Recovery Advocacy Documentary Action Research



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Recovery Advocacy Documentary Action Research (RADAR) is a collective of academics and film-makers creating short, anti-stigma and pro-recovery videos on topics surrounding mental health and mental illness. The collective includes academics Rob Whitley (McGill), Gavin Adamson (Ryerson) and Kathleen Sitter (Memorial) and videographers Robby Reis (Montreal), Derreck Roemer (Toronto) and Stephanie Young (Halifax). The project manager is currently Victoria Carmichael.

We received funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to make videos in three cities: (i) Montreal; (ii) Toronto and (iii) Halifax. For all our videos, we utilize the method of participatory video, which is a revolutionary new approach where marginalized people collaborate to make locally grounded videos about issues and topics affecting them. This current project involves training people with mental illness in scripting, filming and editing videos so they have complete control over form and content. In making these videos, we aim to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and enlighten people about the realities of living with mental illness.

We have produced a total of 25 films on topics such as stigma, recovery, social exclusion and community integration. We have held organized screenings of the films, followed by a panel discussion at various locations across Canada including McGill, Ryerson and Dalhousie University, Halifax Public Library, the Jewish General Hospital, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and the Bluenose-Ability Film Festival. All our videos can be seen on our YouTube channel recoverymentalhealth 

We are currently assessing impact on the mental health of people who participate on the project, as well as impact on viewers. If the project proves successful, we will create a toolkit that can be used by people with mental illness elsewhere to implement similar projects.