I am Anyone and I am Someone

Joli Scheidler-Benns
• Platform: short 45-60 second videos on
YouTube/Facebook/University website
Addresses three of the four contest themes
• Changing Attitudes
• Awareness and Signs of Mental Illness
• Community Building
3 Phases to this video campaign with the ongoing
component of creating a unanimous University
“feelings” blog for students overseen by a University
specialist. A link to the blog can be shown at the end
of each video as well as ‘emergency’ contact
information and hotline numbers.
Phase One
I am anyone.
Phase One shows students at school, at work or in their community.
They are anxious as they think about various things in word balloons (A
young woman thinks “I don’t like how I look.” A young mother doing
university-level homework looks anxious when she considers caring for
her new baby. “How will I balance going to school and being a mom?” A
young man feels under pressure doing a mountain of homework at his
desk. “Am I good enough to finish this project?”)- “I feel sad” “This is
hopeless” “Things will never get better”-additional word balloon ideas.
Whenever someone comes near them, they hold up a ‘happy mask’ in
front of their faces – it could be a theatre mask, a yellow happy face, or
a happy version of them, made to look like a hand-mirror.
In addition to the word balloons throughout the video, some useful text
at the bottom could include signs of mental illness. It could be read by
someone in a voice over as well. It should be pointed out that many
people hide or are ashamed of their feelings… so asking how someone
is and observing others is a good start-not being fooled by the mask
people wear.
Phase Two
I am every 5th one.
Length: 45 second video
Phase two shows a variety of social circumstances where the 5th
person in every scene is ‘greyed out’ as if they are invisible. Social
situations in the video could include a line-up at the coffee shop, a
classroom setting or a party. (This reflects the fact that about one in
five people suffer from mental illness.)
At one point, the viewer watches a mental health advocate speaking
to a first year university class, urging them to reach out and show
they care if they think they see someone in need. Also urging them
to seek help if they need it.
Theme-”Reach out and notice others” Mental illness affects one in
five people and we will ALL be affected by mental illness in some
After the ‘greyed out’ person talks to someone they start to change
from grey to colour again… to reduce the stigma and change
Phase Three
I am someone.
In this final phase it repeats some of the scenes from the first phase,
except the happiness is real…the people are living more authentically
after having gotten help, writing on the blog, or talking to someone. The
text along the bottom of this phase’s video reinforces the need for
people to seek help- it also asks for parents, family members, friends,
employers, etc, to be actively engaged in helping the person and
educating themselves on the signs of mental illness and ways to help.
There is a feeling of “I matter” in this final phase of the campaign, a
sense that they can be whomever they want to be and do whatever
they’d like in life. Perhaps showing them happy in exciting careers,
family situations, or just being joyfully alone in nature – to show they are
comfortable with who they are.
Theme: “I am more than my illness.” “I am not afraid to get help.” “I
deserve to have a great life.” “I am worth it.”
Research shows that the incidence of mental illness is growing fast and the
amount of individual support cannot keep up with the demand.
Various interventions and task shifting need to be done in order to reach the
increasing demand. By growing awareness of the signs and teaching people
what to do when someone confronts them with a mental health issue is
important. Early intervention and detection is key to the treatment of mental
health illness.
Social media and videos are an increasing way for students to receive the
information and share it. Short videos are the most common way for students
to share information.
Blogging also allows an anonymity with a trained specialist and seems to
improve symptoms of depression. Research shows that students with social
difficulties and depression that regularly write on a blog for 10 weeks
improved self-esteem, reduced social and emotional distress, and increased
their participation in social activities
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health. American Psychologist, 67, 231–243.
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