Intinn Programme Tackles Mental Health and Wellbeing in Schools

Cork International Film Festival delivers third edition of Intinn, its unique film and mental health programme for Transition Year and Senior Cycle students, online directly to classrooms nationwide

I Used to Live Here (Director: Frank Berry)

  • Since its pilot in Cork on World Suicide Prevention Day 2019, Intinn has engaged over 4,500 students throughout Ireland in exploring mental health and wellbeing through the accessible medium of film
  • Intinn has been developed and expanded to a national roll out online, and in 2021 includes a unique UCC Research Study on the impacts of the programme on students’ and teachers’ attitudes to mental health

Cork International Film Festival has partnered with UCC’s School of Nursing and Midwifery to develop and expand its acclaimed youth film and mental health programme, Intinn. The programme, which has just been delivered to over 600 students in 10 schools nationwide, now includes a Research Study by UCC on the impacts of this intervention on attitudes to mental health and wellbeing of students and teachers. 

Intinn is a three-part film-based mental health workshop that includes a screening of the award-winning Irish film, I Used to Live Here, a Q&A exclusively recorded for the programme, a wellbeing seminar and classroom resources to facilitate a discussion with students and teachers. The aim of the programme is to encourage greater awareness of mental health and wellbeing issues and support for young people, to stimulate conversation in the classroom and between peers, and to provide strategies for resilience. The spring 2021 edition is the third iteration of Intinn, delivered for free to a further 628 students across Cork, Dublin, Sligo and Kerry in April and May this year.

Fiona Clark, Festival Director and CEO of Cork International Film Festival, said:We developed Intinn in 2019 as a way of exploring mental health and wellbeing with TY and Senior Cycle students through the medium of film. Following its success and expansion to reach 4,000 young people nationwide last year, and with over 600 new students taking part in this spring edition, we now have an extraordinary opportunity to fully assess the impact of this programme through a significant Research Study conducted by our partners UCC. We look forward to seeing the findings which will give a real insight into the impact of this flagship education programme and how film can be an accessible medium through which young people can explore mental health issues. Our thanks to UCC, ESB Energy for Generations Fund, Creative Ireland, and Rethink Ireland for their valued support in developing this important initiative.”

Maria Wright, Programmes Coordinator at CBS Synge Street, Dublin 8 and whose students participated in the 2021 programme, said: “Relatable, authentic, contemporary – Intinn’s programme really spoke to the students and created a space where they felt comfortable having an open discussion about mental health needs that apply to their age group. If this programme runs again we will definitely be looking to run it with our students.” 

Student participants from this year’s programme reported that it equipped them with the skills and knowledge to look after their own mental health, in addition to providing them with the confidence to reach out to others: “I found it very beneficial as I learnt lots about mental health and asking for help when your [sic] struggling.” Participants acknowledged that Intinn was an important programme in which to take part, saying: “It was a very relatable topic to people our age” and commented on the invaluable knowledge they received about mental health: “It was a great way to learn about these issues that are in our society.”

Intinn, meaning ‘mind’ or ‘way of thinking’, is led by youth mental health specialists. The programme includes a screening of director Frank Berry’s I Used to Live Here, which was specially selected for Intinn and was researched with Jigsaw, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health. This film follows the story of Amy Keane, a 13-year-old who is trying to cope with the death of her mother and the loss of young people in her local community through suicide. The Intinn film, discussion and webinar programme covers a range of topics around mental health, including well-being, connecting with family and friends, bullying, suicide, stress and strategies for resilience.

This year’s edition of Intinn has provided a unique opportunity to gather essential research on the impacts of this flagship education programme on TY and Senior Cycle students and their teachers, the results of which will contribute to a Report by UCC School of Nursing and Midwifery. The findings from the study, led by Dr. Johnny Goodwin, will also be presented in research journals and at academic conferences leading, it is hoped, to greater awareness of mental health and wellbeing issues and support for young people, as well as guiding the further development of the Intinn programme for and with young people. Cork International Film Festival’s Intinn programme forms part of a wider academic partnership with UCC, which includes direct engagement between the Festival and the Department of Film and Screen Media, and the development of the CIFF Digital Archive with the Department of Digital Humanities. Professor Josephine Hegarty, UCC School of Nursing and Midwifery, commented: “The success of Intinn is a wonderful endorsement of the value of the academic partnership between UCC and CIFF. The School of Nursing and Midwifery is one of the top performing areas of UCC and it is innovative partnerships like this that help to ensure that evidence-based approaches to mental health and wellbeing are translated into real world interventions with students.”

Intinn is delivered free of charge and has been supported by funding partners Creative Ireland, Rethink Ireland and ESB Energy for Generations Fund. The unique programme has also been recognised by Business to Arts as an outstanding example of arts organisations and businesses working together in areas such as community engagement, sponsorship, and CSR initiatives. Cork International Film Festival was shortlisted in the 2021 Business to Arts Awards for its two film and mental health strands, Intinn and Illuminate. ESB Energy for Generations Fund and Cork International Film Festival were also nominated in the Best Small Sponsorship and Best Use of Creativity in the Community, supported by Irish Life categories along with partners Creative Ireland, Rethink Ireland and UCC School of Nursing and Midwifery.