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Gareth Watkins - Rainbow Touchstones [AI Text]

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What was the idea that prompted you to put in this application to the to the Mental Health Foundation? I guess I had been aware of the, um, mental health media grants for a number of years, and I had seen some really good work come out of that. And I guess I knew also that there was a lot of mental health issues in the kind of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and sex communities. [00:00:30] And I wanted a positive way of of helping other people. You know, when you look at some of the statistics like young people who are attracted to the same sex are up to 12 times more likely to try and commit suicide? Um, that that that's a huge number. Um, and I. I just wanted something that was positive, something that allowed the community to share their own stories. So basically, I'm just acting as a facilitator. That [00:01:00] statistic obviously shocked you. Is this about trying to find out why or is it more about saying, Well, this is the way it is. Let's find out what's actually happening. I think it's about helping the community. Uh, II. I think the reasons seem quite obvious as to why and in the community Generally, you know, there there is quite a large section of kind of mental health issues, you know, depression, anxiety. But then you kind of layer on top [00:01:30] of that, um, some of the issues that, um, kind of lesbian gay communities face in terms of, you know, maybe not being out to their families, not being out to their friends. Um, not being out to themselves these layers that build up. And then, of course, you know, when you've got that kind of feeling of isolation and lone, you know, you might be talking about kind of drug and alcohol issues as well. Um, you know, fear for the future job relationships. Um, and they all kind of add on to each other. So the higher [00:02:00] incidents, if you like of of mental health issues in these communities didn't come as a surprise in some ways, to you? Not at all. What do you think? Or how difficult is it going to be for you then, given that there is that sense of isolation and and sense of not able to to come out? How difficult is it going to be for you to get people to come and share their stories. It was interesting in putting together this proposal, Um, for a mental health media grant. I [00:02:30] was aware of, at least, you know, maybe five or six kind of close friends that had issues. And I thought, Gosh, well, you know, if I know five or six people, it's it. It is gonna be quite a large number of people out in the community. Um, on the first day of putting out a press release actually asking for participants, um, I got 10 people email me on one hand. Um, that that's great. On the other hand, it's kind of a bit depressing as well, because you think, gosh, it is quite widespread. But ultimately, it's very [00:03:00] positive because it means that those people want to share their stories. They want to help the community in some way. What's going to get produced, how these stories is going to be conveyed, how you're going to be the facilitator. Yeah, Well, digital stories are a really, uh, fascinating way of communicating a story or an idea. Uh, basically, a digital story is between about three and five minutes. It's a video piece. It's primarily driven by the participant. So, um, [00:03:30] I will work on a 1 to 1 basis with them and focus in on a particular aspect of a story. Then they write some narration. They we do do a wee bit of work shopping. So we write a bit of a script. Um, ideally, they would have had some other kind of creative output, be it, you know, kind of poetry, prose, writing, singing songs that that narration and speech stuff is into woven with maybe interview material. Um, and then visually, you know, with photographs [00:04:00] with, um, old photographs and new photographs and that basically forms the basis of of the digital story. And how is it going to be conveyed? What will be the different media that you can use to convey those stories? One of the really exciting things with this project is that the main output is going to be on the Internet. So the stories will be up, um, via YouTube so that basically anyone can look at the stories and that is great because not only do you [00:04:30] have a global audience, but also you could be reaching people that aren't necessarily comfortable talking with family and friends around them. Um, it's a very 1 to 1 personal experience rather than seeing something in a theatre. So, you know, we're probably gonna reach people that we wouldn't reach in other circumstances. Um, and then the other, um, way that these are being released is on, uh, DVD. And that will be available to counsellors and and support groups as well. So you're gonna [00:05:00] have to be almost a curator of stories as much as a facilitator, aren't you? Because people are gonna have to feel comfortable talking to you to start with. Absolutely. Um, I think the big thing is that relationship between, uh, me as the kind of facilitator producer and and the participant as well. And I think, you know, we're we're kind of working now on the kind of selection process. What kind of people are we wanting to participate and who wants to participate? Um, there There's quite a large number of kind of criteria [00:05:30] we're looking at to make sure that I I think both the participants safe and and that, um, the producer is safe as well that you're not re traumatising people. Um, that they're giving informed consent. They have to be aware that that what they're doing is actually sharing themselves publicly. That's why I I use the word curator because it's not like you're just simply gathering the stories and then saying, Right, they're out there Goodbye. It's like an exhibition of, of, of whatever that you actually are not only getting it to a point [00:06:00] where it can be exhibited, but you're then making sure that the way that it's exhibited from now on in is going to be something which honours and acknowledges the the person's experience or the people's experiences. I. I want to go through a process when we're actually creating these where, you know the participants have to be happy all the way through. And that's why at the very onset of the process, um, they need to be fully aware of what they're actually doing is going to be very public. [00:06:30] And I suppose the challenge there is that someone might start off by saying this is OK. But in the process of telling this story, start to relive some of those those feelings and may be then not so sure that they want that story told you're gonna have to be, I guess, working with people right the way through and again. You know, I think the kind of preselection is going to be really important in identifying, you know, how close to events are the participants or potential participants, [00:07:00] you know? Are they still feeling kind of really angry or hurt or or whatever? Um, I suppose digital stories are very much about reflection. So it's it's reflecting on an event and how you positively have dealt with that event. So yes, uh, certainly people in crisis. Um II. I certainly don't think this is appropriate for that. It's it's more reflecting back on an on an event, of course, suicide. There's a huge, um, a lot of talk [00:07:30] around how media represents that. That's something you're gonna have to obviously take into account, too. Yeah, And was that something that when you were putting the the project in, that that that was an issue in some ways of how that was going to be dealt with? Oh, yes. And, um, certainly the the the Mental Health Foundation were, um, very strong in me getting support from spins, which is, uh, suicide prevention information. New Zealand, who I have to say, both Spins and the Mental Health Foundation have been absolutely fantastic. Uh, in terms of offering advice, [00:08:00] guidance, um, that they've been great. What's the time frame? The time frame is that over the next 4 to 6 weeks, um, I'm seeking participants who who would be interested in in taking part. Um, then we'll go through a process with the Mental Health Foundation to select five people to take part in the digital stories and then from January next year. It's the production of those stories. [00:08:30] Um, and it should all be wrapped up by August. Uh, next year, one of the things that, um, I've come up against as well as you know, well say you have 20 people wanting to participate. Uh, and you've only got five digital stories. What do you do? How do you tell the other people that actually that they haven't been selected, So I need to think of ways in which we can actually widen the participation. Maybe not in digital stories, but some other form of actual contribution, because I think it's really important that [00:09:00] if people are saying I want to tell my story that. Actually, you allow that to happen in some way? Yes. Once you open those gates, it's, uh, not necessarily going to be something you want to close. No. And I mean, one of the things that we were talking about with, um, spins and the Mental Health Foundation. If we can structure this project as, uh, almost a pilot project and work through the process and work through how it all works effectively, then it could possibly lead on to to other things. Um, So my aim is [00:09:30] to try and structure in such a way that actually, at the end of the project, this could be taken up by somebody else and and they could do a similar thing.

This page features computer generated text of the source audio. It may contain errors or omissions, so always listen back to the original media to confirm content.

AI Text:September 2023