Building Media Tools for Awarness

Week long workshop in Assam to help students build media tools for effective
awarness on Mental Health and in the process create meaningful

Media Tools for Mental Health Awarness

Developing Specific Media Tools to raise awarness about Mental Health issues
With only 43 government-run mental hospitals for a population of 1.2 billion, India is currently suffering a mental health crisis. 10% of adult population is estimated to have mental and behavioral disorders with one in every family suffering. In India, lack of appropriate knowledge and prevailing myths & misconceptions about mental illness resist people from seeking mental health care. In addition, inadequate attention towards a user friendly mental health care system indulges neglect and abuse of persons with mental disorders. A lot of patients face terrifying enormities like sexual abuse over medication, forced drugging, forced shock treatments and seclusion.
What’s more, mental illness is highly stigmatized in India. More people are admitted in temples and faith healing centers than in actual hospitals. Patients are often referred as ‘maniacs’ and ‘mad’ and rarely portrayed in contemporary media with normalcy.
To increase the visibility of mental health issues, PPT held a “Developing Communication Tools for Generating Mental Health Awareness” workshop with Ashadeep, Guwahati to provide guidance and mentorship to university and college students at JyotiChitraban Film Institute, Guwahati from 8th to 14th July, 2012.
About Ashadeep:
Ashadeep is a Mental Health society in collaboration with Sir Ratan Tata Trust and Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust. Founded in 1996, Ashadeep was started by family members and caregivers of a mentally ill person in their attempt to seek treatment, care and psycho-social rehabilitation for their loved one. Since 2005, Ashadeep has been able to provide treatment and rehabilitation of homeless women with mental illness (HWMI) with support from Sir Ratan Tata Trust and Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust. 318 HWMI out of 356 admitted were reintegrated to their homes. The organization has extended its mental health services through outreach camps in rural areas in partnership with NGOs, CHCs and PHCs.

The aim of the project was to engage the youth in art forms and making them aware about mental illness through development of mental health communication products in regional languages. Another important aim was to continue awareness generation on mental health issues.

1. To educate the students on basics of Film Making, Photography, Poster development and Audio recording.
2. To mentor and guide the students in each category to develop short films, still photographs, posters and audio clippings.
3. To provide technical support to the students in developing their own projects.
4. To ensure the effective use of student’s ideas and themes in their development.
5. To ensure independent and group learning of the participants’ and equal participation of every student in the process.
The project included guiding and mentoring college and university students in a 7 days residential workshop at Jyoti Chitraban Film Institute, Guwahati to develop three short films, photographs, posters and clippings on mental health with the help of Ashadeep. The students were guided on filmmaking aspects like direction, camera, light, sound, and editing. The important aspect of the workshop was that all the student projects were in the Assamese language thus reflecting the local cultural perspective of mental health along with the Global perspective.
The workshop with Sudharak sir was a big success because we were able tospread the word about mental health to the general people. Sudharak sir is avery good mentor and taught us a lot about photography. He is our guru.

- Plabita, Workshop Participant

Students from various institutions across Assam were invited to express their ideas about the issue through sending their projects on mental health. Forty students were finally selected and invited to take part in the workshop on. National award winning film director Mr. Sunzu Bachaspatimayum from Manipur accompanied PPT’s founder Sudharak Olwe to guide the students in transforming their ideas into PSAs (public service announcement).
After the workshop, the final projects of the students were screened and displayed at a ceremony. An award function was held to accolade the best film.
The students poured in their heart and soul in this weeklong workshop during which they learnt about the nuances involved in film making, photography, audio and poster making. But more importantly, the workshop helped in starting a conversation about mental disorders and moved a step forward to normalise the over stigmatized mental health issues of India.
It was my first experience of bringing Psychology into the medium of communication, and it made me aware of the gap that exists between the discipline and the common masses. It helped me identify the various mediums through which I can reach out to people about psychological conditions and how even an image or clip can convey more powerfully than words.

-Kantadorshi Parashar, Workshop Participant

Scroll to Top