World Mental Health Day is on 11 October. The World Health Organisation (WHO) sets a theme for when that date rolls around every year. Last year, the theme was suicide prevention. This year’s theme is increased investment in mental health services. With the pandemic leaving no one unaffected, our collective mental health is at stake. And so, the WHO is calling for a massive scale-up in mental health services worldwide.
On 10 October, The Singapore Mental Health Film Festival (SMHFF) will hold screenings and panel discussions on their Facebook page. Their theme this year is Making Visible The Invisible, which is about highlighting the mental health struggles of marginalized communities. They will be talking about mental health among the elderly, migrant worker, LGBTQ+ and the sex worker communities.
Below is a short summary of two of the movies the SMHFF will be screening:
When American journalist Nellie Bly infiltrated an asylum in 1887, she did it to look at how a segment of a population which is often unseen and unheard from lives. This 67 minute documentary, commissioned by the Lien Foundation, features Anita Kapoor, a Singapore-based TV presenter who goes for a two week stay at Salvation Army’s Peacehaven Nursing Home. There she is treated just like any other patient who is suffering from the indignities of advanced age. Through this documentary, we get a first-hand look at what the nursing home environment is like and what it does to your mental health.
When a migrant worker is injured in the course of his job, he goes on a quest to land another job so he can continue to send money home. He decides to try to help out at a hawker stall. Directed by Chen Huiyi, an NTU graduate in Digital Marketing, it’s a little bottle rocket of a film under 20 minutes. Why do I say it’s a bottle rocket? It’s already won Best Picture in Singapore’s National Youth Film Awards in 2018.
The goal of sharing these movies and panel discussions with the public is to facilitate casual discussion of mental health. After all, if everyone feels like it’s okay to talk about it, then it becomes normalized. And once that happens, seeking help would be second nature, like going to the doctor for a cough.
Curious about the full line-up of their movies and events? You can click here to go to SMHFF’s website. Why not share the link with somebody you’ll like to talk mental health with? The movies can be a good starting place.