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Posted on May 17 2022 by Fiona Bailey

A 10-minute documentary starring a young woman who charted her recovery while being treated at a secure psychiatric hospital is to be screened at the Northampton Film Festival 2022: Know Your Place.

A Life Worth Living follows Kayleigh, who has been a patient at St Andrew’s Healthcare for three years. The 25-year-old agreed to waive her right to anonymity because she wanted to help break the stigma that is commonly associated with complex mental health problems.

Kayleigh, who is planning to go to catering college once she is discharged, said: “I want people to understand that mental health can affect anyone and just because you’ve got a mental illness, it doesn’t define you as a person, it’s just a part of who you are.

“When I first arrived at St Andrew’s I didn’t really see a future I was that depressed. I tried to take my own life several times and I very nearly succeeded on a couple of occasions, but thankfully I’m still here and I feel like I have a future now.”

A Life Worth Living will be screened on Saturday, May 21 as part of the line-up at the Northampton Film Festival which starts on May 16. It was chosen to be screened from tens of films which had been submitted to festival organisers. Screen Northants, which runs Northampton Film Festival, shortlisted the film after being impressed by the high-production values and hearing Kayleigh’s experience of being sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

The Film Festival Director Becky Adams said: “This is the first year of Northampton Film Festival that we’ve had a specific category for documentaries and I’m so glad we did as we’ve had some really strong entries like A Life Worth Living. Whether drama or documentary, Film is a powerful tool for starting conversations, opening doors and promoting understanding. We feel it’s particularly important this Northampton-centric film with an important universal message gets seen so we’re very pleased to be giving it an outing at the Northampton Filmhouse.”

The 10-minute short film is based on the half hour documentary I’m Not Mad, I’m Me, which was premiered last year. As well as Kayleigh, it also featured and two other patients, who discussed their mental health struggles and their recovery journey while at the charity hospital.

Catherine Rose, who co-produced, directed and edited the documentary and was instrumental in submitting the film to the festival, said: “I've worked on a lot of projects that feature tough subjects, but having the rare access and permission to film with these brave young people inside a secure psychiatric hospital felt important and special to be a part of.  All three of our protagonists spoke freely about the painful journey they've experienced and how life-changing being in specialist care has been for their recovery journey.”

Jess Lievesley, the charity’s interim CEO, added: “It is still not acceptable that despite years of positive progress, too many people still associate mental illness with a stigma that at best can be a huge barrier to people achieving their potential and at worst can lead to people giving up hope and taking their own lives.

“We at St Andrew’s have a duty to continue to challenge stigma and promote greater awareness and inclusivity of everyone within our community and I am so proud of the stars of this documentary for speaking openly about their experience.

“Staff here are completely dedicated to promoting hope for an individual’s recovery and that they are so much more than their diagnosis. By speaking out and sharing story, Kayleigh has shown everyone that she’s so much more than her mental health condition.”

Click here to watch I’m Not Mad, I’m Me.

You can book tickets to watch A Life Worth Living here NFF 2022: Main Short Film Competition Part 1 - Northampton Filmhouse and discover other events at Northampton Film Festival on the festival’s website Events – Northampton Film Festival