In 2021, we aim to host monthly movie nights with different partners to raise awareness on mental health. We kicked off the program with Camera Stylo on Sunday, 7th of February 2021.
We had a full house of attendees gathered at Camera Stylo to take in Mariel’s account of her troubled family history. The documentary screened, Running From Crazy (2013), chronicles the multiple mental illnesses running through the Hemingway family, from the esteemed writer through his son, his model granddaughters right down to the youngest generation with both nuance and emotion. Following the documentary, counsellor Rachel George took the stage to answer questions from the audience and provide thoughtful insight into mental illnesses, mental health and how we perceive the struggles that might come with them.
The documentary, directed by Barbara Kopple, was a decently hard pill to swallow, tackling a myriad of personal difficulties. Camera Stylo provided a mellow, ambient backdrop (and wonderful drinks during the intermission!) to allow us the peace of mind to digest what we were seeing. The film hung in the air after it was done, prompting a lot of thoughtful questions from the audience members, which were skillfully, empathetically and competently fielded by the evening’s guest, Rachel George.
Rachel started the Q&A off with a short briefing on the notes she took during the movie, cautioning against the use of the word “crazy”, as it perpetuates stigma around mental health issues. The questions quickly evolved into a respectful and engaging back and forth between her and the audience. Topics addressed included how one might tell when someone you know is struggling, whether or not there is a genetic component to mental illness, what to do when someone close to you is refusing treatment or in denial, and how familial relationships with mentally ill people can be very nuanced.
Overall, the night seemed to be a success, and we give special thanks to Rachel George for her time, engagement and enthusiasm, to Camera Stylo for the amazing venue, and to everyone who showed us support by showing up, donating, asking questions and/or listening.
In honor of World Bipolar Disorder Day on the 30th of March, we will be hosting a movie on that topic next month. To do this, we are partnering with “World of Bipolar”, who use personal story-telling to raise awareness about bipolar disorder in China through writing and documentaries. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, if you are looking for information on community support or treatment availability on mental illness in China, check out our “pre-treatment guidance” program and our “peer support group” program.