The Mental Festival aims to bring mental health into public discussion through culture and the arts, “to break the stigma and promote literacy”. The fifth edition will take place from May 20th to 23rd at the Cinema São Jorge in Lisbon. In summer it will arrive in the theaters of Funchal, Ponta Delgada and Castelo de Vide in an adapted format.
“People go to the doctor for anything and everything, except when they are under psychological stress that is as natural as a broken leg. We see it as something that only happens to others because of stigma, shame, prejudice and illiteracy, ”says Ana Pinto Coelho, festival director and therapist who specializes in chemical and behavioral supplements. According to the curator, culture is the way to reach people and bring them into a pleasant, positive environment like a theater.
In this issue, the topics highlighted will be depression, somatization, and environmental anxiety, which the American Psychological Association defines as a chronic fear of environmental degradation that particularly affects the youngest. “Young people are not crazy or fundamentalist, they are seriously worried and that creates brutal fear,” defends Ana Pinto Coelho. “They are more conscious, more intelligent, are interested in the world and others, which earlier generations weren’t. We were in colors for the environment, for animals, for each other. “
The festival organization appeals to all directors who want to deal with the topic of mental health and invites you to submit films on the FilmFreeWay platform until March 27th. The selected works will be shown in M-Cinema, the international short film of the Mental exhibition.
Films of up to 70 minutes produced after 2016 are accepted in the documentary, fiction, and animation categories. The jury of Mental 2021 consists of the director Catarina Belo, the film critic Rui Henriques Coimbra, the psychologist Maria João Barros, who represents the Ordem dos Psicólogos, and another guest member.
The festival program includes events devoted not only to cinema, but also to music, dance, theater and literature, as well as debates and round tables. Mental Júnior and Mental Jovem are dedicated to the youngest, “because it’s also about talking about mental health [importante] for the little ones, especially in a year like the one we’re going through, ”Safe Space Portugal, producer of the festival, said in a statement.
Mental is produced by Safe Space Portugal, a non-profit organization, and the National Mental Health Program of the Directorate-General for Health. The full rules for submitting and selecting films can be found here.