Young journalists aged 13 to 17 start filming on world’s first student-led mental health documentary

By Samara Siviter, 16

Filming has started on the world’s first student-led mental health documentary, ‘Our Silent Pandemic’.

The hour-long documentary on the mental health crisis among young people is being produced by The Digital Ladder, in partnership with The Priory Learning Trust, Jill Dando News Centre, Good News Post and In Charley’s Memory. 

Young reporters from Jill Dando News, including the host Dawson Panter-Wray, 14, met at Priory Community School Academy, in Weston Super Mare, Somerset for the first day of filming.

More interviews for the investigation will take place over the next few weeks.

Dawn Carey of In Charley’s Memory said: “The students were magnificent. This is a journey to find out what the problems are, and what the Government, agencies and others can do to help.”

The documentary comes on the back of brain tumour survivor, Lyra Coles, aged 7, releasing a Toy Story song worldwide over Easter to raise money and awareness of In Charley’s Memory. 

In Charley’s Memory was given its official charity status in March 2015 and since then has gone on to aid countless numbers of people as numbers needing their services rocketed. 

In recent years ICM has been helping hundreds of young people in Burnham and Highbridge, Weston-super-Mare and Bridgwater.

One of the team, Olivia, 16, said: “Mental health has become the massive issue of our day. Covid19 has accelerated what was already a crisis.”

Dawn added: “There is no doubt that this mental health crisis across the country is the new silent pandemic. 

“It is getting worse by the day and more urgent action is needed by the government in so many ways.”

ICM has worked with The King Alfred School Academy for many years since the tragic death of former student Charley after battling mental health issues. It is now helping many more schools across the county.