Walk in My Shoes: the ‘Frame of Mind’ short-film competition for St Pat’s Mental Health announced

David Prendeville

Walk in My Shoes, the flagship awareness-raising campaign of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, recently announced the winners of its annual ‘Frame of Mind’ short-film competition.

Now in its seventh year, ‘Frame of Mind’ asks amateur film makers to promote a positive mental health message through film, and with the challenges we’ve all been presented with over the last 12 months, the competition has never been more important. A record-high number (almost 100 entries) has highlighted the importance people are placing on mental health at this time.

The competition was open to secondary school students and budding filmmakers alike, who were asked to create a short film of up to three minutes long, sharing affirming mental health messages or addressing misconceptions about mental health difficulties. This year’s competition also included its first ever TikTok video category.
Although filmmakers were asked to create their films in line with public health guidance, restrictions did not hinder the creative talents of the entrants. While the traditional awards ceremony was unable to take place, the winners were announced at a celebratory online event that showcased their thought-provoking, inspirational films. The awards ceremony premiered on Youtube, where it is now available to view.

Winners in each of the competition categories received a €1,000 prize and runners-up received €500. The judging panel included RTÉ Guide Movies Editor, Michael Doherty; a representative of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services’ Service User and Supporters Council (SUAS), Sean Fitzpatrick; Director of Services at St Patrick’s, Tom Maher; and Director of Communications and Advocacy at St Patrick’s, Tamara Nolan.

The top prize of €1,000 in the General Category was awarded to Honor Lynch and her family for their film The Run, with Rachel Gregan awarded runner-up with her film Positive Mental Health. The first-place winner of the Secondary School category was St Louis Secondary School, Monaghan for their film Hidden Struggles and the €500 runner-up prize was secured by John the Baptist Community School, Limerick, with Mind Your Mind.

Both the winning and runner-up schools in the TikTok category are from Limerick, with John the Baptist Community School claiming the top prize with their entry, Let’s Talk About Mental Health, while Salesian Secondary School claimed the runner-up prize for Tips to Get Through Lockdown.

With the new TikTok category proving to be the most popular category for this year’s competition, accounting for almost 50% of all entrants, Tamara Nolan, Director of Communications and Advocacy at St Patrick’s, said: “We were delighted to receive such a high level of engagement this year, particularly from educators and young people, who, despite being faced with school closures and extraordinary challenges, have shown their commitment to prioritising mental health and wellbeing promotion, and to finding innovative ways to collaborate on film-making from their virtual classrooms.

Social media platforms like TikTok have been growing their influence worldwide since the pandemic began, with people looking for new ways to come together and connect socially while staying physically apart. The response and creativity shown reflects the appetite that exists to use these online communities to connect, and to create positive, uplifting and educational content to share with our peers.”

Fellow returning judge, Sean Fitzpatrick from St Patrick’s Mental Health Services’ Service User and Supporters Council (SUAS), said: “While we all continue to live with the pandemic and its challenges to our mental wellbeing, this year’s ‘Frame of Mind’ competition is particularly meaningful as it highlights people’s ongoing dedication to promoting positive mental health and ensuring wellbeing is a top priority. I would encourage everyone to take time to view these videos, as there is something that will resonate with all ages, and many reflect how we are all feeling at the moment.”

RTÉ Guide Movie Editor, Michael Doherty, has been a judge on the panel since its introduction in 2015: “I am very proud to once again be involved in the Walk in My Shoes ‘Frame of Mind’ competition. It provides an important and much-needed platform to reframe mental health, and to move away from negative and outdated on-screen portrayals. This competition offers filmmakers an opportunity to challenge stigma and raise awareness in a positive and uplifting manner. I would like to congratulate all of this year’s entrants and winners for their outstanding contributions.”

For more information on Walk in My Shoes resources for schools, please see www.walkinmyshoes.ie.

And to view the Awards Ceremony click here www.walkinmyshoes.ie/campaigns/frame-of-mind