Born out of collaboration between Dr Sandy McBride, Consultant Dermatologist, and storyteller Sarah Sutcliffe, ‘Psoriasis – The Skin I’m In’ is an original film made in association with the See Psoriasis: Look Deeper campaign, which looks at the wider life impact of psoriasis including emotional well-being and mental health. The film tells real life stories of people living with psoriasis.
1.8 million people in the UK are living with psoriasis and yet a third of these people will never see a doctor about their psoriasis, and often do not even tell their friends and family that they have psoriasis. The psychological aspects of living with psoriasis are often poorly understood and underestimated. People living with psoriasis and their doctors are frequently unaware that there are effective treatments available for psoriasis, hence people suffer unnecessarily often for decades. Dr Sandy McBride and Sarah Sutcliffe wanted to address these problems.
When we hear stories, oxytocin is released in the brain, which is responsible for empathy. The release of oxytocin triggers memory, making stories up to 14 times more memorable than data. Dr Sandy McBride and Sarah Sutcliffe therefore chose to develop a project using storytelling to address the lack of knowledge and understanding surrounding psoriasis.
The script, live storytelling piece and ultimately this film, were developed from over 20 hours of interviews with people living with psoriasis. The film is based on these true experiences of men and women living with psoriasis who have told their own stories. Each narrative is told from the point of view of a person with psoriasis as they explain the ways the condition has affected them. These emotional stories are frequently poignant, sometimes comical, and invariably inspiring. This collaboration between art and science demonstrates the power of storytelling to communicate the unique perspectives of people living with psoriasis.
Using the stories of people living with psoriasis, Sarah Sutcliffe worked with award-winning novelist, storyteller, actor and film maker Danny Scheinmann to put together the script. The film was directed by Simon Baker and features original music composed and performed by Simon Edwards and Neyire Ashworth.
The film gives a meaningful insight into what it is like to live with psoriasis which is enlightening for those unfamiliar with it and refreshing for those who are - articulating emotions and frustrations that people with psoriasis experience everyday but which are rarely depicted on film or discussed.
The Live performance (from which the film has been developed) is currently touring the country and has met with hugely warm receptions from audiences, be they patients, family and friends of people with psoriasis, health professionals, or people with no previous experience of psoriasis. It has already changed the way people view the condition and its impact, with dermatologists reporting they have changed the way they practice due to what they've learnt from the performances
Particularly moving accounts from people with psoriasis, retold in the film, concern a visit to a swimming pool and a journey on a bus. We see from a different perspective how such simple things, which many of us do every day, can be completely transformed into a nightmare experience. People who have no experience of psoriasis will be shocked by what they see, while even those who have worked in dermatology for a long time are likely to have their perceptions challenged by the film.
We hope this project will enable people with psoriasis to feel less alone, encourage them to seek effective treatment and trigger friends and family to support their loved ones in seeking help. Medical professionals will be enlightened about their patients’ lives and moved to provide the treatment and support that they need.