World Mental Health Day shines a light on mental health experiences, and this year’s focus is around increasing investment in mental health services. As we live through the impacts of Covid-19, community, sensitivity and resilience together, plus sharing experiences and offering solidarity become all the more important.

Many of us are grieving the lives we used to have, lost family or friends, lost jobs or roles, learning how to cope in isolation. Now, more than ever, we must recognise the importance of mental health, how it is intrinsically connected to our physical health, and how we can care for ourselves and each other through a time of increased anxiety, fear and sorrow.

The World Health Organization, United for Global Mental Health and the World Federation for Mental Health issued a press release calling for greater recognition of the need for support services, citing:

“Mental health is one of the most neglected areas of public health. Close to 1 billion people are living with a mental disorder, 3 million people die every year from the harmful use of alcohol and one person dies every 40 seconds by suicide. And now, billions of people around the world have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is having a further impact on people’s mental health.

“Yet, relatively few people around the world have access to quality mental health services. In low- and middle-income countries, more than 75% of people with mental, neurological and substance use disorders receive no treatment for their condition at all. Furthermore, stigma, discrimination, punitive legislation and human rights abuses are still widespread.”

Often misrepresented, mental health stories on screen can add to stigma around mental health conditions. Taking opportunities to raise awareness, and supporting education, cinemas across the UK are screening films to broaden understanding about mental health experiences, and ignite important discussions about how we look after each other.

Specific releases to look out for include: