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A psychological drama about a woman trapped in her home by a teenage boy, “Black Eyed Susan,” starring Denise Welch has been awarded the best short drama at a film festival in the United States. It is a very personal success for Welch who has admitted to battling depression for nearly 30 years. The 15-minute film produced by Welch is part of a series called “#oktosay” that features people from different walks of life talking about how they overcame their mental health problems.
The 58-year-old “Loose Women” star, who has been keen to bring mental illness into the spotlight, admitted to never really seeing it portrayed on television or in a film in the way she actually felt it should have been. When searching for other celebrities who battled the same illness, Welch could not find any celebrities speaking about the disease. “When I first started speaking out about how I felt, and how I feel sometimes, I was a lone voice in the wilderness. Nobody else on the telly was speaking out,” she said.
The actor has also struggled with alcohol addiction in the past and still suffers from episodes. Speaking on this, Welch says that she is much kinder to herself during those times. Although being on medication, the actor has admitted to having stopped drinking and adopting a healthier lifestyle.
Welch has been a fantastic advocate for mental health in recent years. According to the actor, the kind of mental breakdown she had experienced could happen to anyone. In an effort to encourage others in a similar position to seek help, she has now joined forces with mental health charity Heads Together.
Lucky to have a supportive family, says Welch
Speaking to the OK! Magazine, the mother of two credited her family for supporting her through her mental illness and said that she was extremely lucky as her family knew from day one that she suffered from a serious psychiatric disorder.
Welch especially credits her husband Lincoln Townley as being the go-to person and her safety blanket. According to her, Lincoln had always been there for her and that he dealt with it in the most perfect way possible. “When I’m poorly, the person I gravitate to is Lincoln, because he knows how to be with me,” she said.
Film-based interventions: Effective tool in reducing stigma
Mental illness is a term that is used to describe mood disorders and psychotic illnesses including depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia. Although mental illnesses are manageable with timely care, they form part of conditions that are profoundly affected by disease-associated stigma. Often the negative effects of mental illness-related stigma outweigh the harmful effects of the illness itself. According to research, public stigma can have severe damaging effects on people suffering from a mental illness.
Amongst the different interventions utilized in reducing public stigma, education about mental illness and social contact with those affected with the disorder have been found to be the most effective. As logistical issues make it impossible to achieve a direct social contact with individuals with mental illnesses, films featuring individuals with such illness have shown to have similar stigma-reducing effects as education efforts and direct social contact.
Film-based interventions have shown positive effects on mental health-related stigma. Some of the Hollywood movies that effectively portray mental illness include Interrupted (1999), Jacob’s Ladder (1990), Melancholia (2011) and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993).
Help at hand
If you know someone who is suffering from any kind of mental ailment, contact the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline to find the right line of treatment for mental health illnesses. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-653-8178 or chat online to know more about mental health and mental disorders or to know about one of the finest mental health facilities near you.