Cork International Film Festival’s ‘Intinn’ is a film and mental health programme for Transition Year (TY) and senior cycle students nationwide. ‘Intinn’, meaning ‘mind’ or ‘way of thinking’ in Irish, offers students the opportunity to explore themes of mental health and personal wellbeing through the accessible medium of film, an exclusive Q&A and a wellbeing webinar, with classroom resources.
In 2020, the programme featured a screening of award-winning director Frank Berry’s I Used to Live Here, followed by an exclusive Q&A with Frank Berry, lead actor Jordanne Jones and Youth Mental Health Advocate, Dr Tony Bates and a wellbeing webinar and classroom activities, led by Johnny Goodwin, Mental Health Nursing Lecturer from UCC School of Nursing and Midwifery.
Through Intinn, Cork International Film Festival (CIFF) hope to explore and demonstrate film’s potential as an accessible way to positively impact young people’s awareness and understanding of mental health and personal resilience. This unique programme offers easy to access and age-appropriate tailored mental health educational resources for young people, in order to help reduce the stigma that exists around mental illness and to promote resilience among Ireland’s youth.
Engagement and encouragement
Young people aged between 15 and 18 benefit from participating in the Intinn programme. The programme seeks to engage with this young audience to encourage them to discuss mental health and discover new ways to look after their own wellbeing, in a safe environment.
Teachers in secondary schools who participate in the programme also benefit, as they can use the programme and the classroom resources provided to help discuss difficult topics surrounding mental health in a secure and non-intrusive manner, and help themselves feel more confident and comfortable supporting young people with mental health difficulties.
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a spotlight on mental health issues for people, particularly young people who may be finding it difficult to discuss their mental wellbeing.
There were a number of challenges that had to be overcome too when delivering the Intinn programme. The programme was initially meant to take place in late spring 2020 as a physical event but had to be fully re-designed for online viewing and postponed following the first COVID-19-related lockdown. As the programme was offered online this year, challenges such as class scheduling, slow internet connection and government restrictions potentially impacted on the programme and on those participating.
Mental health and wellbeing can also be challenging to discuss, individually or in a group setting, especially when considering difficult topics such as suicide.
These challenges can be and were overcome over the last year by streamlining the programme delivery as much as possible using a dedicated FAQ and guide, facilitating multi-classroom viewing and by providing teachers and students with detailed information on mental health resources and organisations available to them.
Following the successful pilot run of CIFF’s Intinn programme in 2019, the 2020 edition was initially meant to take place in cinema venues across Munster in April and May, but due to COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions, this had to be postponed and rescheduled for later in the year.
Following detailed research and consultation, roll out of the three-part programme in September 2020 began with the screenings taking place in November on Intinn’s online digital platform, which was available to teachers and students nationwide directly in their own classrooms.
As many businesses and organisations have had to close or reduce their operations, fundraising has been difficult for many not-for-profit organisations and social enterprises.
However, CIFF was fortunate enough in 2020 to retain the support of many of its funders and supporters such as the Arts Council, Cork City Council and Cork County Council as well as partners the ESB Energy for Generations Fund, Rethink Ireland, Creative Ireland and the HSE, who are key funders for its two mental health awareness initiatives, Intinn and Illuminate.
By securing funding from Rethink Ireland, the aim is to continue innovating and improving the Intinn programme. Though COVID-19 restrictions initially impacted on the delivery of the programme in the early part of 2020, with the support of funders the programme was reworked and reinvented successfully, allowing delivery not just to Munster schools as originally planned, but to secondary schools nationwide.
With further funding, the aim is to continue to deliver the programme nationwide online, while also investigating the possibility of the programme taking place in venues across the country, in line with government guidelines. Reaching more young people who desperately need innovative mental health resources, providing schools nationwide with further access to mental health and wellbeing educational resources, is the overarching objective of this initiative.
Those who take part in the Intinn programme will have the benefit of having access to trusted and engaging mental health and wellbeing resources, allowing them to explore and discover different topics around mental health and wellbeing while in a safe and secure classroom environment, and with the support of their educators and accredited youth mental health professionals.