Young people from Hull have created a film as part of a project which explored emotions and mental health. The film, which is called ‘Surviving Thriving’, will premiere at a special event on Friday, 23 March 2018 at the Octagon in Hull. Combining film and dance, the event brings together local services, practitioners, young people and their families to celebrate their achievements around promoting and supporting young people’s emotional resilience and mental health.

The project was a joint partnership between Humber NHS Foundation Trust’s SMASH programme and the Cornerhouse Young People’s Peer Mentor Project, with funding from the HeadStart Hull ‘Big lottery Fund’.

The project involved a group of young people create a bid that focussed on reducing the stigma surrounding mental health, learning about emotional and mental wellbeing and making it everybody’s business. The bidding process was unique as the funding was granted by a panel made-up of young people.

During the six-week project, the group engaged in emotional and mental health sessions and had a two-night residential trip to Melton Lodge, where they were encouraged to get back to nature. They personally explored how to improve their emotional resilience and mental wellbeing, learn independent life skills and embrace peer-to-peer support. The young people transformed their learning in to a piece of contemporary dance and the whole process was filmed to be premiered at this week’s celebration event.

SMASH Programme Manager, Emma Train-Sullivan said:

I have delivered early intervention for young people’s emotional resilience and mental health for 16 years. I have seen young people flourish through accessing the right support at the right time for them. But I have to say with confidence, that this young person coproduced project has completely blown me away. They are truly inspirational and I feel blessed to have watched them grow and see them not only survive, but ‘thrive’

Estelle Parker, Project Co-ordinator for the Young People’s Peer Mentoring at Cornerhouse, explains;

For me, it was really nice to see the young people participating in various activities that can improve emotional wellbeing, such as getting outside and taking walks, learning new skills and coming together as a group to support each other. What particularly stood out for me was that none of the group used their mobile phones and had face to face conversations with each other and staff. I feel that the residential trip enabled them to have the opportunity to be away from social media, which is sometimes needed for this generation

Some of the young people who were involved in the project said:

My journey on this has been nice, I felt like no one left me out. I’ve been happy and really want it to continue – Jess

The project made us understand each other and ourselves better – Joe

I would totally go again! – Lucy

Everybody has a different story: Don’t judge somebody else because you don’t know theirs – Emily

Head of Transformation at Humber NHS Foundation Trust, Peter Flanagan said:

I had the privilege of spending some time with these young people at Melton and was struck by how quickly they had become a cohesive group. They have already given us a commitment as a group to their central role in co-designing our future Thrive-like support for local young people with emotional mental health needs. I am convinced their experiences and views will be a huge asset to us

HeadStart Hull Programme Manager, Gail Teasdale said:

HeadStart Hull aims to enable children and young people to have positive mental health and wellbeing, thrive in ‘their communities’ and to ‘bounce back’ from life’s challenges. We are pleased to support projects such as this which gives young people a voice and supports them to raise awareness of issues which matter to them, challenging stigma on the issue of mental health in a creative way

The celebration event is on Friday 23rd March 6:30-8:30pm at The Octagon, Walker Street Hull. For further information on the project or event please contact Emma Train-Sullivan at