( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Ashley Rae Harper Releases Her First Film Educating About Teenage Mental Health
ENSPIRE Contributor: Cailin Tennis
Ashley Rae Harper is a multi-talented individual who has released her first film as a producer and director, titled “Red”. This short film addresses the sensitive topics of teenage depression and suicide, shedding light on the painful struggles that young people face in today’s society. “Red” is an inspiring film that is effective in promoting teenage mental health awareness, and was screened on June 24th in Charlotte, NC.
Teens are struggling with mental health more than ever. Isolation, depression, and suicide ideation are all threats to our youth, and Ashley is helping counter these threats with her advocacy. This film allows teens to feel related to and know that they are not alone. Parents and loved ones can get an inside view into what it’s like being a teen today, and how they can help those who are struggling.
Ashley started out in the film-making industry at age 14. She’s now 21, and after a few years of experience, she knows the industry is exciting, but it also has its difficulties. She says, “I’ve gained so much experience and knowledge from so many different people and I’m grateful for them.” This shows how important connection and a supportive environment are important during any stage of life.
Ashley’s own personal experiences inspired her to create this film. Her aim is to enable more people to understand that mental health is real and that people need help even if they don’t want to share their struggles right away. Often, discussing mental health can be a scary and sensitive topic, which is why removing the surrounding stigma is so vital. Once open, educated conversations are underway, healing can begin.
For those wondering how to help a friend or family member struggling with mental health, Ashley comments on some strategies. She encourages people to understand some reasons teenage mental health might be worsened, and these include puberty, family, relationships, and school. She elaborates that, “Friends and family can support teenagers by offering them advice and getting help and not judging them for what they are experiencing.”
This meaningful film demonstrates Ashley’s incredible talent, as well as her desire to give back to the community through mental health education. For her next projects, she hopes to continue making impactful films that share other people’s unique experiences. Ashley was even featured discussing her newest acting role in the film “All We’ve Got,” an interview which you can watch below.