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Woven Threads is an 8 x 4-minute series which through beautiful and powerful animations presents varied and moving stories of people living with mental health challenges. The colourful and intricate tapestry of Woven Threads reminds us that regardless of creed or colour we all belong to the same human family.
Series 2 (Mental Health) features eight stories about mental health and recovery.
SERIES 2 – MENTAL HEALTH
EPISODE ONE: OLIVE
Olive is sixteen, she lives with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD), Major Depressive Disorder, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Anxiety.
At the age of nine, Olive began to have negative thoughts but she managed to hide them from everyone until she was eleven and a half, the first year of high school. After much school refusal, multiple psychologists, and several schools Olive had to be admitted to a youth mental health unit for six weeks.
Watch her as she tells her story, her challenges and how she grows from her experiences, not always smoothly but always forward.
Since making this film, Olive has had several difficult periods but she is still growing in her self-knowledge and learning new techniques for coping with her extremely challenging life.
EPISODE TWO: PETER
Pete grew up on a farm, north western New South Wales. His father was a farmer and all he ever wanted to do was follow his dad around and be a farmer too.
After school Pete went to another farm and learnt about sheep, he bought this knowledge back to his dad and they started to raise sheep as well. Pete's dad got sick while he was still young, and this bought him home to the family farm sooner than expected. He had learnt a lot about managing the property from his dad and other farmers, but he hadn't learnt about the stress that came with the longest drought in history.
Pete struggled to sleep, he was short with his wife and couldn't make decision. The mountain started to get too high, he didn't know if he would ever get over it. Pete realised that there was help and that doctors don't only fix broken arms, he realised you need to talk about things.
EPISODE THREE: JETT
Jett is nineteen, he suffered from extreme bullying, which led to severe anxiety, depression and resulted in Anorexia Nervosa.
When Jett was in primary school the bullying started because of the friends he had, mostly girls and his interest in performance and dance. The bullying continued as he moved onto high school.
When he was thirteen, something felt wrong to Jett about the bullying, he knew they were only words, and they shouldn't hurt but they did. He realised he was gay, and he was being bullied for who he was.
Jett shares his story with us, as he navigates depression and anxiety that lead him to Anorexia Nervosa and finally working towards his goals to be a director in the film industry.
EPISODE FOUR: EMMA
Emma was adopted at six weeks old; she always knew this. Emma spent her first five weeks of life in care and was never held by her birth mother.
When Emma was three her family adopted another baby girl, as kids they were inseparable but as they grew older they started to see the world differently.
Emma lacked a sense of self and developed disordered eating as a way of coping with that and the world around her.
Emma shares how she navigated the emptiness she felt, her depression, abusive relationships and trauma. Emma is now a Peer Worker, Peer supervisor and Trainer in mental health. Emma explains how seeing her life through the lens of trauma changed life completely.
EPISODE FIVE: KEENAN
Keenan lost his parents as a young child and was separated from his brothers. He was moved from his home in Redfern to the suburbs of southern Sydney.
At the age of thirteen he went to find his brother who had returned to Redfern against the wishes of his carers. From then on Keenan lived on the streets learning how to survive from his cousins.
Keenan started committing crimes, became addicted to drugs and eventually went into juvenile detention followed by jail at the age of eighteen.
Keenan shares his story with such generosity and uses his experiences to help others. Keenan and his wife Carly are co-founders of Deadly Connections an organisation helping indigenous and non-indigenous people struggling to overcome the challenges of their lives.
EPISODE SIX: HANNAH
Hannah is young woman full of life, enthusiasm and a smile that is infectious. If you met her on the street you would never guess the challenges she has faced in her young life.
During this episode Hannah shares some of her journey with us. The frightening realisation that she had an eating disorder, the courage with which she immediately faced it and the years that followed until she hit rock bottom.
Hannah is not lacking in courage, she trained and completed the Kokoda Trail as a teenager whilst struggling with bulimia, completed high school and fashion college and unsurprisingly, it was Hannah who found the retreat which was the beginning of her recovery.
Hannah shares her story with courage and honesty. She works for an organisation called endED, which helps people living with eating disorders.
EPISODE SEVEN: OSHER
Osher Günsberg is a well-known television personality who has generously shared his experiences of living with challenging mental health issues.
When Osher was young, he ate as a way of coping with his discomfort—'eating helped me get rid of that uncomfortable feeling'. His dysregulated eating led to many years of being overweight, eventually Osher turned to exercise to help his mind and is now a healthy weight.
Osher was in New York at the time of the 9/11 attacks but was only diagnosed with his first mental health condition, PTSD, on his return to Australia. In the years that followed, Osher faced many other mental health challenges. Now, he has become very active within the mental health community and has most generously and valuably shared his story in the hope that by shining a light on these issues, more open and understanding conversations will ensue.
EPISODE EIGHT: RACHAEL
Today when Rachael enters a room, she lights it up with her dynamism but for eight years she lived in an abusive relationship. She was ready to move on with her life, when she found out that she was pregnant with twins.
Rachael eventually did leave, and she founded The Lokahi Foundation, an organisation specifically established to support people in domestic violent relationships, because she was able to make the final break from her ex-husband and find safety and support thanks to the care and help of her case worker at a domestic violence support centre.
Rachael believes that sharing her experiences will give us greater insight into the challenges faced by people in her situation. Though sharing her journey is traumatic and painful, she does it to encourage and give hope to others living in domestic violent relationships.
ATOM STUDY GUIDE
ATOM has also produced a study guide for Woven Threads. This study guide is available to download here.