Publish date: 9 March 2023

Last week, a Trust-backed short film was taken on a roadshow across the country.

The Nexus short film drama, which explores the impact of Covid-19 on young people's mental health, was shown at cinemas and venues in Birmingham, Manchester and Middlesbrough as part of Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

The film was made as part of a collaboration between West London NHS Trust, Inner Eye Productions and Imperial College London, with funding from the Burdett Trust for Nursing.

It follows 17-year-old Matt who like many of us had his life turned upside down by the pandemic and lockdown.

Shut away from his friends, his existing eating disorder, bulimia, worsens and due to digital poverty Matt finds himself becoming more and more isolated and unwell.

The film was co-produced with young people and based on research from Dr Lindsay Dewa, Advanced Research Fellow at Imperial College London.

The cases of eating disorders among young people during the pandemic increased significantly, prompting the government to invest an extra £79 million into mental health services to cater for 2000 extra children to start eating disorder treatment.

It's for this reason the story reflects a teenage boy struggling with bulimia. One of the main findings of the research was that the best coping mechanism for young people was each other.

As part of the roadshow, audiences were given the chance to quiz Dr Lindsay Dewa, Chris Godwin (the film's director), and the team of young people who helped co-produce the film.

It led to some insightful and fascinating discussions around eating disorders, the importance of hearing young people's voices, and ways of making research more accessible.

The week culminated with the online premiere of Nexus on the Imperial College London YouTube account which boasts more than 200,000 subscribers.

Over 100 people watched the film over the course of the week and there was a positive reaction and engagement during the live Q and A over Zoom afterwards.

It's been fantastic taking Nexus across the country following our in-person premiere at the BFI Stephen Street. We have been so pleased to do this together with the fantastic young people who helped co-produce our film. We have received such positive feedback about the film and co-production process from our discussions with the public. It's been an exciting journey so far!"

Chris Godwin, Director of Inner Eye Productions, said: "The input from the young people has been amazing, they've spoken with confidence and insight. Also, the enthusiasm the project has received has been nothing short of overwhelming. There have been lots of questions about the future of the project and I'm pleased to say this isn't the last you've heard about Nexus."

The film is now available to watch for free on Imperial College London's YouTube account. 

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