World Mental Health Day, Free Movie Screening, and Oh, My Anniversary

Fifteen years ago when we became a blended family

Fifteen years ago when we became a blended family

My friend, Bob Carolla, at the National Alliance on Mental Illness, asked me to make you aware of World Mental Health Day, which is today – October 10th.  That also happens to be my wedding anniversary!  I’m happy  to promote World Mental Health Day and even happier to be celebrating another year with my fabulous partner, Patti, who is as concerned about improving our mental health care system as I am. I’m spending our anniversary this year in Ann Arbor, Michigan, speaking to a NAMI group, but I will be home soon to celebrate. 

Taking on the World: Free Global  Movie Screening


On World Mental Health Day, NAMI will participate in the Global Web Screening of Hidden Pictures, and award-winning new film about global mental health. Tune in any time on Oct. 10 at to watch Hidden Pictures and join a global dialogue about mental health issues.

By Bob Carolla, NAMI Director of Media Relations

“Think globally, act locally.”

The slogan has long been associated with the environmental movement, but also applies to efforts to improve the lives of people living with mental illness. Common issues exist among nations and peoples, as well as differences.

In observance of World Mental Health Day, Thurs., Oct. 10, a free online Global Screening Event will be held for Hidden Pictures: A Personal Journey into Global Mental Health by Seattle filmmaker, physician and mental health advocate. Delaney Ruston, M.D.

The documentary can be streamed from its website anytime in the 24 hour window that begins on Oct. 10 at 1:00 a.m. Pacific time (3:00 a.m. Eastern). Individuals are encouraged to circulate advance notice about the on-line screening through email lists and social media.

The film looks at individuals and families affected by mental illness in Africa, China, France, India and the United States. Stigma and the need for greater access to treatment and care are major themes, framed against colorful, emotionally powerful backgrounds.

Approximately 450 million people live with mental illness worldwide. About 800,000 die from suicide, mostly in low and middle income countries—where as many as 85 percent of people living with severe mental illness receive no treatment. In high income countries, the figure is as high as 65 percent. Global spending on mental health is less than two dollars per year.

In South Africa, included in the film, there are only 25,000 modern physicians compared to 200,000 traditional healers. In 2012, NAMI published a guest blog by Ruston, Go Away Evil, which includes a five-minute video on South Africa.

WHO Mental Health Action Plan

In May, the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted a mental health action plan for 2013-2020 that sets four major goals:

  • Strengthen effective leadership and governance.
  • Provide integrated, responsive mental health and social care services in community-based settings.
  • Implement strategies for promotion and prevention in mental health
  • Strengthen information systems, evidence and research

Almost 2,000 delegates from 194 countries adopted the plan. Its formal launch is scheduled for Oct. 7 in Geneva.

The plan’s goals are not unlike challenges the United States currently faces. But WHO has set specific targets: a 20 percent increase in services coverage and a 10 percent reduction in suicides overall by 2020.

Is the world ready to make the investments necessary to achieve them?

Is the United States willing to be so bold?

The Dublin Declaration: Family Rights

Shortly before the WHO action, the European Federation of Families of People with Mental Illness (EUFAMI) met in Ireland to mark its 20th anniversary. Approximately 200 delegates from 21 European countries adopted a “Dublin Declaration” to assert the central role of family members as equal partners in mental health care as part of the vision for 2020.

Financial and emotional support from state authorities is a major theme in the declaration, particularly with regard to coping skills

“Depression amongst families is increasing and much is going un-diagnosed,” the declaration noted. “The need for families and care[givers] to recover from the experience and trauma of mental illness must be formally recognized and services provided.”

Public Screenings

WHO will screen Hidden Pictures in Geneva in conjunction with World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10 and its formal mental health action plan launch. Almost 100 screenings in 15 countries are anticipated.

In the United States, World Mental Health Day coincides with Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), Oct. 6-12 and provides an opportunity for in-person public screenings on Oct. 10 or other dates.

Organizations wishing to hold “in-person” public screenings and discussions of how global issues parallel local needs can arrange to download the film by requesting a special link from Dr. Ruston (See email address below). Please indicate the date and place that the screening will be held—with an assurance that the film will not be shared with others (including in emails or web posts). The film will need to be downloaded onto a laptop and used with an LCD projector and speakers.

For more information, promotional tools or a discussion guide, please feel free to contact Dr. Ruston at For technical questions involving website streaming or downloads, please contact Rachel Burns at

About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.