An animation made by four students from the School of Engineering and Digital Arts (EDA) for the BBC documenting issues with mental health treatment has led to an apology from the CEO of the NHS Trust involved and a promise to improve services.
The video tells the story of Sophie, who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder, and details her experiences with mental health services in the UK, as part of a project for Mental Health Awareness Week.
It was published online on the BBC on Monday 8 May and was viewed hundreds of thousands of times, including by Helen Greatorex, the chief executive of Kent and Medway Partnership Trust.
She said that on watching the film she felt compelled to apologise for the treatment Sophie had received by writing a letter promising things would change.
‘It is not right or fair that people in distress (as you were) feel unsupported by mental health services. My letter to you Sophie, therefore has two purposes,’ she wrote, as reported by the BBC.
‘The first is to offer you my personal and unreserved apology that your experience of services was not what we would want for anyone. The second is to say that we completely agree that things need to change, and as you can see, we are working on those changes now.’
The piece was produced by four final year students, three from the BA in Digital Arts, Sophia Ppali, Roan Caulfield and Rhianna Taylor and one from the BSc in Multimedia Technology and Design, Samantha Body.
They said they were overwhelmed with the response the video had received and glad the effort had paid off.
‘It’s really important that this issue was addressed and the fact that our work has helped that happen is really special. We hope this gets the ball rolling and encourages changes to be made so that there won’t be any more stories like Sophie’s in the future.’
Ania Bobrowicz, Senior Lecturer in Digital Arts at EDA, who oversaw the project said she hoped the project would lead to real impact for all those suffering from mental health issues.
‘We are delighted that the animation produced by the students at EDA has made a difference. We hope that Sophie and others who have been affected by this mental health crisis will receive the treatment and care they deserve.’