17 November 2016

The Trust has launched a hard hitting drama aimed at transforming attitudes to self-harm among health professionals. Self-harm and the reasons behind it are often misunderstood by health care professionals and the public at large. But with 1 in 8 young people self-harming and a 68% increase in admissions to hospital of children and young people who are self-harming over the last ten years, East London NHS FT created the film, called Teenage Misadventure to challenge these misconceptions. 

The real life stories have been amalgamated into one central narrative in the film around a character called Dan, who is grappling with a difficult and violent home life and using self-harm as a coping mechanism. In the often harrowing film we see Dan coming into contact with a number of health professionals who could help him but time and again they judge him and fail to reach out to him in a helpful or caring way.  The film depicts the potentially catastrophic consequences of this treatment to Dan and his wider family. 

The film was coproduced with young people and will form part of comprehensive training programme for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Nurses in the challenging area of preventing and managing self-harm. The training will be made available more widely to audiences that might be involved in referrals including teachers, learning mentors, family workers and the police. 

The film was produced by White Boat TV (WBTV) who specialise in the production of emotionally engaging behaviour change dramas. 

Chris Godwin, Creative Director for WBTV said, 

“A drama-based film was the perfect vehicle for getting people to sit up and take notice of the signs of self harm. It is a condition which is often misunderstood, with healthcare workers unsure of the relationship between self harm, mental health and the risk of suicide. Healthcare workers recognise the increase in patients who are self-harming but training in how to offer help and support has been patchy. Teenage Misadventure allows us to walk in the shoes of our main character and see how self harm is a coping mechanism for his family situation. Through emotionally engaging with the audience we hope to raise awareness and understanding of the condition and better equip healthcare workers to offer support and help.”

Chief Executive, Dr Navina Evans said, 

‘This film explores some of misconceptions around self-harm that young people face.  People who self-harm do so privately and fear of stigma and judgement can deter people from getting the help that they need.  We will use this film to provide our staff and local partners with the skills, knowledge and support to ensure that every young person who self-harms is treated with dignity and respect.’

The trailer is available to the public and can be viewed here