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1st Jul, 2022

Midlands film company explores mental health challenges in South Asian communities

A CREATIVE film aims to explore mental health issues in the South Asian community following a brief from Warwickshire County Council (WCC)

The film ‘Healing’, delivered by Birmingham film production company BlueBell Films, forms part of a campaign to challenge taboos.

It includes a mix of evocative stylish images, music and poetry, to provide a take on the sensitivities around discussing mental wellbeing for Warwickshire County Council.

The film was a response to a brief set to explore the issue with the South Asian community. It mixes images of traditional South Asian culture with a poem outlining the community’s challenges including alienation, isolation and the cliche for people to appear as strong ‘as a lion’.

Healing, released as part of World Mental Health Day earlier this month, was based on extensive research by the BlueBell team, including interviews with members of the South Asian community.

Director Bhulla Beghal said the brief had allowed BlueBell to explore important themes in their film whose story was created around the embroidery of a sari.

He said: “I’ve done many projects in the past which have elements of mental health, and the South Asian community, but this was the first time I could directly explore the two.

“I wanted to be creatively collaborative to stretch my wings as a director and work with other specialists in their field. I thought it would be great to work with a poet, so the workflow was experimental.

“I approached poet Jaspreet Kaur, who I saw perform at the 2019 Asian Women Festival in Birmingham and goes by the name Behind the Netra. She stood out to me when performing because she had a sweet, delicate, positive style which matches my filmmaking. I extracted snippets from the interviews I conducted, which she transformed into a poem to be visualised in the film.”

Adult social care and health spokeswoman for WCC Margaret Bell said: “Asking for help shows great strength and courage. We want to encourage those who may be struggling with their mental health to reach out and seek support, and for those around them to be there to listen, without judgement.

“This creative short film ‘Healing’ was produced to highlight the importance of community support, and, along with the information available on the Dear Life website, show residents that they can get the help and advice they need, whilst breaking the taboos that are so often felt when talking about mental health in the process.

“You are not alone, there is help out there and we would encourage anyone struggling or in need of advice to reach out and use the support available to them.”

Go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=2siARWwmnUQ to watch the film.

Visit: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/mentalhealth for advice and support for your mental health and wellbeing in Warwickshire.

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