demystify “prejudices and stereotypes that are still related to mental health”.

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The students behind Pictures Inside My Mind are running a crowdfunding campaign to help fund the production. The campaign has different rewards available for different donation amounts. Included in the higher reward tiers are crafts made by the residents of Pisão, such as wooden houses and paper-maché dolls.

An example of the houses made by residents of Pisão.

An example of the houses made by residents of Pisão. - Credit: Pisão

Any additional funding leftover will be donated to Pisão to help them in their endeavours to improve the facility and their care for their residents.

You can watch Pictures Inside My Mind on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, where you can also find information about donating to their IndieGoGo campaign. @ThePicturesinsidemyMind