‘alike -short animation film’
Watch ‘alike -short animation film’ online and provide it as a folio of this assessment and analyse it along with the 4 themes from the class modules.
part 1- introduction: it will include the setting, imagery, characters and storyline of animated film(this should be in the context of mental health)
part 2- you need to expand the 4 themes from the modules from the class resources(i will provide my sign in details for that)
connect each theme to the portrayal of mental health as observed from video
The short film Alike is an animated performance that is set in the middle of a bustling metropolis. It uses the phenomenon of the father-son bond to reflect the often harsh realities that school and work can be an embodiment of. From the outset, the setting of this film shifts between home, the city square, school and the workplace. There is a much desired balance in these settings, even if it remains elusive. The major characters in this story are the father and his little son. The son is setting out in life with the help of his father. It is a journey that often leaves them overwhelmed, disappointed and stressed. Two key images in this film are the school and work. It is clear that these two places value above everything else, routine and conventional ways of thinking. They hardly accept ingenuity and innovation, and anyone who dares go against the grain is often unwelcome. The story begins when the father prepares his son for school (CGMeetup, 2017). He is seen stuffing books into the son’s bag and the boy stumbles out. In the city square, there is a violin player in whom the son takes keen interest. The father drags him away and off they go. In school, the little boy is into art and painting but his teacher insists he has to be like the rest, a feeling he will later learn that his own father shares in too. The son sadly conforms but seeing his unhappiness, the father has a change of heart. He ultimately encourages him to be what he loves and even takes the place of the violin player who is by this time already gone (CGMeetup, 2017). The son is inspired. In many ways, this film is a portrayal of how mental health issues come about, how they are heightened and how they can ultimately be resolved.
Mental Health is more than an Illness
For many people who battle with mental illnesses each day, it is true that some of them either are not even willing to accept the fact that they may have a problem with their mental health or may view it as a normal process in their stress patterns. One of the biggest problems with mental health is that the victims may not be willing to acknowledge that they have this problem. There are many reasons why some may opt not to accept that they may be afflicted by mental illness. The general societal perceptions and the possibility of acceptance for those who suffer from mental illnesses are often harsh. Some patients rightly believe that coming out and admitting that they have a problem would be a direct ticket to a life of ridicule, bias, prejudice and assumptions. Many who do not want anything to do with these forms of pre-judgement therefore choose silence and attempt to conform even while all round them, they are getting overwhelmed.
In the film, the father is visibly overwhelmed at the workplace (CGMeetup, 2017). All around him, his colleagues are completing tasks as usual. He can barely manage to make it to the end of the day. He chooses not to communicate his displeasure. In many ways, it can be argued that his little son has more courage than he does for the son takes on the conformity and challenges the prevailing circumstances. In many ways then, the father’s actions are a demonstration of resistance to support and proof that mental illness is more than just an illness. Mental illness can affect the person’s productivity, affect their social lives and impact them far beyond the confines of any other illness.
A key manner in which mental illness is manifested is through depression. The experiences narrated in the course videos demonstrate the fact that people’s experiences of depression can be quite different in terms of the intensity and the presented symptoms. For many of them however, the element of stigmatization and its impact on the willingness of the victim to confront and potentially overcome depression is key (Hull et al., 2017). In fact, this stigma often leads to further distress for the mentally ill patient. In many workplaces, there is a lack of knowledge on depression and the manner in which it can be handled which makes the desire to disclose the mental health conditions at the workplace even more of a hazard. In the film, the father’s workplace has people who are only interested in his output, not whether his mental health is fine. Similarly, the teachers at the boy’s school have no desire to find out what the individual interests of the boy are. Provided he can copy what he has been told faithfully, his mental health is of little consequence. This apparent ignorance and the possibility of getting stigmatized prevent many mentally ill people from being open with their conditions. It makes mental illness to be for them an issue far beyond just an illness.
Youth Mental Health Matters, Matter
In the animated film provided for this folio, the little boy is extremely affected by issues of mental health. From the outset, he is seen as having no say in his own learning experience. His father has already determined that he will go to school and learn like the other kids. However, his own interest is out there in the city square where a man stands, playing his violin (CGMeetup, 2017). The little boy cranes to have this experience that he loves, but his father dismisses him. In school, the teachers are not kind either. His mental health is in a steady decline. An interesting about this fact is that while his father ought to provide him with the safety net after his struggle in school, he is seen to side with the ones who dismissed the boy. At this point, it can be seen that the mental health issue deteriorates further. The boy has no support system and his withdrawal is seen in the manner he no longer embraces the father and his overall disinterestedness in all things.
In What Does Depression Feel like (Black Dog Institute, 2013), Anne provides a description of what she perceives is the feeling of s depressed person. Her description of depression as a total disassociation from reality in many ways helps to explain the withdrawal that people who are depressed often have and the disinterestedness that they display all the time. Just like the depression experience is different for every individual, the process of recovery as well has to be seen as different, both for the adult and the youth. The movement towards wellness has to be seen as a journey through which the depressed individual has to undergo with the people who support them. For the little boy in the film and his father, the process of recovery has to start with an admission that there are those things they love, and that they must now strive to have. The father has to admit too that there are liberties that he has to accord the young one so that he may avoid a similar path that the father himself has been reduced to.
To sustain the process of recovery for the young one too, what ought to be prioritised is social inclusion and participation (Segal et al. 2018). What cannot be denied is the fact that the youth cannot recover from mental illness without a sustained effort to reintegrate them into the social participation after long spells of withdrawal. It is in the participation where the desire and the approval of peers are found. The young depressed person must therefore undergo a sustained process of inclusion so that their process of recovery is not hit with many problems. Having learnt that ignorance on depression issues is one of the factors that prevent the depressed from coming out and admitting their problem, a strategic manner of inclusion has to start from the victim himself and be reflected in the manner in which they are interested in re-entering the social circle from their spells of sustained withdrawal.
For the youth too, there is an increased need for a positive psychology school-based intervention that enhances mental health and empowers them in their educational settings. It has been observed that these interventions reduce distress, anxiety and depression among young learners. This it does by strengthening the self-esteem, self-efficacy and optimism and reduced interpersonal sensitivity symptoms (Shoshani & Steimetz, 2014)
New thinking for the Health Promotion of self and others
For millions of people around the world, mental disorders have a direct impact on their health. For them then, a new way of thinking has to be a solution to their mental disorders. The desire to be perceived as being as close as possible to the ideal has driven many people (including young people) to the verge of mental illnesses. It is important to think about all these factors while reflecting on new ways of health promotion especially for school-going young learners. This calls on all educators and education stakeholders to make education for well-being an integral part of the school curriculum (Shoshani & Steinmetz, 2014). Gone are the days when instruction in school ought to be driven by external demands of the job market to the total exclusion of what the learner loves. In fact, the interest of the learner has to be made central part of the decision-making process as far as the learning content is concerned.
In the animated film, the young learner gradually slips into a state of depression and sadness because the teacher cannot reconcile the learner’s love for something different with the demands of the school curriculum. What therefore ought to be an engaging, happy, exciting learning experience for the learner turns out to be the worst part of his day. In thinking about how this learning experience can be made better, the educator then has to find ways of bringing in elements of happiness in the classroom. While it would be difficult to teach the young learner to be happy, it is entirely possible to collect exciting learning materials, design content that probes, challenges and excites the young learner (Lee, 2011).
Street et al (2007) talk about the importance of regular physical activity, sport and recreational activities that would change the overall classroom atmosphere. When the young learner in meaningfully engaged in such physical activity, then they would gradually feel included in the learning process because it would be their own effort and workmanship that would determine their success. In addition, having these activities would make them be able to choose what they ae best at and get fully engaged into that chosen activity. This would ultimately make them be in control of their own learning process, eliminating the possibility of developing mental illnesses. Making happiness a priority and thinking of changing the overall classroom atmosphere is instrumental in dealing with the mental health issues that plague young people like the young boy in the animated film.
A new way of thinking would also boost the mental health of learners by considering the wellbeing of the learners. In Australia, there has been a concerted effort to integrate wellbeing into the learning framework of all learners. This has been targeted at female learners who are perceived to have lower levels of wellbeing than their male counterparts. The result has been that learning institutions have introduced wellbeing programs into schools, created new specialist positions for wellbeing and introduced wellbeing coaches to train young learners (Robinson, 2017). With the introduction of programs that integrate the mind, body and spirit, a more cohesive and integrated approach to the learner’s mental health has been embraced.
Addressing the stigma of Mental Health
From schools, workplaces, social gatherings to homes, what is often valued is the ability of the individual to conform and adapt to the social demands of their environment. The most notable forms of mental illness today that include anxiety, depression and eating disorders cause the victims concerned to be stigmatized and excluded from the social circles within which they ought to be inextricably part. Having the victims undergo this type of systemic exclusion because of the mental illnesses they suffer from makes it difficult for the victims to recover and adapt to the desirable social conditions of normalcy (Treasure & Nazar, 2016). It is true that even for most people who do not desire to make their mental health issues public, the fear of stigmatization by their society is what often holds them back. The fear of what people will say, the respect and esteem they would have to take back and the painful journey of recovery is what keeps many from coming out and admitting that they too have a problem.
In the animated film, the father has workmates that desire to see his outcome. It is also true that while his child deviates from the normal in school, the other children and teachers reprimand him and alienate him for being different (CGMeetup, 2017). The father and child at first cannot withstand the impact of this social stigmatization. They have to conform in order to survive. It is notable however that their conformity does nothing but alienate them further, sending them into even deeper episodes of mental illness and confusion. To be liberated, they find it imperative to be brave and not fear what others would think. Their coming out and embracing their desires is the first step towards their liberation from the problems of mental health. The situation also brings to mind the need to teach happiness in the classroom through increasing positive emotion and the relentless pursuit of gratification (Lee, 2011). This would change perceptions.
The stigma that is often associated with mental health issues call to mind an important aspect in making sure that people recover—the need for education of the general population on mental health issues and the need to embrace such people and help them recover. It has often been argued that sometimes, people are not even aware that what they perceive to be normal reactions to situations are in fact, demonstrations of mental ill health. The goal of any mental health remedy is to restore the individual to be socially productive again and facilitate their inclusion into the society. An education is therefore required of the society so that they may be responsive to the mental health demands of such people and help their carers in offering them the help they need to overcome the mental health issues that bedevil them (Thornicroft et al. 2007). The issue of stigma goes beyond the specific mental illnesses. It strikes at the ability at the reintegration of the mentally ill into a society that has harmful views, for instance on body weight, as its ideal. This is so much so that the crave for this ideal, coupled with the fear of being ridiculed and stigmatised for failing to get at it, is what drives many to despair.
It is true that mental health goes beyond simple illness. It encompasses the mental mind-set and beliefs that have demonstrable impacts on the stability or instability of one’s mental status. The animated film has demonstrated in subtle ways the manner in which one can grow from a position of good mental health, deteriorate into mental ill health and begin the steep climb back to normalcy again. From it, it is seen how mental health issues begin as simple stressors, develop to anxiety and even episodes of depression for the people concerned. The personal nature of mental health issues has also been illuminated within the five modules. What this implied therefore was that just like mental health illnesses present different people with different signs, managing them also calls for the carers and the society to individually understand victims in order to successfully reintegrate them into those societies. It has also been seen that one of the key stumbling blocks to successful inclusion and reintegration of the mentally ill is the stigmatization that is practised by a large section of the society. People who suffer from mental illnesses like eating disorders are plagued by the problem of stigma, and overcoming this then proves to be a masterstroke in dealing with the mental health issues that surround us all.
Black Dog Institute (Apr 17, 2013). Anne: What Depression feel like, [YouTube]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nh6XsDGFT
CGMeetup (Jan 8, 2017). CGI Animated short film HD “Alike” by Daniel Martinez Lara and Rafa Cano Mendez, [YouTube]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDHIyrfMl_U
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Hull, M. J., Fennell, K. M., Vallury, K., Jones, M., & Dollman, J. (2017). A comparison of barriers to mental health support‐seeking among farming and non‐farming adults in rural South Australia. Australian journal of rural health, 25(6), 347-353.
Lee, T. (2011). Can Happiness be taught? Yes it can, Teacher, 2011(222).
Robinson, N. (Aug 27, 2017). Australian Schools turn spotlight on wellbeing in bid to tackle student anxiety. News. Retrieved from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-27/school-system-turns-spotlight-on-wellbeing-mental-health/8846596
Segal, L., Guy, S., & Furber, G. (2018). What is the current level of mental health service delivery and expenditure on infants, children, adolescents, and young people in Australia?. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 52(2), 163-172.
Shoshani, A., & Steinmetz, S. (2014). Positive psychology at school: A school-based intervention to promote adolescents’ mental health and well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies: An Interdisciplinary Forum on Subjective Well-Being, 15(6), 1289–1311. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-013-9476-1
Street, G., James, R., Cutt, H., (2007). The relationship between organised physical recreation and mental health. Health Promot J Austr. 18(3):236-9. doi: 10.1071/he07236. PMID: 18201167.
Thornicroft, G., Rose, D., Kassam, A. and Sartorius, N. (2007) Stigma: ignorance, prejudice or discrimination? British Journal of Psychiatry, 190, 192-193. doi 10.1192/bjp.bp.106.02579
Treasure, J., & Nazar, B. P. (2016). Interventions for the carers of patients with eating disorders. Current Psychiatry Reports, 18, 16. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-015-0652-3