Mountains & Mental Health Wards - Getting Creative with Betsi Cadwaladr's New Campaign

Just R's video lead, Ben, talks us through our new creative mental health campaign with Betsi Cadwaladr.


As my workmate Sam made small circles on the table with his glass in a drafty corner of a Chester pub, we contemplated our next project. Whilst filming in hospitals is nothing short of exciting, we were desperate to start pushing creative boundaries. We wanted to get out of the wards and into the world; using our cameras to create images and tell stories that would grab the attention of NHS job seekers.

The next chapter in Just R’s long standing relationship with the North Wales health board, Betsi Cadwaladr, was a recruitment campaign for their Mental Health & Learning Disability division. In an area of the country that contains the Snowdonia National Park, the outdoors was a source of untapped potential to attract candidates to the trust and make them want to live and work in the area.

“It would be pretty cool if we filmed someone climbing a mountain.”

“Someone from the trust climbing a mountain.”

“And if we link that to their job…”

Pint swig. Glass swirling. Fingers drumming the table.

“Well, a mountain is an obstacle. Overcoming mental health is an obstacle.”


Just like that, the creative oil was struck and the concept for the campaign came flooding along with it. Using the imagery of climbing a mountain to symbolise the challenge that Betsi’s mental health team have in helping their service users get better; we take a more creative approach to attract and inspire meaningful candidates to jobs at the trust.

Once this inspiration had been sparked, we needed to find someone who embodied it. Rhian Chalk, Deputy Ward Manager on the Ablett Unit of Glan Clwyd Hospital, was that and more. Passionate about her job and the great outdoors, honest and candid – an exemplary candidate to fly the flag for Betsi and North Wales.

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Like any good production though, things never quite run smoothly. Especially when it involves climbing and relying on the British weather to play ball. On our first attempt the Ogwen Valley was shrouded in fog so thick we couldn’t see 20 feet ahead let alone our filming and climbing location – the mighty Tryfan. It was a no go that day. Whilst that first shoot did yield some unexpected results, we still needed the all important money shots from the top of the mountain to complete our tale. With a reshoot planned and a trip back to Wales, cameras rolled and drones flew for the final shots from the top of a clear and sunny Tryfan. We wrapped on a proud Rhian etched against the sweeping, dramatic mountains of Wales, and we had done it.

Like all our work in Just R’s film team, we want great people to tell their stories and open up about why they do what they do to inspire others into meaningful careers and happier lives. These are jobs and people that should be celebrated so why not make it stylish, thought-provoking, mind-boggling, eye-popping and exciting to really capture the hearts and minds of aspiring healthcare professionals.

After all, what do a bunch of horses merging out of the waves off the coast of Hawaii have to do with Guinness? In reality, nothing. But imaginatively, everything.

Ben Howard Circle


Written by Ben Howard

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