Using short films to create awareness and promote help seeking
The Parivartan Trust, based out of Satara in India, is pleased to present two short films: “Jagruti” (Awakening) and “Mann ki Aankhe” (Eyes of the mind). These films are directed by renowned and award winning director Mrs. Sumitra Bhave, who has directed several other films of social importance, including her recent film “Kaasav” on the theme of depression and the environment, which has been awarded the best picture in the National Film Awards for 2017.
Through the stories of “Jagurti” and “Mann Ki Aankhe” we aim to connect with the wider community in order to create awareness about common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, in order to reduce the stigma associated with these health problems and promote help seeking by talking as the first step.
Depression: Let's Talk
This year WHO chose “Depression: Let’s Talk” as its theme for World Health Day on 7th April. It is estimated that more than 300 million people globally suffer from depression. It is the leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease1. The National Mental Health Survey in India (2016) estimates that common mental disorders are a huge burden affecting nearly 10% of the population. These disorders are closely linked to both causation and consequences of several non-communicable disorders (NCDs), thereby contributing to a significantly increased health burden. Nearly 1 out of every 20 persons in India is thought to be affected by depression2. A vast majority of the affected people can improve by talking about their problems and by seeking help.
Significant progress has been made in terms of policy (National Mental Health Policy, 2014) and law (Mental Health Care Act, 2017) in India. The National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) has been functional since 1982 and the District Mental Health Programme (DMHP), tasked with detection, management, and treatment of mental disorders, covers 339 districts in the country. Despite this, a vast majority of the people suffering from mental disorders are still without treatment- for depression, the treatment gap is estimated at >80%. Efforts by the government or health services alone will not be sufficient to meet the needs of the people.
The good news is that for the majority of people with depression, specialist treatment will not be required but self-help, talking to people they are close to, and basic counselling by a local health service provider can help. People often are unaware that their distress could be attributable to a mental health problem such as depression or anxiety. Even if they are aware, stigma of the illness prevents them from coming forward to seek help and talk about their problems.
Addressing the gap using Short Films
These short films seek to address this. “Mann ki Aankhe“ depicts the experience of depression in a family context in a rural setting, whereas “Jagruti” shows a middle aged man experiencing panic attacks on account of unfounded fears that his brother will not look after him in later years. “Mann ki Aankhe” shows how seeking help from an ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist), a local community health worker, helps a couple overcome their problems and lead a happier life. In “Jagruti”, the person is given a patient ear and sound advice from an elderly and respected neighbour. These stories are very simple and similar to what people experience in their day to day lives. We believe this will help viewers to make a connection to themselves and their loved ones.
We hope the films will encourage people to identify and seek help for depression and anxiety for themselves as well as their loved ones.
These films have been produced with support from the Tata Trusts
- Depression Factsheet, World Health Organisation, February 2017
- National Mental Health Survey of India, 2015-16: Summary. Bengaluru, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, NIMHANS Publication No. 128, 2016.