This study explored a creative approach to knowledge translation by using animated film to translate narratives of refugees and mental health into accessible material aimed at enhancing empathy and understanding.


The research project focuses on the use of short animated films in series one and two of the Woven Threads catalogue. Series one shared moments of hope in a refugee’s journey, whilst series two focused on people living with mental health challenges.


This research was designed to understand the responses to viewing for people who watch these animations. A mixed-method design was used via an online Qualtrics platform that asked respondents to view two short animated films, one from the refugee series and one from the mental health series.


364 members of the general public viewed and responded to the refugee film and 275 responded to the mental health film. The platform collected both quantitative and qualitative data. Survey responses indicated that the majority of viewers found the films challenged public misconceptions about refugees and individuals with mental health challenges and left them with a feeling of hopefulness.


Qualitative narratives were organised into one superordinate theme: the power of film as a knowledge translation strategy, with four subthemes: (i) changing perceptions and inspiring empathy, (ii) enhancing literacy, (iii) highlighting the power of storytelling, and (iv) encouraging hope and a sense of belonging.


The use of short animated film as a knowledge translation strategy can enhance our understanding, promote deep reflection, increase empathy and has the potential to lead to social change.

Black Dog Institute, Sydney 2034, Australia
Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2034, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 202219(18), 11468;
Received: 23 July 2022 / Revised: 9 September 2022 / Accepted: 9 September 2022 / Published: 12 September 2022
(This article belongs to the Section Mental Health)
Boydell KM, Croguennec J. A Creative Approach to Knowledge Translation: The Use of Short Animated Film to Share Stories of Refugees and Mental Health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(18):11468.
Post by Ian Thomson