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Shalhavit-Simcha Cohen

On a cold day in February, I posted a special invitation on a Facebook group. I asked if anyone was willing to share the advice that they give themselves when they are having a bad day. My goal was to create a short film that would reach people and highlight that we all have bad days and experience difficulties.

Those who came forward and shared their advice all wanted to with the hope that it would encourage others to think about their mental health and that it would be a step towards breaking down any stigma that still surrounds mental health difficulties.

‘IS IT OKAY TO HAVE A BAD DAY’ is the title of the short film-music-video. It’s a project that lies between Cognitive Science and Film. It was created with and for young adults, aiming to share mental health coping skills.

The words to the song in the film are based on lectures given by Tal Ben Shahar, at his Health Psychology course at Harvard University. It focuses on what he calls ‘giving ourselves the permission to be human’.

When creating the film, I hadn’t prepared myself for a powerful moment which occurred when I decided to include myself. I found an old video on my phone of me crying. As I scrolled over the clip segment I noticed lip movement and decided to listen. The clip showed me saying ‘all he says is I don't know’ as a tear rolled down my cheek. My hand started shaking as it suddenly hit me: this video was taken a year previously, in the hospital visiting my fiancé - a month before I lost him. At the time, I remember, the experience was so unbearable that all I could do was focus on supporting the family. Now watching it back a shocking warm wave of self-empathy came over me. I suddenly saw myself amongst all the others in the video. Now, one year later, I was able to finally look at myself amongst those sharing their own advice.

Being part of the film encouraged me to accept my own difficulties, allowing myself that part of being human.

Creating this video has allowed me to be with, learn from, and create extraordinary moments and insights about other people’s coping skills. And surprisingly I also got to reach into myself. I hope this experience will encourage me to be more kind to myself. I also hope it reaches other hearts.

The full length music video documentary (8 minutes) can be watched online here - https://youtu.be/18EqjbpbG4A

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