Halifax actor part of new film being launched to raise awareness of mental health

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Give life a chance.

That’s the call from a talented Halifax actor during Mental Health Awareness Week who is among of actors creating a new film to raise awareness about the effects suicide can have on those left behind.

Recording for the #Helpme short film took place at Prime Studios in Kirkstall six months after the project first began.

It follows several fictional people who have taken their own lives, and the devastating effects that decision can have on their loved ones.

Cast, crew and organisers hope the film will raise awareness about mental health support available and encourage people to share their problems.

Katie Ross, film director and owner of IPM Acting Academy, which supplied the actors and created the film idea, said: “We started this as a project in class and developed the roles over a number of months.

“There’s so many people that have mental health issues.

“The hope is that people on both sides who are feeling suicidal, or know someone who seems different, to talk about it - there are people out there who genuinely care.”

Featuring 25 actors, the 15-minute film highlights that a range of people - regardless of gender, age or occupation - can be affected by mental health issues.

Actors, crew members and businesses volunteered their time to organise the project and produce the not-for-profit film to raise awareness.

The film will be released in July, and be distributed on the internet, as well as regional television channels and possibly cinemas.

Actor Simon Hannah, who in the past grappled with depression himself, hopes the film will now encourage others to speak out.

The 43-year-old, from Halifax, is a member of the acting academy in Leeds now and works as a children’s entertainer. He said: “Some time ago I went through the typical phases of feeling low and depression.

“This film is now enabling me to put back in to the system, and get the word out that you have to talk and say what you feel.

“Mental health is coming into society more but it can be a tricky subject to put across.

“I hope that the film will enable people to speak out about it and ask for help.”

The filming project has been supported by Rossi Pictures, the Northern Retro, Picture The Print, MADE TV and local businesses in Leeds.

Naj Modak, who is publicising and acting in the film, said: “The film is basically trying to show that this can affect anyone.

“It’s not just about the people who take their own life, but it’s about their friends, families, colleagues.

“It’s something people don’t want to talk about or they find it difficult.

“But it’s saying you need to talk and there are people out there who can help. Give life a chance.

“There are people out there who care. Some people don’t know a lot about mental health issues, they want to help but it is difficult for them to understand and we want to raise awareness.”

Organisers are trying to raise money online and have set up a funding page to help cover the costs of the filming, equipment and production.

To support the film, or for more information, visit www.gofundme.com and search ‘helpmeproduction’.