Giving Mental Health a New Look in Media

Changing Media Representations of Mental Health was published as the first research study examining mental health coverage in the media. The study was conducted on behalf of the Glasgow Media Group and examined content in press, television, and films and using content analysis to show how the material would relate to our beliefs of mental illness (Philo,2017). The study showed how media is held accountable for most of these ill-informed beliefs. The research interviewed numerous people with their experience with Mental Health, and the majority of the interviewees associated their experiences with violent films, and media. This new research shows the impact on media consumers, the more powerful negative images shown, the more stigmatization and negative portrayal of mental health starts to develop.

This article was an interesting read. It mentions how there was a partition signed by 3,000 media consumers, that asked for a different approach in mental health in media and changing the perception of it. The article also mentions how media companies have not done so yet. I think this article would be beneficial for my study in looking into the way films portray mental health, which can draw a negative portrayal, shift the stigmatization of mental health and allowing people not to be open-minded mental health and seeking help. I can also find more studies and information on big media companies and their viewings of mental health to see if there is a possible link between the consumers and the scriptwriters, producers, and directors.

Right now I am focusing on my second part of my script. I just finished scheduling my casting calls and possible shooting days. I am getting in contact with my committee. I want to discuss a proper email to send out to the potential committee members. If anyone has an outline or would allow me to read theirs, I would much appreciate that. This Sunday, I have a meeting with my Team to discuss my fellow plans for next semester involving shooting. I am also going to start an outline for my paper and researching more articles.

Citation:
Philo, G. (1997). Changing media representations of mental health. Psychiatric Bulletin, 21(3), 171-172.

Kofi Siriboe new film Jump

This week I have decided to do my blog a little different. Besides talking about one of my articles, I have been looking at short films, documentaries, and interviews that speak on Mental Health, that I think contributes to my project in many ways. The two things I had watched were both directed by Kofi Siriboe; WTF is Mental Health and Jump. Kofi Siriboe, who starred in film Girls Trip and television series Queen Sugar, is a young, FINE, actor, who is my future husband and an advocate for bringing awareness to mental health in the black community through creating.

WTF is Mental Health is a short documentary that features young Black youth to speak on their mental health and how they overcame it. Jump is a short film that was inspired by a suicidal death from mentor and brother of Kofi. In this 11-minute film, Jump, Kofi plays the main character Ziggy, who is detached from reality. Throughout the film, you will see a young girl popping up around Ziggy telling him to follow her, but when he finds her, there is no one there. Throughout the film, he says, “I don’t wanna live, I don’t wanna die.” It just seems like he does not want to go out, wants to hang out with his friends or even talk to anyone. At the end of the film, Ziggy is on a bridge considering ending his life.

This film moved me. I have changed my film to being an episodic film but with chapters. At first, I was a little skeptical writing my script out because I know I needed to make my scenes at least 10 minutes each while getting the point across. I love the way that Kofi executed that with little dialogue and short timing I his film. I am looking at this film for guidance in the visuals for my film. I am looking at the shot choices like camera angles, color, and transitions. I have noticed in the film that he decides to use a lot of close up shots, which makes it look more dramatic as well as intimate with the characters. I have also noticed with his character, Ziggy, he wore dull colors, while the little girl had on pink, his friend (Not girlfriend…I hope) wears a yellow hat that shows happiness, and the colors I see a lot in the scenes are blue and cool colors which intensify the darkness of the story.

At this point of my project, I have started my script for UN-, and my chapter UN-Told, which is about a young black girl who is trained to go to church with her mother and getting prayed over regularly for any situation. She is confused, she thought she trusted a guy that was close to her, like a brother, but that trust was broken when he molested her in her own home and was threatened not to tell anyone. She’s living with this secret, while this guy is living with her family until his mother is out of rehab. My next step is to start the beginning of another chapter called Un-Known. I am not sure what route to go with this story after all the interviews I have one so far, however, I do see something visually. I am also going to sketch out this first script for practice using shots and colors I see in Kofi’s short film for inspiration. I shall have this by next class for feedback.

Click here to see JUMP. 

The Root of Mental Health for Black Women

Black Women and Mental Health: Working Towards Inclusive Mental Health Services is an article I found by Melba Wilson. This article addresses the nature of black women’s position in a broader context of black everyday experiences. The article focuses on women from different communities such as African, African-Caribbean and Asian Communities, which I found interesting due to Asian and African-Caribbean culture. The study is looking into older women, women of mixed heritage, and refugees focusing on the perspective of black and minority ethnic women and their mental health needs, care, and treatment. The article mentions that it was written to change the social policy framework in mental health (Wilson pg.34).

My goal for my film is to go to the root of what is causing most of Mental Health. Why is the leading black women protagonist in movies portrayed to be some angry black women? This article addresses racism, mistreatment in psychiatric hospitals, and issues within the black community itself. But I think what drew me to this article is the section of Black women – the reality, where this section talks about the experiences of racial and cultural stereotyping, and different experiences with the mental health system, gender stereotyping. It also notes that a lot of literature does not mention these experiences as a factor to a cause of mental health for the black community. I’ve never thought of racism being a factor in Mental illness, so it was a great article to read about that and comparing different populations within the black communities. I am now seeking to add a little bit more to my characters in my film and their everyday struggles.

I am happy to say that I have now started my script. I just needed an extra push, and I believe I got it from last week’s class. I have looked into Film Theory, and I am now looking into Black Feminism theory and seeing what I can find within those. I have outlined all the articles I have found, and I am starting to put my paper together. Today I had the opportunity to attend the Pennsylvania Women’s Conference, where I have met a producer Shameka Stewart, she works at a non-profit that focuses on short films as well as sponsor short films. I have a meeting with her in two weeks. Next thing I would like to do is start looking for my grants to help me prosper with my film as well as locations.

Citation:

Wilson, M. (2001). Black Women and Mental Health: Working Towards Inclusive Mental Health Services. Feminist Review,68(1), 34-51.

We need an “Ill” film!

As I continue to come across and read more articles about films and mental health, I am now becoming more interested in the importance of films and documentaries and how these platforms have a particular impact on its audience. Though I am not doing a documentary, it is still pretty impressive how fictional films with characters who are showing what the struggle of those who are dealing with mental illness.

The film festival “AUSNAHME|ZUSTAND” (State of Emergency)—Do feature films and documentaries on mental health reduce stigma and influence help-seeking attitudes? Evaluated the impact of Germany-wide film festival, known as “AUSNAHME|ZUSTAND also known as the State of Emergency, on social distance and help-seeking attitudes of the audience. The researchers did a pre-post test where they looked into the effects of both featured films and documentaries on social distance towards people with mental illnesses and the impact that has on their attitudes to seeking help ( Pg.1043). The study showed how these effects depended upon the film and documentary content and how both featured films and documentaries can reduce social distance and influence those with mental illnesses to seek help, but it depends on how strong the material is.

I would like to discuss why I am interested in the article and how it contributes to my project. The article speaks of various theoretical models, and I know that I am stuck finding a theoretical framework I would like to use for my project. It brings up the sociological model for stigmatization, and I know that that coexists with black women wanting to seek help for their mental illness. I am arguing that we need more fictional films with black women protagonists who are having these struggles mentally, so that black women, in reality, can be a useful viewer, relate and start developing these help-seeking attitudes mentioned in this article. I also would like to prove how films like these are compelling in a positive way to the black women.

Right now I am in the midst of starting my script. I have decided to change my film from an hour to 30 minutes. I am developing my characters as well as a clear and concise story plot. For my actual research, I am trying to find my theoretical framework. So I am outlining my paper with the topics discussed and claims made and are looking into some of the keywords I see, such as film, character development, and stigmatization, and reading about some theories. I am still taking suggestions on routes and ideas I should look in too.

Citation:

Conrad, I., Schulze, B., Corrieri, S., Heider, D., Schomerus, G., & Riedel-Heller, S. G. (2014). The film festival “AUSNAHME|ZUSTAND” (State of Emergency)—Do feature films and documentaries on mental health reduce stigma and influence help-seeking attitudes? Psychiatry Research,220(3), 1043-1050.