Storying Sheffield

Narrative Masterclass Award

This is a press release issued by SHSCFT

Film about unique Sheffield project runner up in national awards

A film about a unique Narrative Masterclass with long term mental health service users and medical students was a runner up at the recent Haelo Awards. The Haelo Film Awards showcase outstanding, original and DIY public sector films from across the UK.

The Narrative Masterclass is part of the undergraduate medical education course at Sheffield University and is run in association with Storying Sheffield. Participants explore aspects of their own personal narrative using storying methods and research the principles behind a recovery approach to care. Storying techniques support users through varied creative processes to see the person beyond the illness, and help the indivdiual rediscover a sense of identity and reconnect to the world around them. The sessions are designed and led by Chrissy Bonham and professional artist Kay Aitch, both of whom live with long-term mental health conditions.

Brendan Stone, Deputy Vice-President for Education and Director of Storying Sheffield (UoS) and Co-Chair of the Service User Engagement Group (SHSC), said : “Storytelling plays a huge part in our lives, whether we realise it or not. The Narrative Masterclass brings together people with lived experience of mental health difficulties and medical students to explore how we can use the power of story to understand the contexts in which our distress happens, resist the negative portrayals of the self which we all have, and create a new story which is comfortable for us to live within.”

Chrissy Bonham of Storying Sheffield and freelance psycho-educator for SHSC, said: “I am passionate about improving the understanding between service users and clinicians about how the experience of mental distress impacts on the self and both inhibits and supports recovery. The feedback we receive from both service users and medical students has always been extremely positive and you can see this reflected in the film. Storying is an effective and powerful way of promoting understanding between individuals and groups. I am proud not only to be part of the project but prouder still to be working with SHSC to pioneer the use of Storying courses in frontline services as we have in the Community Recovery Service. I am now looking forward to developing this into new areas in the future.”

Dr Helen Crimlisk, Deputy Medical Director and Director of Undergraduate Psychiatry (SHSC) said: “Medical students learn how to take a patient ‘history’ but narrative inquiry goes beyond this and helps the doctors of tomorrow take a whole person approach to treatment and care. At SHSC we proudly put service users and carers at the heart of everything we do and I am delighted that we are able to offer this in our medical undergraduate curriculum.”

This is a collaborative project between the University of Sheffield (UoS) and Sheffield Health & Social Care NHS Foundation Trust (SHSC). Dr Gaelle Slater, Consultant Psychiatrist (SHSC) helped facilitate the class and organised the filming and the funding. The Narrative Masterclass was filmed by Ithica Films and funded by a small grant from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Watch the film here: