Not your average infomercial
While most infomercials are aimed at enticing viewers to buy specific products, Mulat: A Mental Health Awareness Campaign has a loftier goal. Conceptualized and produced by the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health (ASMPH) Class of 2019, the infomercials tackle one of the most neglected and stigmatized health concerns in the country: mental health.
“The stigma on mental health is evident in our society. This is true even among health professionals,” said Jerahmeel Mapili, a member of Batch 2019. Individuals suffering from mental health illnesses like clinical depression and bipolar/anxiety disorders, not only need treatment but support from society, he said. “Learning these diseases in the classroom is one thing; getting the public to shed the stigma is a whole different challenge.”
Using alternative media to raise awareness on medical issues is nothing new to the batch. Two years ago, they produced their first advocacy film “Mga Kwentong Tsubibo” which discussed the inefficiencies of the Philippine health care system. While the film was born out of the batch’s aspiration to push the envelope and make a bigger impact on the public, the infomercials were created as class presentations.
“It was made as an academic requirement under our Psychiatry Module headed by Dr. Michelle Marinas. However, when we viewed the videos in class, we decided to release them online because a Mental Health Law is now being pushed in the Senate and Congress,” Mapili said. The proposed Mental Health Act or Senate Bill No. 1190 aims to include mental health services and programs in the public health system.
In less than 2 weeks, the batch produced 6 infomercials on the following themes: suicide, bipolar disorder, depression, stress in the workplace, bullying, and substance abuse.
“As a batch, what we, ASMPH 2019, strive to achieve through this is active action towards being more aware about the issues and to be more proactive towards discussing these issues and hopefully, in the end, looking for solutions. It is time we started to listen; it is time we start to talk,” Mapili said.