By Thepfuchanuo Kire, a Changing the Story filmmaker from Nagaland, India.
My case study describes the current prevailing mental health issues faced by the youth in Nagaland and how different art-based civil society organizations are playing a role in helping the youth.
Fulfilling “Changing the story” project’s aims and objectives, four arts based organizations (one from Dimapur and three from Kohima) mostly dealing with the wellbeing of the youth in the state were approached and interviewed. Pre-set questions were prepared to understand how these organizations through their art and creative approach reach out to the youth. A different set of questions were also set for interviewing the youths engaging in these activities. Each interview was filmed and recorded to create a short documentary.
Through this study I found that each organization has their own unique approach to engaging the youth. Organization like “Serendip Guardians” shared their struggles as one of the only nonprofit organizations working in the area of mental health. The members were quite glad to be a part of “Changing the story” project as they believe that mental health is still one of the most neglected issues in the state. Thus, they hope that through the documentary we produced people can become more aware of the mental health situation in Nagaland and at the same time feel the need to give more importance to the area of their concerned work.
Another nonprofit organization “EDITI “(Entrepreneurship Development and Integrated Training Institute), with an aim to reach out and strengthen livelihood security for the rural poor women and school dropout girls, believes that their beneficiaries go through a number of hardships in their life that affects their mental wellbeing. Thus through our documentary, they were happy to show their humble story of how they were determined to empower these women through their various arts and skill development trainings. The other two organizations, “The Art Village” and “GoCA”(Gallery of Contemporary Art) were young art enthusiasts who have a very positive and strong belief that creating art is one of the most soothing and effective means of keeping their mind healthy. They happily came forward for an interview to share their passion for creating art and to convey the valuable message of how art can be one of the healthy coping mechanisms for anyone who may be undergoing some negative mental health issues.
The documentary provides a few practical insights into how different forms of art based civil society organizations can contribute to enhance the quality of life for the youth and at the same time ensuring their mental wellbeing.
Watch ‘A State of Mental Wellbeing Through Art’ below: