Screen Australia collaborates on new film ahead of Mental Health Month

how to thrive

A vision for the democratisation of mental health care

Beyondedge has announced its collaboration with Screen Australia, Documentary Australia, VicScreen, the University of Melbourne and first-time director Duy Huynh on a new documentary ahead of Mental Health Month.

How to Thrive: a practical guide to happiness follows the journey of seven individuals with mental health struggles as they are guided through their journey by Positive Psychotherapist Marie McLeod.

With inspiration taken from Huynh’s experiences of adversity as a first-generation refugee, Huynh’s vision is to represent the possibilities of a world where health and thriving skills are accessible to all who need it. Huynh said: “We actually know quite a lot about the science of happiness and wellbeing; but until now, these approaches haven’t had the broad exposure they deserve.

“Mainstream mental health services focus on getting people to zero – that is – zero disorder. What we wanted to test was, if we gave people experiencing struggle skills to thrive, would it make a difference? The results have been pretty remarkable with participants all making significant gains beyond just being disorder free.”

Co-produced by Andrew Kelly and executive produced by Dylan Cooper and co-founder and CEO of Documentary Australia, Mitzi Goldman, the film will be screening in metro and regional areas around Australia in October.

Filming took place across multiple COVID-19 lockdowns, in turn leading the documentary to focus on the complexity of pandemic-induced mental health strains on the seven participants.

Dr Peggy Kern, Research Psychologist from Melbourne University said: “If our participants had maintained the same results pre-COVID, it would have been a significant win, but in fact, we saw gains that took our participants from deep struggle to a positive thriving space. 

“Having measured the participant’s wellbeing scores at the start, end and 18 months afterwards, we can see the program gave participants the tools and skills to be well and be able to maintain this level of wellbeing even when we stopped intervening.” 

How to Thrive premieres on Thursday, 13 October, with preview screenings on Thursday, 6 October to coincide with Mental Health Week. Corporate screenings are also available.

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