by Francesca Cano
Last Friday, March 3, 2017, Ateneans gathered to attend Lente, Ateneo Gabay’s annual film showing and synthesis event held at the P & G Lecture Hall. Aiming to inform students about the social realities in the country and allow them to realize how they can be agents of change in society, this year’s Lente was about mental health. After a short prayer and introduction by hosts Igor Garcia and Iris De Castro, the audience first viewed Tzadik, an animated short about depression. The next animated short about social anxiety, Reminiscence, was then followed by, Out of Bounds, which tackled OCD and agoraphobia.
Each animated short was compelling, presenting realistic depictions of the subject matter that allowed viewers to think about the complexity of mental health and the challenges faced by those who are mentally ill. After each animated short, the audience divided themselves into small groups to discuss what they had just watched, guided by questions provided to them as they entered the venue. The hosts then facilitated a discussion among the whole audience, allowing volunteers to share their personal experiences and opinions about both the animated short and the mental illness that it tackled. All of those who shared contributed both their knowledge and their insights about the topics, deepening the discourse on mental health.
The film viewing and processing were then followed by a Q & A with Ms. Sofia Lina, a counselling psychologist and Director for Public Workshops and Seminars at the Ateneo Bulatao Center who generously gave her time after such short notice when Ms. YL De Castro was unable to attend. Speaking with personal experience from years as a therapist as well as a psychology teacher at the Ateneo de Manila University, she readily answered many questions from the audience about identifying and coping with mental illnesses, helping friends who struggle with their mental health, raising awareness, and more.
She explained mental health in ways that were easy for the audience to understand and gave invaluable insights; regarding helping loved ones: “When you have friends like that who reach out to you and then all they do is like [ugh] ‘Everything’s bad,’ it’s like they’re ranting or expressing it, maybe that’s what they need at that moment, and if they will not be convinced, then maybe all they wanted was your support. So, you don’t have to be responsible for that, maybe you already served a purpose of the support that they need at that moment.” After thanking Ms. Sofia and everyone who attended, the event came to a close, successfully allowing the students to think critically about mental health and become advocates of mental health awareness, prevention, and treatment.
Project Head: Liz Ibrahim
Logistics: Vince Quebral
Programs: Darwin Tesion
Promotions: Calum Labrador and Mikaela Montano
Secretariat: Rustin Cagumbay
Finance: Andrei Triz Patupat