My name is Leo Burley and I am a documentary film-maker born, and still living in, North London. I began my career making films about British art and artists and still have a strong connection to the visual arts. I’ve also made several films which have explored mental health, most recently the Bafta-nominated BBC documentary Life After Suicide which won best TV programme at the 2015 Mind Media Awards.
I am therefore hugely supportive of Studio Upstairs, a grassroots charity that for 30 years has been supporting people with mental health difficulties to explore their own creativity through art therapy and creative projects. Their work is crucial in helping some of the most vulnerable people in our society become empowered through making art.
Their studios in Dalston, Croydon and Bristol provide a safe and calm space where people can develop as artists in their own right and challenge mental health stigma. I cannot emphasise enough the significance of giving individuals access to mutually supportive group environments and the difference that creative opportunities can make in improving people’s long-term mental health.