Relevant Literature

1. I have found this chapter “Media, Minorities, and the Stigma of Mental Illness” in a book by Sandra Swantek. It discusses the different stigmas minorities face when it comes to mental health displayed in the media. Stigma is negative attitudes and beliefs that motivate the public fear, rejection, avoidance, and discrimination against people that are dealing with mental illness (Swantek, p.73). This chapter gives an introduction to mental illness in the media. It has past studies that studied the portrayal of mental illness and minorities in fictional media (Swantek, p.74) It discusses mental illness in the news and how advocacy groups encourage balanced representation of the mentally ill in the media when it comes to minorities.

2.  I believe this article contributes to my project because it goes into depth about the media images of people that are mentally ill, and how it focuses on the reactions of those viewing this illness as being feared, rejected and ridiculed. The article showed how common shame in today’s society affects lives by making people reduce seeking help, which created low self-esteem and reduced the chances for people with this illness to want to recover. The chapter also goes into fictional portrayals, dramatic fictional images and that is how I want my film to be a genre. So, I am interested to see how screenwriters and directors portray these characters with mental illnesses and how the audience responds to them. This chapter is also exciting because it opens up to all media, not just television. It discusses the internet, news, and primetime television shows. Lastly, the chapter gives some recommendations that researchers can study or they found a lack of study. I found interest in wanting to hit on in my studies and film the need for media and education communication in today’s society and showing different cultural ideas about mental illness and the respect for different cultural diversity that will push for more acceptance of people with mental illnesses (Swantek, 82). I think because there is a lack of understanding for people, not just minorities, with mental illnesses is the lack of knowledge.

3. Each week I read different articles and watch documentaries about mental health to further my understandings on mental health. I started my interview process, and I just started to put together my blog for the film. On my blog, I plan to give information on Mental Health, discuss the inspiration of my movie and my research, and post the interviews and short summaries of my participants and their opinions of mental health I have for my studies. I am also home for the weekend to interview my grandmother on Intergenerational PTSD she suffers from and next week I am meeting with Professor Zaylea to go over my schedule for my project, Sunday I have a team meeting with some friends who are committed to helping me with my film and I have started the scriptwriting process.

I am excited about this project and research that I have come across. I do hope to answer some of the questions that past researchers still need answers to as well as recommending further research that can yet be done!


Swantek, S. S. (2008). Media, Minorities, and the Stigma of Mental Illness. Determinants of Minority Mental Health and Wellness,1-15. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-75659-2_5

My Style Element

When I was in the process of thinking of doing a creative project, I was on the verge to doing a documentary. Since my topic was on Mental Health, I knew of plenty of upcoming documentaries that where speaking on this topic. However, I knew my topic was going to be of Black Women having these issues. So then I looked into films. I knew I wasn’t going to find a film that showed leading black women protagonists a mental illness and having resources in the movie to educate them. I want this film to bring awareness and resources to black women. So the style of this film is important.

Feel and Sound

I would like my film to look like a drama, absurdist fictional film, with an inspirational feel. I am inspired with the Tyler Perry film For Colored Girls. I want my movie to sound like a dramatic film, but I want my viewers to hear these experiences and stories of Mental Health from these characters as a testimony.

Types of Media 

To get the inspiration for my narrative film, I would be interviewing black women. I plan to use the video interviews at the end of my film during credits, so the viewers can see and hear these testimonies for themselves. For more information on educating myself on mental health, I have also been listening to numerous podcasts such as, Carefree Black Girl, who talks about her journey dealing with issues and I have been watching YouTube videos of different documentaries and lectures on Mental Health.

Style of Media Elements 

I will be using both an audio interview for the end of my movie interviews, but for my actual film I will be using Diegetic sounds that would insist dialogue, sound effects, and a Non-Diegetic sound of music, I would like to use music from a local groups I find online.

My Shots

Since my film is dramatic and I would like for my viewers to relate to my audience, so I would like to have to close up shots so my audience can feel almost involved in what is happening. I would also like a medium, long and wide shots that would show landscape and bodies. I would also do a two-shot that shows relationships and over the shoulder shots for expressions and lastly a point of view shots, so audiences get a feeling.

How my choices fit

I believe a short film would fit my theme because I feel like my topic of Mental Health has been documentaries, blogs, and podcasts. I think having a short film is relatable and the fact that my characters will be based on real black women testimonies it’s me having a conflict and a conclusion, besides having a documentary and hearing stories. My film style supports my content because my goal is to bring a mental health film featuring black women with mental health issues and finding a conclusion to the situation.

My Areas of Research

For my research, I narrowed my topic down once more, and now I am questioning, Why don’t Black Women discuss mental health? I am still making my theme a short film because there is a lack of Black Mental Health awareness in the media. For my research, I would be looking into several categories such as Mental Health, Mental Health in media and Filmmaking processes and methods in mental health research. Some of the articles I chose are for my interest in learning more about Mental Health and hoping to get feedback from my peers and professors on what route to take when looking for articles and books.


Mental Health:

Duke, L. H. (2017). The importance of social ties in mental health. Mental Health and Social Inclusion,21(5), 264-270. doi:10.1108/mhsi-07-2017-0029

Evans, Stephanie Y., et al. Black Women’s Mental Health. Balancing Strength and Vulnerability. State University of New York Press, 2017.

Fransen, Elena (2014). The lack of conversation about mental health harms awareness. UWire Text, p.1

Memon, A., Taylor, K., Mohebati, L. M., Sundin, J., Cooper, M., Scanlon, T., & Visser, R. D. (2016). Perceived barriers to accessing mental health services among black and minority ethnic (BME) communities: A qualitative study in Southeast England. BMJ Open,6(11). doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012337
Project Lets  (n.d.). Retrieved from
Scheid, T. L., & Brown, T. N. (2010). A handbook for the study of mental health: Social contexts, theories, and systems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Swantek, S. S. (2008). Media, Minorities, and the Stigma of Mental Illness. Determinants of Minority Mental Health and Wellness,1-15. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-75659-2_5
Pirkis, J., Blood, R. W., Francis, C., & Mccallum, K. (2006). On-Screen Portrayals of Mental Illness: Extent, Nature, and Impacts. Journal of Health Communication,11(5), 523-541. doi:10.1080/10810730600755889

Wahl, Otto F;Lefkowits, J Jonatan. Impact of a Television Film on Attitudes Toward Mental Illness, American Journal of Community Psychology; Aug 1, 1989; 17, 4; ProQuest pg. 521

Short Films 

Bilge, A., & Palabiyik, O. (2017). The Effect of Short Films About Mental Health and Disorders on Preventing Stigmatization in Nursing Education. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing,31(1), 88-92. doi:10.1016/j.apnu.2016.09.006

Parr, H. (2007). Collaborative film-making as process, method and text in mental health research. Cultural Geographies,14(1), 114-138. doi:10.1177/1474474007072822

I think I am having a problem with finding articles on script writing and character development and mental health. I am not sure if I am using the proper film terms. I am however interested in finding more articles on how scriptwriters and directs develop characters with mental illnesses and their processes and inspiration. Again, I am accepting advice and guidance!


My Goals for my MA Project

There are many media representation that shows the white community to be the face of mental illness stereotypically. Does this thing not occur in the black community? What is even Mental Health? How do I even know if I have it?  With my MA Project, I would like to narrow my focus to films and  Black women and our dealings with mental health, in our community, within our relationships, and our culture. You have shows like Girls that have a character like Hanah Horvath, who has OCD. Characters like Carrie in Homeland, Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook, and one of my favorite classic films about mental illness, Girl Interrupted, who show white women in a mental hospital getting treatment for their mental health. When it comes to black shows and films, there is a lack of black women protagonists who represented as having mental health issues. For me, I saw this as a problem but yet an opportunity to create a film for Black Women who can relate to these stories of battling with their mental health.

With this project, I will address the different aspects of mental health, how there is a lack of resources, lack of information, a misunderstanding on what mental health is within Black women and cultural competency. I will also address the stoic stereotype portrayed in Black women of being healthy and resilient and how this portrayal discourages black women from seeing themselves having everyday struggles. I recently purchased a book  Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength and the author Chanequa Walker Barnes had quoted ” it makes people think that the myth of a strong Black Women is something that they really ought to live into…”. Which is something that I have never thought of before?

Right now I am learning more about mental health for myself and this project, and I am seeking black women and young ladies to interview from different generations, different social classes, different sexualities, etc., and who would be open for me to turn their stories into my three main characters in my film. I have a goal to start writing my script, planning my storyboard, and hold casting this semester! I am also looking for some recent studies, research articles, documentaries, good books, and podcasts to obtain more information on Mental Health. So if you come across anything, please email me at!