A Whangarei project following and filming a group of people with mental health issues as they embarked on a 100-day journey to find happiness has been turned into a documentary that will have its Northland premiere tomorrow.

Alison Davie wrote and directed Crazy Happy, which follows the group with mental health issues including depression and suicidal thoughts, as they embark on a 100-day journey to find happiness.

Ms Davie said the project had astounding results for both clients and the psychiatrist who helped oversee the project. He approached it on a peer level with his clients and took part in the project, as did a few of the documentary crew.

Ms Davie said it is a simple yet very effective project that the group would like to see implemented and used with other mental health communities around the world.


It followed the Happiness Project helping mental health patients in Northland which required each person to take a photo of something every day for 100 days that made him or her happy. The documentary follows participants through their journey.

"It was all filmed in Whangarei and all the people involved come from Whangarei, other than our great producer from Auckland Zuleika Gilbert, but it's a project that will work anywhere in the world," Ms Davie said.

She said her initial aim was just to follow the project to see what happened.

"One of the people involved was a friend and she had not known happiness in about 10 years and felt suicidal at times. I thought it was weird that somebody didn't know what happiness was," Ms Davie said.

"She found the Happiness Project and got others involved who had similar issues and they let me record them. And it led to some amazing results for them."

Ms Davie was now trying to get the documentary accepted for film festivals around the world.

"Hopefully we can get it out to other mental health groups in New Zealand and around the world."

The finished documentary, which was made thanks to $26,000 of funding from health providers Arataki Ministries, Emerge Aotearoa, Te Awhi Whanau and Te Mana Oranga, will screen at the Whangarei Central Baptist Church from 7pm tomorrow. To attend email admin@aratakimin.co.nz.