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Length - 6:38
Published - Oct 2022
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4

Made by students on the BFI Film Academy, this documentary covers the perspectives of several young people whose parents have suffered from mental illness. It explores the impact on them in a tender way that helps with understanding mental health conditions and their effect.


Henry 00:00:47:19

Okay. I'm Henry.

Paige 00:00:49:20

Hi, my name is Paige. I'm 16,

Henry 00:00:51:20

I'm 16.

Paige 00:00:53:01

My childhood was good. I had lots of fun, but it was quite rocky

at times, building up to when my mom was hospitalised. Her, she

became very erratic. We didn't really know what was going on,

she wasn't herself.

Henry 00:01:05:10

It was more like a gradual shift in time, but probably when she

first checked into the mental ward, it really clicked you know.

Paige 00:01:13:22

My great grand had just died. It was just very sudden. We didn't

know what was going on.

Henry 00:01:19:06

She was dealing with alcoholism at the time, too, and just

everything just went downhill from there, and she got into the

mental ward and that's all I knew. It was like a blur to me. My

impression of her was really wilted by this experience.

Nadia 00:01:29:15

I was inspired to start the Self Esteem team, having experienced

my own troubles growing up and not having the right information

that I could relate to.

Clip: Limbo.mp4

2 / 5

Henry 00:01:41:09

I don't think I could have done anything. I was pretty powerless

and I wanted to be numb to everything, basically. It was like a

very Kafkaesque situation. I just wanted to avoid it.

Nadia 00:01:51:08

We don't just work with students, we work with parents and

teachers as well for what we call a whole school approach.

Paige 00:02:00:06

I spoke to my pastoral manager about it. I said, I said that my

mum's in hospital and she said okay, and it was never spoken

about again. We felt quite alone.

Henry 00:02:12:00

I guess I didn't really see her as like a really strong person, like

she was more human, more flawed to me. My dad, he was always

quite, uh, frantic and, uh, he didn't really treat the situation well,

I don't think.

Nadia 00:02:25:06

There can often be, uh, what's called role reversal. So the child

becomes the parent and the parent becomes the child, and this

gives huge responsibility to the young person, so they essentially

cut themselves off from friendship circles.

Henry 00:02:40:11

Music helped me through it quite a lot, to be honest. I would just

hide in my bedroom and stuff and like, you know, my parents

were constantly arguing so I'd hear sounds of them arguing


Paige 00:02:50:18

I didn't enjoy being at school. I was constantly worrying and I

started to have lots of days off.

Clip: Limbo.mp4

3 / 5

Henry 00:02:57:06

I, I'd say I wanted to be in school more because, like, I kind of

wanted to run away from my home life and like, I wanted to be

involved in school affairs more, like I just wanted life to go on as

normal, but of course, it didn't just went like topsy turvy really


Paige 00:03:13:15

I think it would have been helpful for me to speak to somebody at

school, because it would have made me want to go into school

more. They just need to pay a bit more attention to the students,

because it's not always the students that are making a ruckus or

being loud. It's sometimes the students who don't say anything at


Nadia 00:03:28:16

So many people suffer in silence or slip under the radar and

aren't recorded.

Henry 00:03:33:14

I just wanted people to think that I was having a normal life, so I

just kept all these feelings bottled inside of me and just

suppressed them. My mom has been home for like two years now,

and she has been dealing with pretty well, and she hasn't had

any significant relapses or anything, so it's good. I don't think I'll

ever fully comprehend what happened, but I think, uh, I think I'm

more aware of, you know, her situation and like the full scope of


Paige 00:04:04:05

I was really relieved when I got the call saying that my mom was

home. She contacted her doctors and said, would they be able to

speak to us? For me, it helped to speak to somebody because I

was able to say things that I didn't realise I was thinking.

Clip: Limbo.mp4

4 / 5

Nadia 00:04:19:17

Mental health conditions are a lot more universal, and there will

be someone out there who can understand, or someone out there

who is going through a similar thing and has perhaps come out

the other side, or has good advice that might be able to help you.

Henry 00:04:34:20

I think it's a good thing I see my mom as more human, although,

you know, the crisis wouldn't be the best way of teaching that to

me, you know.

Paige 00:04:43:23

I think my mom's experience has taught me to take a step back

and think about myself more, not to be so selfless.

Henry 00:04:52:01

If I was giving someone advice who was going through this, I

would say, find someone you can really open up to because I

didn't at the time.

Paige 00:04:59:12

Be patient and realise it's not your fault. It can't be helped.

Nadia 00:05:04:03

It's not always the first person that you reach out to, that's

necessarily the one you're going to connect to or knows how to


Henry 00:05:11:04

I only really found out I needed to open up to someone like years

later, because I have a friend like that now, and like, it's been like

a really good thing in my life.

Nadia 00:05:21:09

So keep going, keep trying. There's no one size that fits all.

Clip: Limbo.mp4

5 / 5

Paige 00:05:27:17

It will take time for things to get better.

Henry 00:05:30:14

Even like the strongest people can like break down sometimes.

Nadia 00:05:33:14

And if it takes a few people, that's fine. That's normal. You're

doing better than you think.