I had the pleasure of attending the world premiere of the film Hear Our Voices tonight and seeing the impact that mental health services had on children that were plagued with mental health diagnoses.
The documentary went into the lives of nine children that had been diagnosed with a myriad of mental health diagnoses. It explored their trials with the mental health system and how they were actively trying to make the system better for themselves and others that were in their position. It also gave the views of the mental health professionals in active roles to help change the system.
This documentary was an in-depth and upsetting look into the deficiencies in the children’s mental health system. Throughout the film I was taken on an emotional journey with each of the children and allowed a peek into their past and present lives. An honest description of what it was like to be a child and live with a mental health diagnosis. These children had overcome unspeakable trials and labeled as “crazy, weird, and dangerous.”
The individuals in the field ripped down stereotypes of what it was to be diagnosed with bipolar, post traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and a host of other mental health diagnoses. They helped change the perception of what it was to be someone who suffered a mental health illness.
Stigma, I believe, is one of the biggest reasons people do not seek help for mental health struggles. They are terrified to be looked at as a deficient human being or a danger to society. Truthfully, most people would look at individuals this way because mental health is wholly misunderstood and so the fears of individuals who are suffering are justified.
A great way to stop this stigma is to talk about mental health. Talk about your struggles or talk with a friend who needs your support just do not sit and be silent about this issue. Others need to know they are not the only ones with an issue. The kids in this film did an amazing job at talking. They were most definitely emotional at times because they had difficult things to say, but the emotionality gave them power as well. I highly recommend this documentary to anyone who will sit long enough to watch it.
After you watch the documentary, let me know what you think. I would love to hear other views on the film (positive or negative).