Film Recognises Depression in Urban Indigenous Communities

Depression and anxiety support organisation BeyondBlue has released a short film created to help indigenous people in urban communities raise awareness and recognise depression.

Beyondblue collaborated with The Aboriginal Medical Service of Western Sydney and producers, isee-ilearn, to develop the script and produce the film Story for Keeping Strong, which was launched in Western Sydney.

“We are pleased to have funded this very important project and we hope the film raises awareness of how to talk to someone who might be depressed and assist them to get appropriate help," she said.

Beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell AO said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who lived with psychological stress, especially depression and anxiety, may not recognise it or talk to family, friends or a health professional about their symptoms.

Beyondblue Indigenous and Priority Communities Team Leader Nell Angus said Story for Keeping Strong featured a conversation about depression between members of an extended family - a young Aboriginal man talks with two Elders, an Aunt and a young Aboriginal woman.

“The project took 12 months to complete with the first step being to establish a story development group, and the group members defined what depression looks like for them, their family and their community,” she said.

“Based on this consultation, the group discussed the things that disconnect people, families and communities and the things that bring them together to start healing.

“These ideas of a family discussion became the foundation of the story. It is a family conversation about reconnecting to life and community that could be happening in your neighbour’s home.”

The voices of five members of the Western Sydney Aboriginal community were recorded to tell the stories and their photographs taken as the basis for the animation.

Uncle Dennis Dunn, a Wiradjuri Elder and a ‘star’ in the short film, said he felt positive in helping to develop the story because it related to his people within the urban community of the Western Sydney region.

“The film is so culturally-appropriate to many clans within our communities and it is understood by the community,” he said.

“As an Aboriginal Elder, I am often asked, ‘How often do I visit an Aboriginal community?’ and I reply ‘every single day’ as the majority of people think that Aboriginal communities only exist in rural or remote areas.

“Personally, it shows you how invisible our communities are to the people who live and work side by side with us.

“I feel proud when working with people, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, who care about our mob and who help to bring change for our people.”

Watch the clip.

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