Bizarre or trending subjects? Catch a break with our curiosity of the week. Anxiety attacks, depression schizophrenia… Mental illnesses do exist, and the collective Crowns & Owls decided to break down the taboos surrounding it. With Within, they released a powerful awareness campaign that will give you chills.

According to a study directed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), in 2020, more than 1 in 5 persons will be suffering from a mental illness (Bipolar or eating disorder, schizophrenia, OCD or burn-outs). Yet, mental health (“a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”, still according to WHO) is a vital component of health. While the term is quite recent, the numbers are alarming. Today, in France, 12,8% of the population has suffered from anxiety disorders and 4,3% from phobias.

The Crowns and Owls collective took on this universal, yet lesser known subject, and produced Within, a three-minute film. “We are not specialists of mental health, but this theme had unconsciously guided our previous productions”, they explain. “All three of us have been confronted to anxiety disorders and depression. Yet, we’ve never talked about it together. If three best friends, spending their days together never mentioned those problems, then hundreds of thousands of persons in the UK may be acting like us… We chose to put ourselves in a miserable position in the hope of sparking a debate around this topic”. The trio decided to shed light on this issue, and gave the short film to Mind, a British association specialising in mental health. This ad also became a book, whose profits were donated to the association.

Using shock to raise awareness

For three minutes, a man, naked and vulnerable moves in a dark and frightening environment. “He is trying to make his way through a brutal and ruthless environment”, the trio tells us. We can see him trying to climb a mountain, panicking and then doubting himself. “But I don’t think I have the energy to do this journey (…) Sometimes I feel like I’m out of it, I’m getting better… But then I just get dragged back in”, the character explains, as he wanders around. No need to appreciate poetry to understand the metaphor. The goal is quite clear: using shock to raise awareness. “Am I not man enough to take control of my own life?” he questions, and so do we. Because this man would be your colleague, your neighbour, you… or every one for that matter. A powerful campaign celebrating mental health and raising public awareness.

© Crowns & Owls