Why make a story about mental health? In Africa??
It’s often the first question I get when talking about my work on this film. The answer is this: I believe in the power of storytelling as the bullet that ignites consciousness. And I believe that like people in this country who are suffering from mental illness, Africans have the right to effective treatment and a life free of stigma and discrimination.
That’s why I traveled to Liberia in 2011 with director Ben Niles to document the graduation of the country’s first locally-trained mental health workers. Before then I’d never really thought about mental health as an issue in Africa, a continent weighted with so many pressing problems. But the facts are startling: the WHO ranks depression as one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide, particularly in post-war countries like Liberia. Why aren’t we talking more about this? Why aren’t any celebrities embracing the cause? Over time I became both inspired and incensed, a sentiment which became the catalyst for this film.
STILL WE RISE is much more than an expose of the mental health crisis crippling developing nations. It’s an inspiring, hopeful look at a few courageous nurses who are working to treat a problem the world still lacks the willpower to tackle. And when we’re finished with the film, we’ll leverage it to raise awareness of the global mental health problem and efforts to address it. Thanks to all of you who are helping us get there.
— Molly Knight Raskin