Cape Town filmmaker, Garth Kingwill and his crew won the public and judges over
with their film entry, entitled “I Choose Life”, into this year’s annual Let’s
Talk Mental Health Film Competition – a joint partnership with Pharma Dynamics,
the Film Industry Learner Mentorship (F.I.L.M) programme and the Mental Health
aspiring moviemakers were challenged by Pharma Dynamics (a leading supplier of
central nervous system medication) to produce a series of short-films on three
critical mental health issues facing South Africa. The topics included:
depression and unemployment, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and
depression and suicide in teens.
Talk campaign is part of the prevention-minded pharmaceutical company’s
approach to shatter the stigma around mental health issues and promote open
Fouché, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics says they decided to use short films
that incorporate young people in situations and real-life places they can
relate to as a starting point to a bigger discussion on mental health issues.
sufferers, friends, families and communities to talk about their perceptions of
issues like depression and youth suicide is the best way to start addressing
stereotypes, encouraging treatment and getting all those affected on the road
to recovery,” says Fouché.
film features a number of suicide victims for whom remedy seems to be too late
as they contemplate better choices they could have made. In this abstract, yet
haunting account of the hopelessness experienced by people on the brink of
suicide, the imagery and language resonates particularly with younger
audiences, while effectively highlighting not only that help is available but
that we need to talk about mental illness.
of the film resonated with Kingwill as he once lost a close friend to suicide.
Teen suicide a huge issue
suicide is a huge problem in our country. Research shows that suicide accounts
for 1 in 10 deaths from non-natural causes in youngsters, and for every young
person who commits suicide in South Africa, 20 attempt to.
delighted our team won the Let’s Talk Mental Health Film Competition and hope
the film will raise awareness about the tragedy of suicide and prompt an open
and frank discussion amongst teenagers about mental health issues,” says
competition kicked off during National Mental Illness Awareness Month in July
this year where participants were given 8 weeks to produce their films which
were then made available for public viewing via You Tube and allowed viewers to
cast their vote for the most poignant film of their choice.
were announced this October in recognition of National Mental Health Awareness
Month. Mike Charles from KZN and his team came second with their production
`Move’ and Carren Bost from Cape Town and her crew came third with their film
information and to view the films, visit www.letstalkmental.co.za
Talk campaign forms part of Pharma Dynamics’ ongoing public education and
advocacy efforts for mental wellness in SA.
suffering from depression or anxiety can contact Pharma Dynamics’ toll-free
helpline on 0800 205 026, which is manned by trained SADAG counsellors who are
on call from 08h00 to 20h00, seven days a week.