In India, the director comes across the isolation a person with a mental ailment faces in his family.
The city on Thursday was one of the several venues across the world where award-winning documentary Hidden Pictures was shown as part its ‘Global Web Screening’.
Around 100 organisations across the world screened the movie on Thursday on the occasion of World Mental Health Day. The documentary, directed by Delaney Ruston, is about the way global society handles the hidden world of mind and the many problems that could affect it. The screening here was to mark the Wold Mental Health Day, organised under the aegis of the Mental Health Action Trust (MHAT) in association with the Bankmen’s Club and the Bankmen’s Film Society. The documentary has the film-maker travelling to India, South Africa, China, France, and the US, uncovering deeply personal stories of how people struggle alone with mental problems to avoid social stigma.
She also focuses on the sparse attention given to mental health sector by different governments and how badly the sector functions world over.
In India, she comes across the isolation a person with a mental ailment, say schizophrenia, faces in his family, despite the country being famous for its close family ties.
In South Africa, Ms. Ruston finds people resorting to black magic and other quack methods to heal mental health problems. This is despite the progress the country has made on several other fronts.
In China, families confine their members with mental ailments to homes to avoid social stigma. The medical system, too, is inadequate to address the problems. Things are not rosy even in countries like France, which boasts of the greatest number of psychiatrists in proportion to its population when compared to other countries.
There are instances of people being denied jobs despite being qualified because they had a history of some form of mental illness.
The film-maker also observes how media often associate mental illness with violence. Ms. Ruston, a physician herself, who grew up in the shadow of her father’s schizophrenia and spent years caring for the underserved, however ends the movie on an exciting note discussing transformational programmes world over to improve mental health scenario.
From a classroom in an international school to different campaigns featuring high-level politicians and film stars, she shows how anti-stigma campaigns are slowly progressing in different part of the world.