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British Nigerian Actor and Filmmaker Dami Adeyeye, shares the concept and purpose behind his debut documentary on mental health in the black community

The new documentary, A Dark Mind, from British Nigerian actor and filmmaker Dami Adeyeye, explores the struggles of mental health within the black community. The documentary address stereotypes, limitations and pressures that ethnic minorities have to face in today’s society.

A Dark Mind sheds light onto mental health issues, addresses and gives clarity to the stigmas, their origins, and the reason why eradicating stigmas is so important. In the documentary, the stigmas that people in the Black community hold and are struggling to overcome are addressed from both those who have suffered with mental illnesses and Black mental health professionals. The aim of this approach enables the different factors to be identified and any trends between them to be unveiled; in this, a better picture of the issues regarding Black mental health can be built. Dami Adeyeye hopes the film creates an open discussion that can serve as a tool to dismantle the stigmas and discrepancies between the Black community and health services.

The film includes interviews of six participants from African-Caribbean background who have suffered from mental illness. They focus on their own experiences of mental health within the community and the specific stigmas they have faced. The film also interviews four professionals who are active workers in the mental heath sector and also of African-Caribbean backgrounds. The professionals shed light on the stigmas they often encounter with patients or recipients of their care, and give clarity on how those stigmas have been harmful to the community.

Director and Producer of A Dark Mind, Dami Adeyeye commented: “Last year I found myself in the darkest place I think I had encountered all of my life; I was without a job and without purpose. Looking back, I didn’t realise that I was suffering with depression, I was going through the motions, and found myself isolated from my family and friends. I went to my parent’s house for a couple of days to recuperate. I didn’t have anything to do, so I revisited an idea I had years ago with my sister, to make a film on male suicide.”

“Later that day, it came to me again. God was speaking to me, telling me to make a film on mental health in the Black community. But not just any film from my own experiences, a documentary that focuses on the stories of those in our community. I had not yet even started addressing my own mental health issues, but for some reason it felt right to get a group of young black people together to share their stories. Creating A Dark Mind has shed light on how I can manage my own mental wellbeing in a healthier way.”

“As stated above, I feel there needs to be a greater conversation within our community so that:

  1. The people that do suffer from mental ill health know they are not alone.
  2. For people to have a better understanding on mental health issues and be better suited to helping those who are in need; this includes family, friends and health professionals.”

Due to the stereotypes, limitations and pressures placed on the community as a minority, Adeyeye says people need to be able to address and better their mental health in order to succeed as a community.

To view the trailer for A Dark Mind and to find out more, please click here

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