Awareness surrounding mental health in Nigeria is finally starting to spread. While mental illness used to be met with dismissal or an unending session of prayers and fasting, today, the topic is starting to be given its much-deserved attention.
Nigerians have always been able to think outside the box, and the growth of our movie industry is proof of this. Our creative directing, stories and box-office numbers are starting to shine through. In addition to the growth we are witnessing, filmmakers have started telling stories surrounding mental health in a bid to educate the average Nigerian. Watch four short films that depict the struggle with mental illness in Nigeria.
1. Oga John
This beautifully-shot film takes us on a journey with a young lady, Alero who struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder. The movie ends with Alero finding help in the most unexpected place, subtly showing how you can care for people. The Tolu Ajayi-directed movie is beautifully written by Oje Ojeaga, for the Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative, an NGO concerned with mental health awareness and suicide prevention in Nigeria.
2. Room 314
This 27-minute long film directed by Niyi Akinmolayan was released in 2016. In the movie, psychiatrist Dr. Stone attends to four completely different patients who share a connection. His patients range from a sex worker to a priest. The short film debunks the stereotypes surrounding seeking help from psychiatrists.
Directed by Folawewo Aiyegbusi, Woman follows a couple who struggle after experiencing a miscarriage. As the man turns to physical and emotional abuse, the woman sinks into depression as a result.
4. Heart Cry
Heart Cry is a moving short film by Nigerian-American filmmaker, Sylaz Ud’ee. The 8-minute short follows the story of a man who sinks into depression after an accident kills his wife and leaves him paralyzed. Going through depression, he shuts everyone out including his daughter.
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