A brand new feature has been made available free of charge for a month, that addresses mental health and suicide – and it’s well worth a watch.
Here in the UK and Ireland, there are on average 125 people a week who take their own lives. A stark statistic, highlighted at the beginning of Cristian Solimeno’s heartfelt new film I Made This For You, aimed at understanding the experience of severe depression, reaching that point where a person feels they can’t go on, and the ripple effect that suicide can have on a community of family and friends. Solimeno is making the whole film available free of charge for the next month, to help raise awareness.
The film is one of contrasts. There’s a world outside of depression full of colour and noise. Then there is the world within, shrinking down to greyness and silence, punctuated by the occasional buzz of a mobile phone.
Depression and mental anguish are shown through the eyes of Al (Gary Grant), who has recently attempted suicide, and has sequestered himself away in his flat, unresponsive to attempts to contact him by friends. We see him on the verge of a further attempt, sinking into the grey sparseness of his flat.
Increasingly concerned, his friend Danny (Solimeno), pushes a DVD he’s created under the door, entitled I Made This For You. He asks Al to give him an hour of his life in which to watch it.
The DVD contains a montage of family, friends and teachers spanning Al’s life, talking about the impact he has had on them, and how he’s supported them throughout their own struggles with kindness and empathy. It shines a light on how helpless people can feel when they watch a friend or family member become overwhelmed with life, and how they question their own responses, or wonder how they could have been more supportive.
Mental illness has a ricochet effect, on close friends and family, and on seemingly minor acquaintances. Guilt, anger, frustration sit on both sides: for the person suffering, and the people watching that person sinking. The hour Al is asked to watched on I Made This for You is essentially an intervention, a collection of memories and thoughts, of understanding how Al came to walk such a dark path.
What is striking about the film is the contrast of colour and sound. Al is an artist; he creates beautiful art but finds that life has caused him to lose his colours. His life has faded around him, and he can’t figure out how to step through the fog. I Made This For You shines a beacon into that fog, calling him to the safety of the shore.
The film is dedicated to the memory of cast member Billy Yates, who sadly took his life during the filming of I Made This For You.
The full film is here…
The #Imadethisforyou hashtag campaign, invites creative people to take a moment out from their commercial lives and to make something for someone who they know is going through a hard time. It can be a cake, a card, a jumper or a song. It could be a piece of dance or a bracelet made from string or anything in between. More details and ideas can be found at the I Made This For You website.
For anyone struggling right now, please consider reaching out for support. The following organisations are just a few that actively support people suffering from depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.
BBC Action Line – a comprehensive list of support organisations compiled by the BBC
CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably, specifically working with young men