Mental Health Awareness Week: New film aiming to 'help people realise they're not alone'

Watch Jesse Daniel Lawrence explain his new film, The Light Inside

An award winning filmmaker from Bath has been inspired to make something special in his home city based on his own experience of struggling with his mental health.

Jesse Daniel Lawrence has made a short film called 'The Light Inside' which will get its online premiere this week to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week.

The film is informed by Jesse's own experiences of having a breakdown 20 years ago. He said: “Fortunately, for me, thanks to the support of friends and family medical professionals, I was able to find my way out of it eventually and get back to doing what I love most, which is making films but it wasn't until last year that I decided to make a film about what happened.”

He said the idea for the film is a simple one: “We follow a woman carrying a lighted candle into a darkened tunnel.

Jesse Daniel Lawrence had a breakdown 20 years ago and has now made a film which he hopes will help others

"As she enters the darkness, the tunnel fills with the voices of real people relating lived experience of suffering mental ill health and telling us how they found their way back to well-being.”

Jesse said he believes the film might help others and raise awareness of what it is like to have poor mental health.

He said: “My hope for the film is that it will give audiences just a little bit of insight into what it can be like to experience mental ill-health. And also get across just how brave people sometimes have to be to survive it.

“I also hope that it might help people who may be watching the film, who themselves may be experiencing difficulties to reach out for help should they need it."

He wants the film to break down barriers for those struggling with their own mental health.

"Another hope of mine is that the film can play its own little part in contributing to a wider, more open conversation about mental health in general, and can do something to help chip away at the stigma that still persists," he said.

The stigma around mental health "still makes recovering from mental health so much harder for those who may be suffering," he added.

Gwen Jones is the woman who carries the candle in The Light Inside.

She said she became involved with the film because she had a difficult time with her mental health in her late teens and still struggles with it from time-to-time now.

The Light Inside focusses on a candle carried into a darkened tunnel, by Gwen Jones Credit: The Light Inside

"The Light Inside offered me with an opportunity to share my story and try and help other people who are struggling and just make them realise they're not alone with what they're going through," Gwen said.

The film will be premiered on Thursday 12 May and will be followed by a short Q&A. The screening can be accessed here.