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Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go

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Improving the Lives of Emotionally Disturbed Children

Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go takes a vérité look at Oxfordshire, England's Mulberry Bush School for emotionally disturbed children. At this unique boarding facility, the staff responds to antisocial, sometimes violent behavior with gentle restraint, calm words and clear limits. They draw out the deep loving capacity of these children, even as they get frustrated by repeated instances of unacceptable behavior.

As viewers witness the daily dramas of troubled kids trying to survive, and the moments of hope they achieve with the school's determined team, they are challenged to question what society owes its most traumatized children and what we all can do to heal. Below are some steps you can take to improve the lives of emotionally disturbed children.

  • Volunteer your time and work with Childhelp to provide a safe and nurturing environment for children recovering from the emotional impact of child abuse. Find opportunities in your area via

  • If you need additional support as a caregiver or parent, join Circle of Parents and exchange ideas, information and resources that strengthen parent leadership.

  • Visit the "Take Action Now" section of the National Association for the Education of Young Children's (NAEYC) to champion for children's rights by writing to your elected federal officials.

  • The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) has several tool kits for parents and caregivers, the media, school personnel, professionals and policymakers that encourage citizens to improve the standard of care and access to services for traumatized children and their families.

  • If you or someone you know needs help with a personal situation, visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway for a list of organizations to contact.

  • If you are interested in learning more about residential centers and the services they offer in your area, please visit the American Association of Children's Residential Centers website and search under their "Partners" section.

Get informed about the issues in the film and lead a discussion in your community.

Discussion Guide

Discussion Guide

POV creates discussion guides for all our films. Discussion guides offer background information about the film, a comprehensive list of organizations, websites and books recommended for further research and questions viewers can use to kick-start conversations about the themes and issues explored in Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go, as well as other POV films. For a film club or child advocacy group, Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go offers the opportunity for viewers to see the damage that physical and emotional child abuse can inflict, and one approach to healing children who have suffered great trauma in their early development.

Reading List

Delve Deeper

This multimedia resource list includes books, films and other materials related to the issues presented in Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go. Learn more about child abuse and the lives of emotionally disturbed children.

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To me, one of the most moving things was seeing men [the male teachers] being so loving with boys and so supportive; you got a glimpse of what fathers should be like.”

— Kim Longinotto, Filmmaker

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