A SOUTHAMPTON film-maker is celebrating after a short film based on his experiences won awards.

When Ben Grace's mum was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 it had a devastating effect on the then 25 year-old.

It sent him into a downwards spiral which would lead to years off track for the young film maker.

Already unhappy after the break up of a relationship, Ben was working long hours and not taking care of himself.

The bad news about his mum was the final straw – and he came to the conclusion that taking his own life would be the only way to get some relief.

Ben - now 31 - said he woke up one day unable to get out of bed.

He said: "I had a lot of personal stuff going down. I got very low.

"It was a combination of things. I was working lot of hours.

"I couldn't go to work. I went to the doctor's and he said you're depressed mate.

"He gave me some pills and I got worse."

Ben started hearing voices and having hallucinations.

He was sectioned, and taken to Southampton's Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit, Antelope House.

"I said I was going to kill myself. They said either you come with us voluntarily or you will be sectioned involuntarily.

"My parents visited me in Antelope. My mum asked what I was looking at - and I said why have you brought the cat? I thought her handbag was the family cat.

"I was in there for about three weeks. The staff were fantastic and they saved my life but the experience was awful.

"I ended up taking two years off work.

"It was heavy stuff. It took me a number of years to feel like I was on course again."

With help from Southampton film education charity City Eye Ben was able to slowly pull himself back together.

He started volunteering and making short films. Now he credits them with getting him back into work.

"City Eye were amazing. They are pretty much the reason I was able to return to work," he said.

That's when the idea for making a more personal film came about - and his time spent at Antelope House was the perfect choice.

It follows Maddie - played by Becky Mills - who is released into the care of her brother Rupert - Wesley Budd - and sister-in-law April - Joanna Russel - following a stay in hospital after a failed suicide attempt.

Described as a "hopeful drama" it sensitively explores how families can readjust their relationships following a mental health crisis.

With the help of Antelope House's care manager Sarah Leonard Ben was able to film in the centre - and start making the film, but also coming to terms with his own experience.

He said: "They were absolutely amazing.

"Sarah suggested we go back in there before we shot it - it was surreal.

"It was lovely but very strange.

"It feels alien now. It's been a long time now.

"There's definitely a sense of closure for me now.

"It was a big part of my life because it changed everything. "Making it really helped."

The film has now been doing the film festival circuit, picking up awards in Italy - winning the Technical Jury Prize of Meglio Matti Che Corti, an international mental health competition co-run by Arci Modena and the Dipartimento di Salute Mentale e Dipendenze Patologiche.

Now Ben has released it online in the hope it will help other families cope with the stigma attached to mental health issues.

Sarah Leonard said: "Southern Health is proud to support the making of the film ‘Antelope’. As an organisation, we are always striving to contribute towards innovative and creative ways in which we can continue to tackle stigma and discrimination that can be associated with mental illness.

"Through working with people with lived experience, we’re able to co-produce different materials and media that raises awareness and helps contribute to a community where mental health is more easily spoken about and supported."