Lights. Camera. Social Action! Walk in My Shoes launches mental health short-film competition with €1,000 cash prize

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By Brian Bowe

Walk in My Shoes, the flagship awareness-raising campaign of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, is calling on students and budding filmmakers across Ireland to submit short films or TikTok videos that promote a positive mental health message, tackle mental health stereotypes or challenge stigma.

First launched in 2014, the Frame of Mind short-film competition returns for its seventh year with a brand new category that asks hopeful entrants to create an inspiring mental health film in 60 seconds or less. Entrants can also submit short films of up to three minutes or less. The prize – €1,000. 

With data showing a massive rise in the number of people using social media apps such as TikTok on a daily basis across the nation, the contest hopes to use the influence and reach of such platforms to shine a light on mental health through short, shareable and inspiring film content.

The categories for this year’s competition are:

Secondary School / TikTok
Secondary School / Short-Film
General / TikTok
General / Short-Film
All entries will be judged on originality, artistic vision and message interpretation, with shortlisted films to be reviewed by an expert judging panel who will select the overall winners. If there are insufficient entries, the judging panel reserves the right to decline to make an award. The panel reserves the right to disqualify any entry that does not fit the criteria of these terms and conditions, and its decision is final.

This year’s judging panel comprises: RTÉ Guide Movies Editor, Michael Doherty; former service user of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services and film fanatic, Sean Fitzpatrick; Director of Services at St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, Tom Maher; and Director of Communications and Advocacy at St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, Tamara Nolan.

Speaking about this year’s contest, returning judge, Sean Fitzpatrick said: “I am delighted to be on the judging panel again for this year’s Frame of Mind competition. Having acted as a Frame of Mind judge for the past number of years, it’s always amazing to see the high calibre of entries, which tackle many important issues and raise awareness of the importance of good mental health. As someone who has experienced mental health difficulties, films and cinema became a vital part of my recovery strategy and form part of something I like to call the three Fs – Film, Football and Friends – all of which I rely on as a way to look after my own mental health. Cinema and film have proven to be a lifeline for me in times of difficulty and I hope that, through this competition, others will take time to discover the power of film and its ability to highlight pertinent issues, while also bringing joy and hopefulness.”

Fellow judge, Tamara Nolan spoke of the importance of the competition’s noble cause, saying: “Frame of Mind is one of Walk in My Shoes’ most popular initiatives, and each year we receive significant numbers of uplifting entries from schools and the public that challenge mental health stigma and convey positive, hopeful messages. The Frame of Mind short-film competition is all about harnessing the ability that a good film can have to inspire people and to spark conversations about mental health. By challenging entrants to keep their films to three minutes or less, we hope to be able to share valuable mental health awareness-raising content that is compelling and that has the power to reach as many people as possible.”

With everyone’s safety in mind, participants are encouraged to make their entries in line with the ever-evolving public health guidance: from filming people remotely to using animation or simple stop-motion, all innovative ways you want to make your creations are welcome.

This competition isn’t about using pricey equipment either. You can use any type of video recording device you feel comfortable with – smartphones, digital cameras, film – and there are lots of free-to-use video editing programmes available online, such as Clip Champ, to help you get the finished version you’re happy with.

How to Enter? After completing your TikTok or short film, you can enter the competition by filling out the online entry form (via and confirming the permissions within it, which allow us to screen and share your creations.

Please note that only YouTube, Vimeo or TikTok links will be accepted for competition applications. If you are shortlisted in your category, you will be asked to share an MP4 file of your entry at that time.

Submissions are now open and must be sent in by 5pm on Friday, 4 February, 2022. Each category will have a first-place winner who will receive a cash prize of €1,000 and a second-place winner who will receive €500. In the secondary school categories, first and second place prizes will be made payable to the school, with each participating student also receiving a small prize. An awards ceremony announcing the winners will be held towards the end of February 2022.

For more details and terms and conditions for this year’s competition, be sure to visit their website:  

*If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact; The Samaritans (phone 116123), or Pieta House (1800247247).