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Filmmaker Ella Greenwood campaigns for better mental health representation


© Salisbury Relations

The renowned short film, 'Faulty Roots', was inspired by the lack of accurate media representation for mental illness in young people, its director Ella Greenwood said.

The lead teenage character has depression and it seems that her mother can’t find a way to help her. It’s estimated that one in five adolescents from all walks of life will suffer from depression at some point during their teen years, yet parents are rarely given advice on how to best help their children.

“I wish I had seen mental illness shown in a positive way in the media when I was a young teen,” the London-based director said. “Any time I saw mental health portrayed; it was often in a negative way that did more harm than good.” She was recently featured by Jejune Magazine for ‘Writing The Script On Mental Health’ and Unpublished Magazine for ‘Revolutionizing the Conversation about Mental Health’.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention found that in Film & TV, on average 46% of film characters with a mental health condition were perpetrators of violence and that out of 4,598 characters in film only 1.7% experienced a mental health condition.

Greenwood’s 'Faulty Roots' is now being developed into a feature length version, with key cast having been announced by Deadline.

The need for mental health support is at an all-time high. Data published by the Office for National Statistics on 1 September showed that in 2019 the suicide rate among men and boys was the highest since 2000 and among women and girls, the highest since 2004.

Greenwood said her goal as a filmmaker is to show teenagers’ points of view in a relevant way. “Young people have real concerns, and these are often dismissed or portrayed lightly by the media”. She also wants to focus on expanding the mental health conversation with her films. At the age of only 19, she has been featured by Huffington Post, Yahoo, and countless other news sites and has been called “an engaging, thoughtful and decisive young filmmaker to watch” by Sarah Cartland of Caution Spoilers, with acclaimed critic Richard Propes saying “One can’t help but be enthusiastic about Greenwood’s cinematic promise”.


© Broken Flames Productions

Greenwood’s latest short film ‘Self-Charm’ which will shoot in December will focus closely on self-harm. Broken Flames Productions is producing the project alongside Talluah Films, whose recent credits include 'Little Miss Sumo' on Netflix and 'Queens' on Film4.

Greenwood is also an ambassador for leading teen mental health charity stem4, which promotes positive mental health in teenagers through the provision of mental health education, resilience strategies and early intervention.


© Broken Flames Productions

'Faulty Roots' recently screened at BAFTA accredited Bolton International Film Festival, as well as Tallgrass Film Festival, High Peak Independent Film Festival & more.

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