Suicide in Rural Australia Gets a Voice in THE INVISIBLE EDGE
A recurring theme in mental health-centric films that we’ve covered here on the blog is the difficulty of maintaining mental wellness in rural communities.
We’ve seen films that explore the epidemic of suicide in rural Alaska and–more recently– one that portrays the struggle for mental wellness in the small, aboriginal communities of North America. While small, remote towns certainly have their charm, their residents often face a more daunting challenge managing mental illnesses where stigma runs strong and treatment is hard to come by.
In filmmaker Ian Thomson’s forthcoming short The Invisible Edge, the issue of suicide in rural Australia is brought to life through the story of two adult brothers who must navigate their complex relationship through a difficult time. Thomson, who lost two male cousins and a close friend’s son to suicide, was inspired to use film as a way to open a conversation around the stigma that often surrounds men in rural communities who need help maintaining their mental health.
“The problem, particularly for men, seems that there is still stigma associated with interacting with mental health services,” says Thomson in an interview with abc.net. “They can be embarrassed and don’t want people to look over their shoulders and see they are looking at a website for mental health services, or catch them walking in to a counselling session. We’re asking: Can a creative project be used as a link between those in need and those who can provide?”
The first in what will be a trilogy of mental health-themed shorts, The Invisible Edge is currently seeking crowdfunding to bring it to completion. Thomson and producer James Cogwell hope the films and its companion website will serve as a bridge between rural youth and the information and mental health services they need.
“We hope that through storytelling we can connect those in need with the information, services and resources that can help them,” said Cogswell to abc.net.
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