St Andrew's psychiatric patient documentary to be screened at Northampton Film Festival

‘A Life Worth Living’ follows a St Andrew’s patient’s recovery journey after she was detained under the Mental Health Act three years ago

By Megan Hillery
Thursday, 19th May 2022, 8:15 am

A 10-minute documentary starring a young woman who charted her recovery while being treated at a psychiatric hospital will be screened at the Northampton Film Festival 2022.

A Life Worth Living follows Kayleigh, who has been a patient at St Andrew’s Healthcare for three years. The 25-year-old agreed to waive her right to anonymity because she wanted to help break the stigma commonly associated with complex mental health problems.

Kayleigh, who is planning to go to catering college once she is discharged, said: “I want people to understand that mental health can affect anyone and, just because you’ve got a mental illness, it doesn’t define you as a person, it’s just a part of who you are.

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Kayleigh has bravely shared her recovery story in documentary, 'A Life Worth Living.'

“When I first arrived at St Andrew’s, I didn’t really see a future I was that depressed. I tried to take my own life several times and I very nearly succeeded on a couple of occasions but, thankfully, I’m still here and I feel like I have a future now.”

A Life Worth Living will be screened on Saturday, May 21 as part of the line-up at the Northampton Film Festival, which started on May 16. It was chosen to be screened from tens of films submitted to festival organisers.

Screen Northants shortlisted the film in the festival’s first ever documentary category after being impressed by the high-production values and hearing Kayleigh’s experience of being sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Film Festival director Becky Adams said: “Whether drama or documentary, film is a powerful tool for starting conversations, opening doors and promoting understanding.

"We feel it’s particularly important this Northampton-centric film with an important universal message gets seen so we’re very pleased to be giving it an outing at the Northampton Filmhouse.”

The 10-minute short film is based on the half hour documentary I’m Not Mad, I’m Me, which premiered last year. It featured Kayleigh and two other patients, who discussed their mental health struggles and their recovery journey at St Andrew’s.

Co-producer, director and editor of the documentary Catherine Rose said: “I've worked on a lot of projects that feature tough subjects, but having the rare access and permission to film with these brave young people inside a secure psychiatric hospital felt important and special to be a part of.

"All three of our protagonists spoke freely about the painful journey they've experienced and how life-changing being in specialist care has been for their recovery journey.”

Interim CEO at St Andrew’s Healthcare Jess Lievesley added: “It is still not acceptable that, despite years of positive progress, too many people still associate mental illness with a stigma that at best can be a huge barrier to people achieving their potential and at worst can lead to people giving up hope and taking their own lives.”

She continued: “Staff here are completely dedicated to promoting hope for an individual’s recovery and that they are so much more than their diagnosis. By speaking out and sharing her story, Kayleigh has shown everyone that she’s so much more than her mental health condition.”

Book tickets to watch A Life Worth Living on the Northampton Film Festival website.