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A short film following the experiences of two young women’s neurodivergence (Autism and ADHD) and the difficulties they encountered in the education system as they journeyed to understand themselves. This documentary highlights the issues surrounding diagnosis for women and girls in the UK and was created in partnership with the BFI during the BFI documentary residential 2024.

Not So Typical

Ruby: As a kid, I didn't really realise that I thought differently and I felt differently. I just felt like a bit of an outsider at times, and I felt like I didn't fully have control in how I was behaving and how I was feeling as much as other people did.

Eva: I had so many friendship issues in school. Um, primary school and secondary school specifically because I wasn't diagnosed, I ended up calling myself a nomad friend. I would move from group to group. I actually struggled really badly with bullying. That period of my life of just being like, I can't change who I am and you're bullying me for it. I got really upset.

Ruby:  I remember always feeling like I couldn't settle into a group in school. I got bullied quite badly through like year 7 to year 9 and that was all surrounding, like how I was like, and I never really fully understood it. But people were just always like, you're too much like you're too loud. You're too intense. If I didn't do my homework, it was because I was lazy or my attendance was really low because I couldn't be bothered to come into school kind of thing. Whereas there was actually like an issue that was going on that was just completely undetected. I was diagnosed with ADHD at 17 years old. I think when it came to getting my diagnosis, it took quite a long time. There's always waiting lists. I started looking into getting the diagnosis at around 15, and I didn't actually get my formal diagnosis and assessment until I was 17.

Eva: I was diagnosed with autism when I was 16, a month before my 17th birthday. My brother's diagnosis was the spurring point of mine. Girls are diagnosed later than boys, especially with autism and a lot of medical conditions. When they first did the research on the topic, they only did it on white boys. They only use them as their subject, and so their symptoms, in a way, are the ones that they look for.

Ruby:  I actually don't really know how I got through school with it being undetected by teachers, because I think, to be honest, like when I look back, I was quite textbook ADHD. I am someone that can't sit still. I've always been fidgety. There's a lot of issues with concentration. I've just felt very misunderstood at school and feel like when you're not made for the society that we live in, you are isolated within such a massive group of people and it can feel like so detrimental to like your mental health. When I think about it, it makes me feel really sorry for that girl, because at the time I was only like, you know, 14, 15 and when you feel like you don't fit into like society, like society was not built for you, you like, you have no other place to go.

Eva: Primary school. I used to cry in a corner when I was overwhelmed, and it was a corner because no one could come behind me. I was safe, no one could touch me. I was there, but it was a lot of almost loneliness. At secondary school I just hated the noise. It was always really loud and so I liked to sit outside, even if it was raining, because it's not noisy outside.

Ruby: When I actually got my diagnosis. I remember speaking to my mother was being like, it's crazy that that was never suggested to us. I got tested for bipolar, I got tested for all sorts of things, but they never even thought about it.

Eva: I find with a lot of people I've spoken to, they're like, oh, they said I had borderline personality disorder. They said I had bipolar. Um, and they get all these misdiagnoses because everything had been done for men. Why aren't we talking about something that half the population of the world goes through or will go through in their life?

Ruby: I think when it comes to women, there is a lot of issues when it comes to getting diagnosed because women's ADHD can manifest in such a different way. I think because women in general kind of have to put on a facade anyway. We're used to performing. That's constantly what I've been doing my whole life. When I was a child, I was always told I was bossy. So then I think I then internalised that and I was like, I can't be that because people don't like bossy women. So yeah, I definitely tried to be something I wasn't, but then that made it so that I was just struggling inside. Whereas now, like I viewed the world just completely differently after I got my diagnosis.

Eva: My diagnosis did empower me. It kind of gave me a reason, and with a reason I could go about doing the things I wanted to do. It definitely gave me freedom, and I feel like I found empowerment in the freedom.

Ruby: I'm so much healthier with my mind. I'll take up however much space I need.


Not So Typical

Video length - 06.03
Published date - Apr 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

Bryony shares her heartbreaking but hopeful story about living with cerebral palsy, PTSD and anxiety – and describes how people don’t always notice or understand these ‘hidden disabilities’. Mixing animation and live action, this beautifully shot and emotional film seeks to raise awareness not just of certain medical conditions; but of the impact of bullying and how it can push a person to feeling suicidal.





Hidden Disabilities

Hello, my name is Bryony. I'm 24. I live with my mum, dad and sister and all our animals. I am an actress, blogger and model. I'm passionate about raising awareness about disability, especially hidden disability. It came about because I was having a hard time and I needed a place to just write and vent. So I started my blog. I was in year two when my family started to take me to the doctors. This was because my teacher could see I was slightly behind my peers, so I would find balance very hard, PE, I couldn't concentrate. My walking wasn't the best. I trip a lot and she just sort of noticed I couldn't really keep up in class. So she spoke to my mum and we went to the doctor and then that's when I started having tests. When I was at school to begin with, I had quite a few friends, but then that kind of changed when people noticed that I was not coming into school as much because I was at a hospital appointment and they weren't really sure why. I think when I started telling my friends that I was disabled, they kind of saw me in a different way and didn't really know how to relate to me anymore. It was like I was a different person, but to me I was just the same. Then that's when people started picking up on things that they hadn't before. I hate to use the word normal, but I think they don't think I was normal.


When I found out I had cerebral palsy I didn't really understand what it was, but my mum and dad were very open about it. For me, it affects my right side of my body and it's scattered all over my brain. So I find reading and writing - I found writing very hard and doing puzzles. I had a splint which was like a leg brace that I'd wear on my right leg. I couldn't wear a skirt at school, had to wear trousers because I'd have to cover it because people would see it and make fun of me. This led to bullying from the age of year 2 to 16 years old. I got bullied verbally, physically and online. I kind of closed off to the world. I didn't feel like I belonged. My disability became more hidden, but I then had the diagnosis of PTSD, anxiety and depression. PTSD is when you've had an event happen in your life and it's affected you, and for some reason, you just can't stop thinking about it, but you're not even thinking about it. You just do it without even knowing. And it can be anything to everyone and it comes out in different ways. I covered it a lot with a smile, but like I say to people, just because you're smiling doesn't mean there's nothing wrong, like a smile can hide a lot and it kind of built up and built up and built up and people couldn't see that. I was just trying to cope with the basic stuff. Even just getting up in the morning. When I'm out and about and I'm not in my wheelchair, people walk past me and treat me completely differently. But it always makes me laugh because you could be walking past someone with a disability and you might not even know. When you see me walking, it might look simple, but inside my head everything's rushing and I get confused and tired and I just kind of learnt to just try and look as normal as I possibly can. I'd get bullied every single day and I'd come home really, really upset and crying.


Around the age of 14, when I was getting diagnosed with my mental health conditions, I was also diagnosed with visual and auditory hallucinations. And I couldn't... I couldn't see the world. It was like I was trapped in darkness. And I still have voices now. My voices would say nasty things that weren't very nice like they still do. But I didn't have coping strategies then. I felt very lost, very alone. I thought people would be better off if I wasn't here. I started to not be able to look at myself in mirrors. I kind of switched myself off to the world and that's when everything kind of just went a bit dark. Everything got a bit confusing in my head and I couldn't... I couldn't escape my own mind. I couldn't tell what was real, what wasn't real. Um... I felt very alone. I tried to take my own life um.... And.... That was really difficult because I was scared people would just say, 'you're doing it for attention' or things like that. But I couldn't think of... a way out. If I could talk to one of the bullies today, I'd... I'd be very anxious, but I'd probably say that even though for you, it was just like a little quick comment or just like a little bit of fun at school because nothing else to do it. It affected the way I saw myself and I didn't think I was worthy of... yeah. I thought that people would be better off without me. So it really like, it became my world rather than the real world for other people. It just became dark and I couldn't get out the darkness.

I spent a bit of time in a mental health hospital. They taught me techniques of how to cope with everyday situations if they got a bit too much. I also got help from CAMHs, which is a child's mental health service, and I'm now with adult mental health and they've been amazing and the support I received with them was brilliant. I have a support worker with me six days a week. I'm very lucky to have her. Her name is Ella. She helped me to try and be as independent as possible and to not rely on my mum all the time. When I'm out and about with Ella, she will link arms with me for when we're crossing the road because of my balance also because of my timing, I'm not really good at judging when it's safe to go. Also because I can have seizures. A seizure is when there's too much electrical energy in your brain and it goes too quickly so you can't have control of yourself. I explain this to little kids, as in you've got little jellybeans in your head, and then sometimes the jellybeans get so excited and they party in your brain and you just have a seizure and you begin to shake. My seizures can be brought on by stress, anxiety, the unknown. Maybe if I'm overthinking or even when I get really excited, they can happen for all different types of reasons.


I have a blue badge and this will help me with car parking so I don't have to walk as far to a shop. I also have a sunflower lanyard, which is a blue or green lanyard with sunflowers on it. This is what I wear when I'm out and about. This lanyard explains to other people that I have additional needs and I might be slower or I might need more help or just to be a bit more patient with me and things like that. Just making people aware that you might just need a little bit of extra help. Like with all my hidden disabilities, I like to find new things to do to help me express myself. And photography is one of them. I really like taking pictures of nature and wildlife and it helped me to be in the moment and just appreciate small little things in the here and now. Another one of my passions is acting. When I have an audition or a job, I will mark up my script in a particular way. This is because of my dyslexia and sometimes it feels like the words on the page can be jumbled. They can sometimes look like they're spinning or blurred, but because of the strategies I use, I always feel a sense of achievement afterwards because I always get there in the end. Despite my conditions and my disabilities, I want to try and be as positive as I can. I believe that my disability is part of me, but it doesn't define me. I made some amazing friends and it was a really nice way to connect and feel that you're not alone because you get told a lot that you're not alone and you think, 'yeah, everyone says that'. But, if you reach out, a lot of people you'll find will feel similar to you or understand what you're going through. So don't be scared to tell people because people would rather you told them and you were here than you didn't tell them and you're not here. I like to say to myself, just be you. Be true. There's no one else like you, and that is your superpower. Your story can change the world. Don't be afraid to be you and don't feel embarrassed to be you. We're all different. And that's what makes the world go round.


Hidden Disabilities

Video length - 10.40
Published date - Oct 2023
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

The Humanists UK organisation helped us get access to a very special woman, Cathy, who agreed to be filmed for an interview about her life and her impending death due to a terminal illness. Cathy is a big character who had a lot to say, as she planned for her own funeral and discussed why she identified with Humanism. After she passed away, we edited together her interview and funeral to make what is a rare and very touching film that goes beyond teaching non-religious world views: it’s about grief, love and helping others.

A film by Alastair Collinson.

Humanists UK

Component 2: Thematic studies - Religious, philosophical and ethical studies - Students should be aware of different religious perspectives on the issues studied within and / or between religious and non-religious beliefs such as atheism and humanism.

Area of Study 1 - The aims and objectives of this qualification are to enable students to: ● develop their knowledge and understanding of religions and non-religious beliefs, such as atheism and humanism

Component Group 2–Religion, philosophy and ethics in the modern world from a religious perspective - dialogue within and between religions and non-religious beliefs; how those with religious and non-religious beliefs respond to critiques of their beliefs including the study of a range of attitudes towards those with different religious views – inclusivist, exclusivist and pluralist approaches.

PART B - Theme 1: Issues of Life and Death - Learners are expected to make relevant references to scripture and other sources of authority as well as the beliefs of Humanists and Atheists.

2.3 Component 3 (Route A) - The compulsory nature of this component ensures that learners know and understand the fact that the religious traditions of Great Britain whilst being, in the main, Christian are also diverse and include the following religious traditions as well as other religious and non-religious beliefs such as humanism and atheism. This knowledge may be applied throughout the assessment of the specified content.


A Humanist Funeral Transcript

Narrator:  Humanists are people who don't believe that there is a God or life after death, but they do believe that it is possible to live good lives without a religion, telling them how to do it. Cathy was a humanist. Humanists make their decisions based on science, kindness, a concern for all human beings and the belief we only get one life. This combination of attitudes is called humanism. Knowing her life would soon end. Cathy began planning her humanist funeral and agreed to discuss it on camera at her home in Wales.


Catherine:       I'm Catherine Ellen Hawkesbury Weston, now Catherine Simons. I love the name, although I didn't like being a Welsh girl because I couldn't say anything in Welsh and I like to talk. I've been living here now, I would say 61 years. Um. And I couldn't imagine living anywhere else. My mother reckoned she was a good Christian. Um, Methodist. I had to go to Sunday school every week, whether I wanted to or not. And I couldn't have cared less. I really didn't want to be there. I'd like to believe there was something. But I don't think we ever come back. And I don't think I would like to come back, actually. And as long as I'm buried in the garden, I don't care.


Narrator:   Cathy died on May 24th, 2022. Her funeral took place at a chapel a month later. Kathy wanted a humanist funeral, which can look very much like a religious funeral, but there are no prayers and no mention of God or a life after death. It's a celebration of someone's life and the contribution they've made to the world. It's a way for friends and family to say goodbye, and the ceremony can take many forms.


Simon:     Welcome, everybody. We gathered here today to pay tribute to the life of Kathy Ellen Simmons. Along the way with every experience and every action, every reaction. With every single thought and emotion, we develop qualities that make us both memorable and unique. And it is that uniqueness, that separateness from others, which is the source of sorrow in bereavement. So if we searched the whole world over, we won't find another quite like Kathy. Her actions and her beliefs reflected the very best of being human. And from our conversations, I've distilled just a few of her thoughts, and it's in keeping with Kathy's very clearly expressed wishes. Her funeral will not be religious for those I have not met. My name is Simon Dinwiddie. I'm a celebrant with humanists UK, and I had the privilege of meeting Kathy for the first time in 2020. Now, being a very pragmatic woman, she wanted to discuss a plan for her own funeral ceremony. That was the first of several meetings, both in person and by telephone, for I'm sure you can all appreciate. Cathy had quite a tale to share.


Catherine:       I realized that religion wasn't really my thing, I wasn't interested in it, and I thought it was more important to be kind to people and just help them if I could. I wanted to be a nurse or was wanted. I never had a doll that was healthy. It would always say, I went for an interview there. You already said you've passed what you want to go in Army, Navy or Air Force? I didn't know they had them in the Army, in the Navy and the Air Force. So I said, I want to be an Army nurse. I could see the uniform, you know. So he said, well, you're in. You're going in a fortnight. Oh my God, what am I going to do? Um, and the very first day I was wearing my uniform and I thought I was chocolate. Oh, I got a hat on. Right. Um, I went down to Cambridge Military Hospital, and there was a brick parade square in front of us and the cookhouse down there. And here's this six foot three, uh, boy with red hair in uniform, marching up and down. And I said, hey, look at that to my mate. He's nice and nice, and he's got red hair. I'm going to marry him one day. She said, you are off your head. I said, we'll see. We'll see. And three years later I did. I think he was more of a believer than me, but it didn't matter that much. You know, it wasn't his life. He passed away and I can feel his goodness. And I want to. I want to capture that.


Simon:     Cathy loves to sing. His wonderful voice serenaded her with renditions from Mario Lanza. So let us take a few seconds or a few moments while we listen to our Maria.


Catherine:       Listen to him sing. Oh God, it made the world go round, you know it's. It was something special. It was just him and I, and it was just wonderful. I've never felt like that with anybody else. I would love people to play this music at my funeral. It meant so much for me. Um, I was jealous because I couldn't sing, but oh, boy, did I enjoy listening to him singing.


Simon:     So the opportunity to introduce her to two film makers. They've been making various films about various belief systems. And back in October 21st, Cathy very kindly agreed to talk to them on camera about her life and humanism. She was sharing memories from her long and adventurous life, including a career and that amazing bucket list of Spitfires, snakes and driving a blood red Ferrari. Now. Cathy loved the idea of sharing a few select clips from her interview with you today. So we should listen to a little bit more of her story.


Catherine: I think the first time I heard about humanism, I met this lady through another friend and I went to see her, and I think I can't be accurate about this. She was a humanist, but she looked in my eyes and I felt. Hang on. That's a little bit the way I feel. Being a humanist makes me feel good. Worthwhile, useful and kind. I think it made me feel. More sensitive to other people's needs. Not just mine. But other people have feelings. And perhaps you can help them in one way or another. I only wanted boys and I only wanted ginger haired boys for us. And it was really funny, actually, because I started having treatment in London and they were determined to get me pregnant and he failed. Um, and that, I suppose, was one of the biggest disappointments in our lives. But we decided the guide dogs would help a lot of people and the forces, because we've been so happy in the forces. And I'm not kidding you. The fun and games I've had with help for heroes, the guide dog puppies, the children with cancer. I love it, absolutely love it. I got an answer only about six months a year ago. Um, the guy that I used to go to in London said to me, Cath, do you know we know why you couldn't have babies? So I said, go on, tell me then. So he said, it's the pancreas. I take over 100 tablets every day to keep me going. I don't want a load of flowers bought for me. I don't want to a fancy this, that and the other. I don't want a meal afterwards. Good God didn't go and get chips down the road. And I just want my ashes to go where I've spent a lot of hours where I used to love being with Terry. He had a beautiful garden. Honestly, um. And where I had a lot of happy times. And it's just nice to know that we'll be together again. You know, if tomorrow's the day. Tomorrow's the day. Um. I've had a good life. I've done a lot of wonderful things. I've met some amazing people. When you think of the beautiful things, we've got to see the places we can go, the people we can meet. Aren't we lucky? We really are lucky. And I love people and I love being with animals. And it's just. Aren't I the luckiest girl in the world? I think so.


Simon:     I think Kathy's message could be summed up in one sentence. Now we've got one life living to the full and seek joy in every day. Ladies, gentlemen, if you're able. Would you please stand for the last post.


Narrator:  The last post is a bugle or trumpet call that is played at funerals for people with a connection to the military. Ah. After the funeral, Cathy was cremated at the chapel. Her ashes were scattered in her garden beside the ashes of her husband, Terry.


Simon:     Yeah, well, that absolutely was perfect for her. So the main thing about a humanist funeral is that they are as unique as the individual who chooses. They're a unique estate, a family that wants to respect the life and reflect upon the life of the person they've lost. And so there is no formula for a humanist ceremony other than we celebrate the life we recognize. It's a good life.


Catherine:       I really would like to be remembered as somebody sensitive, caring and loving. That's all.


A Humanist Funeral

Video length - 11.02
Published date - Nov 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.


Video length - 6.38
Published date - Oct 2022
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4

Humanism is a non-religious belief system. Humanists are people who shape their own lives in the here and now, because they believe it’s the only life we have. They make sense of the world through logic, reason, and evidence, and always seek to treat those around them with warmth, understanding, and respect.

And just like with other belief systems, they have important ceremonies too. Watch Ivy experience her naming ceremony, with the key features explained, while her parents discuss the Humanist principles they want to instill in her.

A film by Alastair Collinson.

Humanists UK

A Humanist Naming Ceremony

Video length - 08.12
Published date - Jun 2022
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4

Understanding Addiction: The Law – Presented by Mental Health Nurse Emma, who details how UK law currently stands regarding the possession, distribution and manufacture of illegal drugs. She explains the reasons behind the UK’s three drug classifications, based on the risk levels associated with individual substances.

There are three fact sheets and three lesson plans that you can use alongside the nine addiction films, which includes the introduction film, seven interviews (each focused on a different type of addiction) and a law film. Please also read the attached guidance and teacher notes that offer support and resources for young people who may already be experiencing addiction in their lives or homes.



Understanding Addiction: The Law

Video length - 04.07
Published date - Sep 2021
Keystage(s) - 3, 4 and 5

Understanding Addiction: Dad Dependent On Alcohol – Jo is now in her 40s but spent her childhood being frightened of her father, who became addicted to alcohol and made life difficult for Jo and her whole family. While it’s important to listen to and help those who become personally dependent on a substance, the loved ones of people with dependency issues sometimes get forgotten, and they also need guidance through their trauma. Jo is now in the best place she’s ever been in her life thanks to charities such as Adfam, who focus on the families of those with substance misuse or dependency issues.

There are three fact sheets and three lesson plans that you can use alongside the nine addiction films, which includes the introduction film, seven interviews (each focused on a different type of addiction) and a law film. Please also read the attached guidance and teacher notes that offer support and resources for young people who may already be experiencing addiction in their lives or homes.

A film by Alastair Collinson.

If you are affected by any of the content on screen or would like to know more, please visit the website of Adfam, who are based across the UK, or you can reach out to Jo personally who operates her own service for people going through, or who have gone through, a similar experience to her.




Jo Huey is a speaker, trainer and adult child of an alcoholic based in Bournemouth. She educates professionals about living in a home of alcohol misuse and how best to help families. She has also written two children’s books. Check out her podcast on alcohol misuse, the impact on the drinker, family and society as a whole – just search for “Two Roads Travelled” on most podcast platforms. She created the accompanying document that helps identify and assist young people who possibly have a parent with substance dependency.

To contact Jo email her at:

[email protected]

Understanding Addiction: Dad Dependent On Alcohol

Video length - 06.26
Published date - Sep 2021
Keystage(s) - 3, 4 and 5

Understanding Addiction: Heroin – Heroin, and opioids in general, are considered by many to be the most dangerous illegal drugs, and yearly statistics reflect this view. It is also one of the most addictive and difficult drugs to stop using. Simon had a difficult childhood and used heroin to escape from his emotional trauma, but as his tolerance increased so did his dependency and his willingness to break the law in order to get more of the drug. It led to homelessness and a near death experience. But with the right help, he turned his life around. Watch him share his story now.

There are three fact sheets and three lesson plans that you can use alongside the nine addiction films, which includes the introduction film, seven interviews (each focused on a different type of addiction) and a law film. Please also read the attached guidance and teacher notes that offer support and resources for young people who may already be experiencing addiction in their lives or homes.

A film by Alastair Collinson.

If you are affected by any of the content on screen or would like to know more, please visit the website of St George’s Crypt who help hundreds of people like Simon all year round. They are based in Leeds. Other similar services can be found across the UK if you search online.




Understanding Addiction: Heroin

Video length - 05.11
Published date - Sep 2021
Keystage(s) - 3, 4 and 5

Understanding Addiction: Gambling – Danny grew up with a positive culture of gambling, but a lot has changed since he was younger, and gambling can now be accessed far more easily – not just due to an increase in high-street bookmakers, but also because of the enormous surge in online options. What started as a bit of fun in his late teens spiralled into an addiction that put him in £50,000 of debt and led to suicidal thoughts. At the root of his dependency was the need to escape the trauma of losing his mum to cancer. Now he is debt-free thanks to the help of a community he fostered, an app that can block him making payments on gambling sites, and advice from charities. Watch him share his story now.

A film by Alastair Collinson.

If you are affected by any of the content on screen or would like to know more, gambling addiction has been recognised since 2013 as an affliction equal to drug and alcohol dependency – there are a number of NHS linked clinics and UK wide charities that can help people struggling with it.






Understanding Addiction: Gambling

Video length - 05.36
Published date - Sep 2021
Keystage(s) - 3, 4 and 5

Understanding Addiction: Alcohol – Sarah (not her real name) had a positive upbringing with a close family unit, and she excelled at primary school. But when she started secondary school, she started getting bullied and decided to bully those people right back. It led her down a dark path, mixing with the wrong crowds and letting her school work slide. Then she started drinking alcohol, and things got much, much worse. But with the right help, she turned her life around. Watch her share her story now. Her film is unique in the series: Sarah didn’t want to tell her story on camera, so her exact words are voiced by an actor and portrayed on screen via animation (by Anh Cao).

There are three fact sheets and three lesson plans that you can use alongside the nine addiction films, which includes the introduction film, seven interviews (each focused on a different type of addiction) and a law film. Please also read the attached guidance and teacher notes that offer support and resources for young people who may already be experiencing addiction in their lives or homes.

If you are affected by any of the content on screen or would like to know more, please visit the website of charity We Are With You, who are based across the UK.




Understanding Addiction: Alcohol

Video length - 07.44
Published date - Sep 2021
Keystage(s) - 3, 4 and 5