Mennonite-backed film helps lift silence on depression

By staff writers
August 15, 2006

Mennonite-backed film helps lift silence on depression

-15/08/06

A documentary film about living with mental health problems which has been made by a Mennonite media company in North America is achieving record sales across the USA ñ and helping people find new hope in the face of personal darkness.

An example is Yolonda Kelsor of Nicholasville, Kentucky, USA, who has battled depression since the age of 15. Her father was an embalmer for a funeral home; her mother was a teacher, and Kelsor said depression was just one of those things no one ever talked about, in spite of her mother also suffering to the point of being hospitalized.

Ms Kelsor felt rejected, and she ended up marrying men who were a lot like her father. One was addicted to alcohol, the second to work. The cycle of despair continued.

Mennonite Mission Network reports that Ms Kelsor is one of thousands who have viewed ëShadow Voices: Finding Hope in Mental Illnessí off-air ñ through dozens of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) affiliates across the United States.

The documentary by Mennonite Media aired in December 2005 and January 2006 on ABC affiliates (at their discretion), but endorsement and use by the National Alliance on Mental Illness ñ which is a civic network backed by people of all faiths and none, has pushed sales of this documentary to 1,426 in the first seven months of its release.

This is more than double the amount sold in the same time period of the next highest Mennonite Media DVD/ VHS programme, says the company. ëFierce Goodbye: Living in the Shadow of Suicideí sold 568 copies in its first seven months and has now sold a total of 1,146 copies since August 2004.

Sixty NAMI affiliates have purchased the programme, compared with only 42 Mennonite churches or pastors purchasing it so far. Commentators say that the Christian churches should be doing more to highlight mental health issues, and to cooperate with community groups in breaking the silence about them.

Psychologists and social analysts say depression and mental distress are the fastest growing conditions affecting people across the Western world in our fast-paced, consumer-oriented and increasingly divided societies.

Links: Mennonite Mission Network; Mennonite Media.

[Also on Ekklesia: Mennonites see hope amid Congo struggle for democracy 10/08/06; Mennonites respond to massive Lebanese humanitarian needs 09/08/06; Mennonites call on USA and Canada to pursue non-violent alternatives 27/07/06; Mennonites issue action alert on Middle East crisis 24/07/06; Mennonites back trauma counselling in Gaza 20/07/06; Mennonites diversify peace and justice work in Washington DC; Who Are the Anabaptists: Amish, Brethren, Hutterites and Mennonites by Donald B Kraybill Peace church seeks positive alternatives to military recruitment; Mennonite educationists touch global vision in Egypt; Vietnamese Mennonite church faces violent security raid; Ethiopian Mennonite leader delves into politics; European Mennonite theologians tackle violence and God]

Mennonite-backed film helps lift silence on depression

-15/08/06

A documentary film about living with mental health problems which has been made by a Mennonite media company in North America is achieving record sales across the USA ñ and helping people find new hope in the face of personal darkness.

An example is Yolonda Kelsor of Nicholasville, Kentucky, USA, who has battled depression since the age of 15. Her father was an embalmer for a funeral home; her mother was a teacher, and Kelsor said depression was just one of those things no one ever talked about, in spite of her mother also suffering to the point of being hospitalized.

Ms Kelsor felt rejected, and she ended up marrying men who were a lot like her father. One was addicted to alcohol, the second to work. The cycle of despair continued.

Mennonite Mission Network reports that Ms Kelsor is one of thousands who have viewed ëShadow Voices: Finding Hope in Mental Illnessí off-air ñ through dozens of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) affiliates across the United States.

The documentary by Mennonite Media aired in December 2005 and January 2006 on ABC affiliates (at their discretion), but endorsement and use by the National Alliance on Mental Illness ñ which is a civic network backed by people of all faiths and none, has pushed sales of this documentary to 1,426 in the first seven months of its release.

This is more than double the amount sold in the same time period of the next highest Mennonite Media DVD/ VHS programme, says the company. ëFierce Goodbye: Living in the Shadow of Suicideí sold 568 copies in its first seven months and has now sold a total of 1,146 copies since August 2004.

Sixty NAMI affiliates have purchased the programme, compared with only 42 Mennonite churches or pastors purchasing it so far. Commentators say that the Christian churches should be doing more to highlight mental health issues, and to cooperate with community groups in breaking the silence about them.

Psychologists and social analysts say depression and mental distress are the fastest growing conditions affecting people across the Western world in our fast-paced, consumer-oriented and increasingly divided societies.

Links: Mennonite Mission Network; Mennonite Media.

[Also on Ekklesia: Mennonites see hope amid Congo struggle for democracy 10/08/06; Mennonites respond to massive Lebanese humanitarian needs 09/08/06; Mennonites call on USA and Canada to pursue non-violent alternatives 27/07/06; Mennonites issue action alert on Middle East crisis 24/07/06; Mennonites back trauma counselling in Gaza 20/07/06; Mennonites diversify peace and justice work in Washington DC; Who Are the Anabaptists: Amish, Brethren, Hutterites and Mennonites by Donald B Kraybill Peace church seeks positive alternatives to military recruitment; Mennonite educationists touch global vision in Egypt; Vietnamese Mennonite church faces violent security raid; Ethiopian Mennonite leader delves into politics; European Mennonite theologians tackle violence and God]

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.