ABOUT FORUM As organization who runs since 2002, Forum Film Dokumenter (FFD) serve its purpose to expand documentary as a medium of expression and knowledge ecosystem through exhibition, education, and archiving program.
In the beginning, history recorded how humans were confused in handling mental health issues. Mental problems are often considered as the abnormalities affecting humans; insanity. Psychiatric institutions, experiments over patients’ treatments, and the origin of knowledge on this matter are evidence of where power lies in relation to mental health issues.
In this opportunity, Perspektif program is about to expand the discussion regarding mental health issues around us. By not focusing only on the clinical issues, we try to display various aspects and other approaches in order to frame this program through seven film choices.
Mental Health and Convoluted Happiness
Individuals with mental health issues have been stigmatized negatively – crazy, weird, over-sensitive and many more. Disciplinary treatments such as imprisonment, seclusion, and alienation are often the most common approaches towards this group. Myths are built upon individuals with mental issues. What is normal and what is not are institutionalized to further affirm othering and disciplinary practices.
Over time, mental health issues are becoming more and more popular. Nowadays, the narrative surrounding mental health issues is shifting from severely stigmatized “mental illness” into the importance of taking care of “mental health”. In the last two years, mental health issues are highly represented in mass media and popular culture. Agenda to promote a more humane approach towards individuals with mental health issues are spread. Conservative means such as exclusion and alienation are being changed with self-love campaign, which is more sound.
In a fast-paced world, anxiety among individuals emerges. We lack quality time for ourselves. At the same time, campaigns to raise awareness on mental and physical condition are being popularized to tackle mental health issues, through self-love and self-care practices. From all the hustle-bustle, meditation and other self-care practices are proven reliable to divert negativities in daily routine. Media and smartphone applications also taking part in this campaign for a better life. Many people are committed to healthy diets and exercise schedules they retrieved from self-care applications, to fight anxiety without the risk of antidepressant’s side effects. Those practices are believed to be effective in tackling anxiety and stressful earthly tether in modern life.
Dismantling bad stigmas around people with mental health issues – which is marginalized in society- is vital. A more open and free from prejudice condition is needed. Of all the solutions mentioned before, a big question arises. Do the presented solutions able to free individuals from practices of power, or do they otherwise further imprison individuals by creating illusions?
Campaigns on self-love and self-care agendas are being justified to treat oneself through consumerism, all in the name of inner peace. Happiness is being constructed as a must-buy. Is it possible that we, in contrast, are becoming more depressed thanks to the inability to fulfill or afford products and services that are believed to ease our mental health issues?
On the other hand, what about the contributions of the people around, aren’t the individual problems are also part of the wider social environment? What is the solution to our problems emerging from our frustration towards social environments or non-functioning system?
Then and now, injustice is the major culprit behind mental health issues. This year, Perspektif program wants to explore mental health issues with said viewpoint, that mental issues are a matter of power relation. Mental issues exist because individuals try to meet social expectations. Other’s judgment and ideal self-image become so important that it causes endless anxiety. We believe that with great inequalities, comes even greater mental health risks.
We hope that this discussion will become a melting pot to review our current condition: of how we understand, perceive and behave towards mental health issues around us.
(*)This discussion is a part of Perspektif program series. Prior to attending the discussion, audiences are highly encouraged to watch Perspektif movie screenings during the festival.
Rifki Akbar Pratama
Currently a researcher of Sekolah Salah Didik program, iniated by Kunci Study Forum & Collective. He has interests in decision making studies, politics of affection, and agrarian studies. The involvement of psychologists in Indonesian mass killings of 1965 and the relation between work and mental health are among the topics he delves into. Recently, he has been conducting a personal research on Lev Vygostsky’s cultural-historical psychology: an intersection of psychology, culture, and history. He also accomodates meetings for @id.overthinkers, an experimental support group based in Yogyakarta. He can be contacted through @rifkiap__ as well as [email protected] for further correspondence.
Shalfia Fala Pratika
Born in Muntilan, 15 June 1998. An undergraduate student of Faculty of Philosophy Universitas Gadjah Mada struggling to finish her thesis. Interested in film and feminism since she was a teenager. Diagnosed with Bipolar Personality Disorder three years ago and still routinely consult to psychiatrist and psychologist.