The SAFMH Presents Speak Your Mind feature documentary is part of a global initiative called the Speak Your Mind (SYM) Campaign. We are excited to share this documentary with you and see it as a useful advocacy resource for more resources for community-based mental health care, especially after COVID-19.
What is the Speak Your Mind Campaign?
SYM is a nationally driven and globally united campaign, advocating for ending the silence around mental health. This campaign aims to put pressure on governments to invest in, educate, and empower people so citizens have the support and resources for looking after their mental health. SYM is an initiative of United for Global Mental Health a UK-based not-for-profit organisation, founded to create a united, worldwide effort for greater action in global mental health. The South African Federation for Mental Health (SAFMH) has been honoured to be the country lead for SYM South Africa.
Speak Your Mind Campaign in South Africa
As part of its SYM activities, SAFMH facilitated a community engagement filming project in collaboration with community-based mental health organisation affiliates across the country.
The project aimed to capture the voices of mental health advocates from these organisations and mental health care users to:
- Raise awareness about important community issues pertaining to mental health,
- Advocate for increased mental health resourcing, and
- Amplify the voices of mental health care users during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project started with the production of mini-documentaries, capturing the voices of mental health care users and showcasing the work of a number of mental health organisations, including contributions from Mpumalanga, KZN, Gauteng, the Eastern, Western and Northern Cape.
Key themes that emerged from the mini-documentaries included:
- The need for greater investment in mental health services, particularly government’s commitment to mental health and the role of community-based mental health service providers.
- The importance of ensuring equality, inclusion and human rights of mental health care users.
- COVID-19 had a profound impact on the mental health of everyone, including mental health care users.
- Community-based mental health service providers responded to and helped mitigate these challenges caused by COVID-19, despite a lack of financial and human resources.
In October 2021, the project concluded with the production of the “SAFMH Presents Speak Your Mind” documentary, which captured and consolidated these themes and added a national perspective from SAFMH.
It is hoped that the video will help highlight the ongoing challenges that mental health care users continue to face in South Africa as well as the innovative and person-centred work being done by community-based mental health service providers, despite challenges related to funding and resources.
Lastly, as COVID-19 has to a certain degree normalised the mental health conversation, SAFMH hopes that this video will make a meaningful contribution towards amplifying important voices from the South African mental health sector.
“Looking back at the finished product, I am thrilled about the outcome. The video is the culmination of 18 months of intensive work. The themes that emerged are all of extreme importance, both for persons with lived experiences and organisations working with them on a daily basis in South Africa. For me, the experience to go on camera, add my perspectives and continue the fight for improved mental health for all South Africans in this way was extremely cathartic. I hope that everyone who views the video will find something useful or something that they can related to in it, because mental health affects us all”.
– Leon de Beer (SAFMH Deputy Director)
Watch the full film below.