New TV Series Focuses on Mental Health in Cambodia

It can be difficult to craft a television series that can handle a topic such as mental health in a sensitive yet engaging way.

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And don’t even get me started on the correct way to approach the intersection of “cops” and “rock.”

The creative team behind Come Together Films Cambodia is taking mental health advocacy into their own hands with their forthcoming new series Behind the Glass Door. A serious look at mental wellness and stigma in Cambodia, the series centers around two mental health professionals working a mental health center whose relationship is challenged by the struggles of the patients they treat.

“We really wanted to shine the spotlight on mental health in Cambodia, because it’s a topic we think is very important and one that is rarely ever addressed in film and media in Cambodia,” said Deependra Gauchan, creative director at ComeTogether Films and advisor to Cambodia’s Department of Cinema, in a statement. “We want to show and demystify what mental illness is in a sensitive yet entertaining way so that it doesn’t stay hidden.”

Mental health issues are most definitely pressing throughout Cambodia: a report from the World Health Organization states that four out of every 100 Cambodians live with depression, yet only 9.3 per cent of the country’s health centers offer mental health treatment. However, the Cambodian Ministry of Health has declared that 50 per cent of centers will offer mental health services by the year 2020.

Behind the Glass Door aims to be a part of the mental health movement in Cambodia, a country where many have turned to arts and entertainment to heal the after-effects of the Khmer Rouge regime and the PTSD and substance abuse that followed as a result. The ComeTogether team hopes to inspire Cambodian filmmakers to continue to express themselves and explore mental health issues through art.

“We’re really focusing on pushing the envelope and trying our best to help develop the film industry here by getting more young actors, directors and filmmakers involved in our process,” said Gauchan. “We hope that through this collaborative initiative, we will inspire and provide hands-on experience for local filmmakers to make good films.”

Behind the Glass door is slated to air in the spring.

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