Kwetu Film Institute (KFI) has launched three local films that will help to educate Rwandan youths about accepting and managing their mental health as the state of mental wellness becomes an issue of concern in the country.
The 3 films, directed by Rwandans and produced by KFI, University of Lincoln and Uyisenga Ni Manzi organisation under the Umva visualisation Peace project, will be officially screened at Hotel des Mille Collines this Thursday.
The films are designed on three themes of Mental health in families, in school and on the streets.
These include “My Poem” (challenge of a young school girl who cannot be understood by peers and teachers) – directed by Emmanuel Mugawaneza,”Sand on the Hill (on family related mental health challenges)- directed by Leila Izabayo, “Inkuru Yanjye” (my story) of a mistreated young girl who ends up on the streets- directed by Jean de la Croix (JDC) Mutangana- of which the latter deals specifically with trauma.
Eric Kabera, the KFI Director said that the KFI is an film institution which has joined hands with the government of Rwanda to address the issues around mental healthcare.
“We are not scientists or doctors but we use the tools we have to actually contribute to our society in terms of getting mental health awareness across, be it in Kigali, in the country and across the world,” Kabera said.
Kabera stated that the movies are not for entertainment but films that will bring together stakeholders, policy makers to understand the magnitude and take decisions on issues around mental health.
The film screening will also be followed by a stakeholder’s symposium which is expected to bring together the government, civil society organisations, experts and youth to discuss potential policy actions arising from the three themes.
Kabera revealed that the films will not only be screened in Kigali, but across the country for free and will be offered copyright free to different organisations in the mental health sector to use them in educating more Rwandans.
Through the Umva visualisation Peace project, KFI is also expected to produce an academic article and training manual encompassing curriculum and a practical workshop design (art-based methodology) that will be used by other interested organisations to train more citizens.
Dr. Rutakayile Bizoza, a Psychotherapist and Psychiatrist at Ndera Neuropsychiatric Teaching Hospital says that the problem of mental health is at a high risk among the youth in Rwanda and actions needs to be taken to reduce the drug abuse risks which dominate the main causes of mental health complications.
The 2018 Rwanda Mental Health Survey found that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is eight-fold more prevalent among Genocide survivors compared to the general population (27.9% vs 3.6%).
The research also shows PTSD as the second leading cause of mental disorders behind depression (35.0 %) and at least one of five Rwandans have a mental health condition.
The research also shows that mental disorders among youth aged 14—18 years are at 10.2%.
Leila Izabayo, a KFI film director, producer, and script writer says that her film (Sand on the Hill) is aimed to help society to open up on mental health wellness starting from the family.