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The One Apple Film Festival is taking place in conjunction with the annual Mental Health Art Works! [MHAW] exhibition. MHAW, run by the Central Coast Mental Health Service, is now in its 17th year and has strong community support for its mission to showcase the effectiveness of the arts in mental illness. The arts, when engaged with in a focused way, as is promoted by MHAW, provide ways for individuals with lived experience of mental illness to portray their inner worlds – they literally provide insight into the workings of their minds.
The name of the One Apple Film Festival is inspired by a quote by Dr. Daniel Dorman – ‘‘If even one apple fell up, wouldn’t we at least have to begin to question the laws of physics?’ This quote is the basic tenet of a documentary, Beyond The Medical Model [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4clx6f8fiQ], produced by Western Mass Recovery Learning Community. The film beautifully and intelligently presents the stories of many upwards-falling apples who recovered from severe mental health crises.
The main thrust of the One Apple Film Festival is on understanding mental illness from the wide variety of available perspectives, including: pharmacological, medical, psychiatric; cross-cultural; as initiation; different therapeutic frameworks; involving neuroplasticity, etc. An additional emphasis is on the possibility and actuality of recovery from both mental illness and addictions – that many who DO in fact recover from these states have an enhanced view of the potential and capabilities of their minds/brains/psyches. Providing a platform for people – both consumers and professionals – to discuss these issues allows for a more equal exchange of information, viewpoints, than may be generally available.
As I’m sure you’re aware there is ongoing and heated debate re. the nature of mental illness, the advances that have been made in diagnostic tools but also the potential for misdiagnosis via the DSM-V, differing viewpoints re. antipsychotic medications etc. Due to the dire consequences of a mental illness misdiagnosis, we believe it’s therefore important for practitioners from differing viewpoints to come together and discuss the issues involved so that consumers and their families can benefit from information from both ends of the spectrum.
With the increase in mental illness, addictions, dual diagnoses in our world today, comes a greater need for education around these issues so that suffering does not beget more suffering. The best example I’ve ever seen of people with conflicting viewpoints setting aside their differences and coming together for the greater good was The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management which held public meetings in the UK in 2006. The recognition was that ‘we have a grave problem and it’s not going to be solved by people separating into opposing camps and throwing ideological rocks at each other so we need to engage with stakeholders who would not ordinarily come together, weigh up the evidence and come up with solutions.’