World Psoriasis Day: Film celebrates patient poetry

A moving poem written by a person with psoriasis has been turned into a film by Manchester’s Psoriasis Shout Out® initiative, to raise awareness of the inflammatory skin condition on World Psoriasis Day (29 October).

Although psoriasis affects more than 2 million people in the UK, few people talk publicly about having the condition as it can be considered embarrassing and unsightly.

The Psoriasis Shout Out® is a unique public engagement initiative organised by The University of Manchester and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust which aims to get people talking about psoriasis, and to bring patients together with professionals working in the field of psoriasis management and research.

Led by Professor Chris Griffiths from the Manchester Centre for Dermatology Research, the Psoriasis Shout Out® launched in April 2014 with a week-long festival of activities.

A highlight of the week was a unique spoken-word event, where both professional and novice poets showcased poems they had written about living with a visible skin condition or their experiences of feeling different.

This collection of poems has now been brought to life, with the first of a series of films scheduled for release on 29 October to mark World Psoriasis Day, an annual event dedicated to people living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

The films are available here

The poem, entitled ‘Sometimes it gets me down’ was written by psoriasis patient, Russ Cowper (pictured) who was also involved in making his poem into the film.

Russ,  50, said: “Psoriasis is such a hidden affliction that anything that raises awareness is fantastic. I am quite humbled that my poem was so appreciated, and for it to be made into a film is an extraordinary accolade!

“If my efforts make one person feel better about themselves I will consider it an enormous success.”

The films have been produced by Manchester based company 2btv and were chosen following consultation with psoriasis patients. There are six films in production in total. Russ’s film and another called ‘Untouchable’, penned by poet Keith Hutson as a dedication to a close friend, are the first two to be released.

Professor Chris Griffiths leads the Psoriasis Shout Out®. He said: “The effects of psoriasis go far beyond the physical.  Whilst this project was about people such as Russ being able to express the emotional impact of psoriasis in their own words it also facilitates an awareness by the general public of the immense psychosocial effects of the disease.”