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MediCinema: Going to the cinema improves Mental Health of NHS Patients

Not for the first time at Critical Popcorn, we had to highlight the tremendous work that MediCinema do and with everything opening up again, it feels like the right time to share this very real story, and also how you can help – if you can!

We all know we love a cinema escape but MediCinema do something specifically special and research* undertaken by them, over previous years when everything was more accessible, has revealed that a visit to one of its in-hospital cinemas has a significant positive effect on the mental health of those going to see a film. The effect of the shared experience of film improves feeling of wellbeing, reduces isolation, and gives people a sense of normality:

  • 93% said a visit to the MediCinema reduced isolation
  • 92% said a visit to the MediCinema reduced anxiety and stress
  • 92% said a visit to the MediCinema improves wellbeing
  • 96% gives people in hospital a sense of normality
  • 82% said a visit to the MediCinema helped them connect with others

If you didn’t know much about them yet MediCinema is a charity which improves the wellbeing and quality of life of NHS patients and their families through the power of the shared cinema experience and the magic of film. It builds and runs cinemas in hospitals equipped with space for beds, wheelchairs, and medical equipment. Its services help to improve emotional, mental, and physical health, reducing feelings of isolation, anxiety, and stress, and increasing
patient resilience.

You might have seen their adverts at Vue Cinema, I know I have, and when you purchase a ticket at my local Vue, you can also donate to the charity – which is just a small amount that goes to a big cause. Although we’re only just getting back to the cinema collectively, thankfully the charity have been running some socially-distanced screenings again from August 2020 and throughout this last lockdown – the only cinemas to be operating throughout, and for all the right reasons.

At the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle, the MediCinema continued to run screenings throughout
the serious Winter wave of COVID-19 and the third lockdown. Helga Charters, Associate Director of Children and Young People at the hospital had this to say:

“Having the MediCinema open for screenings at the RVI has been a really important part of care and
therapeutic wellbeing for our patients. I can see the immediate beneficial effect it has on our patients’ mental
health having had the opportunity to leave the ward, immerse themselves in a film, meet other people and be
stimulated by something other than the hospital environment.

During COVID it has been even more important in light of strict visitor restrictions and the increased anxiety
and isolation this can have. I’ve seen the smiles and lift in moods visiting the MediCinema has had on patients
and that stays with them when they go back to the wards.”

Kat Mason, MediCinema Chief Executive added:

“Over this past year we have all felt the isolating effects of staying at home and not seeing friends and family. We are all raring to get back to the cinema and to share a movie on the big screen with our loved ones, and this is no different whether you are in hospital or reconnecting as lockdown relaxes. Many patients who visit our cinemas to watch a film are clear about its effect on their mental health and wellbeing, having to spend so much time isolated on the wards, especially over the past year. The power of cinema – sharing a film in the company of others – is very real.”

Since MediCinema was founded in 1999 it has given nearly 200,000 cinema experiences to patients, their families, carers and those closest to them. They have cinemas in the following: Guy’s, St Thomas’ and Chelsea and Westminster Hospitals in London, Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow and Serennu Children’s Centre in Newport, South Wales.

Here’s more: https://www.medicinema.org.uk/

*This research was carried out from Summer 2017-Winter 2019, across five MediCinema sites with 1229 people

One thought on “MediCinema: Going to the cinema improves Mental Health of NHS Patients

  1. Pingback: Review: Exclusive #Loki Screening at TATE Modern, London | critical popcorn

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