The Singapore Mental Health Film Festival will be tackling stigma through films, conversations and workshops
Spearheaded by the Institute of Mental Health, the second Singapore Mental Health Study that was released on 11 December has revealed that more people in Singapore have experienced mental disorders at some stage in their lives. The study, which involved interviews with over 6,000 Singaporeans and permanent residents, assessed six mental disorders including bipolar, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and alcohol abuse. Among the conditions, depression was the leading mental disorder in Singapore with one in 16 having experienced it at some point while alcohol abuse and OCD rounded up the top three mental disorders in the country. Strikingly, the study discovered that millennials aged 18 to 34 were more likely to suffer from some of these disorders, in particular those who were divorced, separated or males who had lower education.
Organised by social enterprise The Breathe Movement, the Singapore Mental Health Film Festival (SMHFF) is looking to reverse this upward trend by raising awareness around these disorders and hopefully, reforming negative attitudes through the empathetic medium of film. Running in February 2019 at indie cineplex The Projector, the festival will screen feature-length and short Asian and Western films including Julianne Moore's Oscar-winning performance in Still Alice (2014) and Malaysian family drama Shuttle Life (2017) that highlight different mental health issues such as dementia, schizophrenia and autism. The festival will also bring together mental health professionals across various specializations from the Institute of Mental Health, The Community Health Assessment Team (CHAT), Singapore Association for Mental Health for in-depth panel discussions with moderators Anita Kapoor and Noorlinah Mohamed to mediate the conversations. Workshops that focus on mental health care through body sculpturing, yoga, breathing techniques, mindfulness, guided meditation and craft will also run during the festival, with the aim of helping individuals to raise their emotional resiliency.