What did you find out?
High levels of discrimination and educational exclusion can place young Gypsies and Travellers’ at a higher risk of experiencing poor mental health. We found youth-made films are uniquely useful for opening up conversations about challenging issues and bringing unheard voices to the forefront.
What do you want to change?
It was recognised by young people we talked with that there was a lack of video-based content available that reflected young Gypsies and Travellers’ lived experiences, from their own perspectives. The group of young people collectively discussed their communities attitudes towards mental health and well- being and the challenges that their communities faced, their own experiences and ideas for films they wanted to create, the awareness they wanted to raise and what they hoped would be the responses to the films. Over the period of a year – a group of young creatives held a series of sessions where as a group we identified key issues and worked with writers and filmmakers to create the Its Kushti to Rokker series of 5 short films and a documentary based on their real-life experiences, in order to inspire and support other young people to speak up and seek help where they need it.
What do you recommend?
We recognised that we needed to make sure young people remained supported and safe during talks about mental health. We had an onboard psychologist (someone who can help you understand your feelings) as part of the project present during the sessions where we talked about mental health and the issues, we wanted to explore in the films to make sure young people were fully supported through the sharing process. We also spent lots of time preparing young people for the filming days by running a series of hand’s on workshops, so everyone felt confident and knew what to expect on the filming days.
The end result was this educational resource you can view here: https://www.travellerstimes.org.uk/ytt/its-kushti-rokker-travellers-travellers
What advice would you give?J- “I feel so proud of what I’ve created and to have had the opportunity to tell my story to support other young people struggling especially young LGBTQI Travellers who might be feeling isolated.” T – “This was the first time I’d ever done anything like this before, it was the first time id shared my story about my school experience and the first time I’d worked with cameras – I’m glad I was part of this project was nervous at first but I’d say go for it - I hope its gives over young people watching a kick up the bum to talk about their own problems.” R- “Making this film showed that you should be proud of your heritage and ethnicity and not cower behind it and not let others ever make you feel ashamed.”
How did you include people?We had lots of conversations with people individually before meeting in a group to make sure everybody knew what to expect and felt comfortable. At the beginning of our sessions as a group we set ground rules that included to be respectful of other people’s opinions and to not talk over the top of them. This made sure everybody felt safe and valued. Through individual conversations we also found out people’s specific interests and matched roles for them - for example when we came to creating each film together the person who had a special interest in hair and make-up became our onset makeup artist.
What did you enjoy?J- “I really enjoyed meeting and connecting with other young Travellers for the advisory and filmmaking workshops” L – “I learnt to be more comfortable in my own skin and be more comfortable with my own presence by seeing myself on screen and even how all the props and colours all add to the story.” T – “I found the whole filming day tiring but totally worth it to get my message out there I hope people watch it and feel like they can speak out about things that might be happening in school and realise how it can impact on the way you see yourself.”
What has changed?Young people involved are in a more empowered position to speak out and support other young people. J- “I would tell people to look at the Its Kushti to Rokker series of films and info pack if they needed help I never really would talk about my mental health but now I know Its Kushti to Rokker! I would like to continue to raise awareness about the challenges young LGBT Travellers can experience I liked being part of this project because were making it happen were starting to make a change and and raise awareness through video of the reality for young Travellers with real life stories that people have actually lived by Travellers for Travellers.”