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.


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.

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