IFI & First Fortnight highlight mental health this January

For the last ten years First Fortnight have used the beginning of the year as an opportunity to put a focus on mental health. At what can be the most challenging time of the year, they challenge mental health prejudice through arts and cultural action. This year’s anniversary edition of the festival will revisit the past, looking at the changes across the artistic and mental health landscape of Ireland- while also exploring the future and asking how to collectively continue to push social and creative boundaries.

As part of their efforts, recent years have seen collaboration between First Fortnight and the Irish Film Institute. In January 2021, the IFI will once again partner with First Fortnight to present a selection of films on the topic of mental health.


These screenings are just one of several cultural events taking place in early 2021 aiming to maintain a consistent space in the national cultural calendar where citizens can be inspired through arts and cultural events to talk about mental health issues, challenge perceptions, provide free Creative Therapies to those who need it and more.

This year, the IFI@Home online platform will offer three feature films focused on the subject of mental health. The selection for this January includes Orlando von Einsiedel’s Evelyn; Julie Rohart’s Under the Skin; and Daniel Holmes’s inspiring Irish film Street Leagues, a documentary about a team of homeless footballers who travel to represent Ireland at the Homeless World Cup. Panel discussions will take place after each online screening.

Evelyn is set to become available on the online platform this Sunday, 3rd January from 7pm. (Please note that due to rights restrictions, all viewings must be complete by 10pm that same evening). This documentary comes from the Oscar-winning filmmakers of The White Helmets and Virunga. Fourteen years after the suicide of their son and brother, Evelyn and her family decide to walk the length of the UK and try to talk about him – something they had failed to do in over a decade. The IFI describe this film as exploring the fabric of grief and the longevity of love.

Released earlier this year, Street Leagues will be available on Monday, 11th January. The Irish Homeless Street Leagues take a unique approach to helping homeless people and recovering addicts reclaim their lives by using the power of sport. The film follows a group of players as they rise from their daily struggles to compete on the world stage in the Homeless World Cup, finding self-worth & a sense of purpose along the way. Featuring contributions from actor Colin Farrell (the ambassador for the team), the film showcases the dramatic ripple effect that is possible within any society when its marginalized members are empowered to fulfil their true potential.

Under the Skin is presented also in association with BeLong To and TENI. The film will be available from Thursday 14th January. Filmed over two years, this documentary follows three transgender teenagers – Soän, Effie Alexandra and Logan – in the midst of their transition. Sensitive and powerful, Under the Skin explores the challenges faced by these teens, and the strength and courage it takes to be themselves.

The films are available to rent in advance of their due screenings now at IFI@Home. Each cost €7.50.

We are all living through tough times, a need for further supports and a lack of access to a lot of things, from sitting in the cinema to much more important needs, that allow us outlets, alleviation, understanding and escape. For those who need to hear it, there are people to speak to and help to reach out for. (Contacts below courtesy of First Fortnight)

Name Phone Number/s
Samaritans 116 123
GROW 1890 474 474
CARI 1890 924 567 (Mon-Fri, 9:30-5:30pm)
Childline 1800 666 666 (Free Text 50101)
Gardai, Fire Brigade, Ambulance 999 or 112
National Poison Centre +353 (1) 809 2166. (8.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. 7 days a week)
Mind and Body Works Dublin (01) 677 1021, Galway (091) 725 750
Helplink provide free/low cost online counselling and therapy 7 days a week including free counselling for people laid off by crisis, people with addictions, people returning home and the Irish stuck or living abroad. 0818 99 88 80
Alcoholic Anonymous 01 842 0700
Al – Anon 01 873 2699
National Drugs Helpline 1800 459 459 (Mon – Fri, 9:30am – 5:30pm)
Bodywhys 01- 210 7906 (Monday, Wednesday & Sunday 7:30 – 9:30 PM and Saturday 10:30 – 12:30 PM)
Aware 1800 804 848 (7 days a week from 10 AM – 10 PM)
Jigsaw 1800 544 729 (For young people aged 12-25)
MyMind 076 680 1060
Pieta 1800 247 247 or text HELP to 51444
St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services 01- 249 3333 Support and Information Line from Monday – Friday, 9 AM – 5 PM.
The Traveller Counselling Service 01- 868 5761 or 086 3081476
Shine 01 541 3715
50808 is a first of its kind for Ireland: a free 24/7 text service, providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support for people going through a mental health or emotional crisis – big or small. Text 50808
HSE Live 1850 241 850
National Rape Crisis Helpline 1800 778 888 (24 Hours)
Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900 (24 Hours)
Men’s Aid Ireland 01 554 3811
Gay Switchboard Ireland 01 872 1055
Exchange House Ireland National Traveller Mental Health Service 01 872 1094
The Irish Advocacy Network 01- 445 2350 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm
Suicide or Survive 1890 577 577
Teenline 1800 833 634
Crime Victims Helpline 116006
Minding Creative Minds 1800 814 244
Parentline 1890 927 277
Gamblers Anonymous 087 748 5878
Narcotics Anonymous 01 6728000
Citizens Information 0761 07 4000
One In Four 01 662 4070
FLAC (Legal aid) 1890 350 250
MABS 0761 07 2000
Focus Ireland https://www.focusireland.ie/i-need-help/
TENI Gender Identity Family Support Line 01 907 3707
BeLonG To 01 670 6223 (Monday-Friday from 9am-1pm & 2pm-5pm)


About Luke Dunne

Luke is a writer, film addict and Dublin native who loves how much there is for film fans in his home county. A former writer for FilmFixx and the Freakin' Awesome Network, he founded Film In Dublin to pursue his dual dreams of writing about film and never sleeping ever again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *