Living Words and Mental Health
Arts and literature charity Living Words is most known for working with people affected by late-stage dementias. We use a way of working we call Listen Out Loud to create personal books, as well as taking peoples’ words out to large audiences through song, performance and publication. In 2019, we started evolving this person-centered arts practice, to amplify other seldom heard voices. The Living Warriors project was commissioned as part of an innovation funding initiative by NHS authorities in Kent and Medway, to explore why people had not taken their own lives, when they had thought that they would. Held in March in Folkestone Library, we came together to explore the moments in which we had chosen not to end our lives, as well as what kept us here and keeps us going (something on which the UK has little data). We worked in small groups and one-to-one to co-create individual Living Words books with all those who took part. Following its success, and the whole project winning The National Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards, Living Words was awarded further funding to make these films. The group wanted to share our words of survival with more people, to bring hope to others in desperate times. This gave us the idea of creating short ‘message’ films, to be shown in cinemas before main features, to offer support.
The Warriors’ words are shared with the world through these films, a book and a song.
December 2019 – March 2020, we made our Living Warrior films. 7 Living Warriors from Kent had their words about surviving nearly taking their own lives, made into short films. The co-creative process saw us having a group writing/creation session, followed by individual workshops to shape and hone the films. We looked at 1) What we wanted to say – taking the words directly from our Living Warriors books; and 2) How we wanted to say it – exploring places of meaning and visual metaphor. All the films are different from each other, but linked through the opening and closing beach scenes to make it clear that there are many survivors – in every town, village and city.
We would love our message to be heard nationally & internationally. You can help us by watching & sharing them – especially with those who you think might need to see and hear them, right now. We would also love to be in contact with cinema distributors, broadcasters and festivals.
You can watch the films and find out more HERE