“Hidden Pictures” By Delaney Ruston: Global Mental Health

For World Mental Health Day on Thursday, October 10th, the new documentary called Hidden Pictures: A Personal Journey Into Global Mental Health, created by physican and mental health advocate Delaney Ruston, will be made available for free. (Ruston’s previous doc called Unlisted was about her relationship with her late father, who had paranoid schizophrenia.)

Apparently global mental health has never before been addressed like this on film. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) states that Hidden Pictures “looks at individuals and families affected by mental illness in Africa, China, France, India and the United States. Stigma and the need for greater access to treatment and care are major themes, framed against colorful, emotionally powerful backgrounds.”

And NAMI offers some pertinent statistics: “Approximately 450 million people live with mental illness worldwide. About 800,000 die from suicide, mostly in low and middle income countries—where as many as 85 percent of people living with severe mental illness receive no treatment. In high income countries, the figure is as high as 65 percent. Global spending on mental health is less than two dollars per year.”

In an interview with Real Change News, Ruston addresses such global issues as the lack of options for receiving adequate mental health care, the lack of mental health advocacy organizations, the importance of housing availability, and the need for mental health education in schools.

Her closing words: “Indeed, one of my key take-home points from making ‘Hidden Pictures’ is that, unlike the myth that our experiences globally are too diverse to understand and help, in fact, our experiences at the very core are much more similar than different, and global solutions are possible.”

A preview is available below:

From a viewer posting on IMDB: “The personal stories stem from diverse backgrounds and the variety of situations presented help explain the complexity of mental health related issues. Ruston’s story-telling prowess allows the viewer to form their own opinions regarding the issues presented without trying to push an agenda. In addition to being informative, the film has an artistic quality which is best shown through the relationship between the visuals and music. Honest and unapologetic, it allows us to get a glimpse into the lives of those who normally remain ‘hidden’ away.”

Marvin Swartz, Professor of Psychiatry, Duke University School of Medicine: “The written word often fails to convey the particular poignancy of people’s lives. Delaney Ruston’s masterfully told stories of individuals and families struggling with mental illness across the world, conveys a profound and visceral appreciation of the myriad effects of such illnesses. Hidden Pictures makes the story of the global burden of mental illness deeply personal and hauntingly memorable.”

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