On October 10th, World Mental Health Day, physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston, joined by representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other special guests, will screen her film Hidden Pictures at Fountain House. The event is part of a 24-hour global web screening during which nearly 100 organizations will stream the film for their audiences around the globe.
Dr. Ruston grew up in the shadow of her dad’s schizophrenia and has spent years caring for the underserved. Her film, Hidden Pictures, weaves her story and those of individual families in India, China, Africa, France and the U.S. dealing with bipolar illness, depression, schizophrenia and anxiety.
In making Hidden Pictures, Dr. Ruston encountered an unforeseen obstacle. She explains, “At several points I nearly abandoned this project because the silence around mental illness was so unexpectedly extreme. I am so grateful to those individuals that did come forward—their stories have shown me that our experiences are far more similar than different. The reality is that problems with discrimination and access to services and treatment are universal. I want my film to inspire people to get involved.”
Ruston’s documentary comes at a historic moment as the WHO launches its Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan that has 194 countries promising better service for people living with mental illness. Upon seeing Hidden Pictures, the WHO’S Director of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Dr. Shekhar Saxena asked to partner with Ruston, using her film as the cornerstone of the organization’s outreach program.
Fountain House President Kenneth Dudek remarks, “There is a worldwide crisis in mental healthcare. Hidden Pictures speaks to this issue and demonstrates the vital need for the development of more community-based healthcare programs. Serious mental illness robs millions of people around the world and their families of social connection, productivity, and hope. We know how to support their recovery; we must mobilize to do so.”
On October 10th, World Mental Health Day, Hidden Pictures will be available to stream online for free at http://bit.ly/hidpics.
Development Officer, Fountain House