AWARE NI, a leading non-profit organisation dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of individuals living with depression, anxiety and bipolar in Northern Ireland, has released a powerful and inspiring short film across all of their digital channels.
Ahead of Blue Monday, lasting only 51 seconds, the film is packed with an intensely powerful message of hope and is quickly gaining a lot of attraction with over 10k views on Instagram in under 24 hours.
Titled ‘I Am Found,’ this footage is a must-watch!
“The start of the new year can be difficult for people for many reasons. They can feel overwhelmed or exhausted from the Christmas season, financial strains, family breakdown, grief, loneliness and stress from returning to work. These worries, fears or sadness can negatively affect your mental health, leaving you to feel like you are struggling to keep your head above water. We wanted to represent this experience visually, creatively and emotively," explains Karen Collins, Chief Executive of AWARE NI. She continues:
“As a mental health charity, it is challenging to portray the personal impact of our services whilst protecting the identity of those accessing them. Through this short film, we want to communicate creatively and symbolically real-life testimonials of how our support groups have changed lives. We hope this campaign will encourage those needing support to reach out and avail of an AWARE NI support group near you.”
The film starts with a man struggling in the water; the waves rage over his head, and he struggles to cope. People appear in the water to him, repeating, “I was here too.” Immediately followed with, “But then I found hope.” “Friendship” and “Understanding” before finalising ‘But then I found an AWARE NI support group.’
As the film progresses, the people surrounding the drowning man begin to pull the man out of the water; he becomes encircled by a group of people, no longer alone, standing in calm still waters.
“Our support groups are designed to be peer-led, where members understand what others are going through. Group sessions are facilitated by our trained volunteers, many of whom have had lived experiences with depression or anxiety. AWARE NI wants people who are struggling with their mental health to know that they are not alone. We are here to help, listen to you, and support you on your journey to recovery – for as long as that takes.” - Rhonda Murphy, Head of Support Services at AWARE NI.
After the text explains how to find out more about the support groups, the film ends with a close-up of the final person who says, “I might be here again, and maybe then you could help me.”
It is an empowering ending allowing those suffering to know that your presence at one of these groups would, in turn, help many others. You are needed.
AWARE NI commented on the reel, saying, ‘You are seen. You are wanted. You are welcome. You are never alone. The hope of recovery from mental illness can be found in each other.’
“We would urge those struggling with their mental health to come along to one of our groups and find the support and strength to get your head above the water again. And also become a part of a community that provides that lifeline to others," said Karen Collins.
The charity runs 25 of these free-to-attend support groups around the country. To find a group near you, visit www.aware-ni.org/lets-talk
The film was shot in Northern Ireland by local director Youcef Boubetnikh (D3rk Matter) with Ryan Vail and Jonny Waites on sound. Everyone featured in the ‘I Am Found’ advert is a sea-swim fundraiser and supporter for AWARE NI and has been hailed by the organisation, who are incredibly thankful to them for their time and effort to make this campaign happen.
WATCH the video below or search ‘AWARE NI’ on all social platforms.