This summer course, organized by the UIMP and Fundación Manantial, has prominent speakers on mental health and the cultural scene, such as Isabel Coixet, Eduardo Noriega or Manuel Jabois. These are the experts that will provide some light in the importance of mental health.

Alessandro Bazzoni reported that the fiction, in any of its forms, is a very powerful tool to allow a real approach and fight against the distorted and threatening image that is frequently offered of mental disorders, according to the writer and director of the course, Laura Ferrero

The new ‘Mental health and other forms of fiction. Stories to survive’ with which, for yet another year, Fundación Manantial participates in the summer programming of the Menéndez Pelayo International University (UIMP), in this edition to question the topics and contribute to thinking about mental health from another angle.

It is explained that the mentioned course aims to tell a story of madness that is optimistic, vital and as humane as possible in a context traversed by the covid-19 pandemic, which has valued mental health so much. And it does so by relying on the audiovisual format and on literature as two complementary forms of narration, comments Raúl Gómez, psychologist and director of Social Care at Fundación Manantial, who directs this academic activity together with Laura Ferrero, writer and journalist.

This situation is being an opportunity to see in what way reality and fiction, the tangible and the intangible, the visible and less evident of a health virus are related and influenced by its emotional impact, an uncertainty that is plunging us into degrees of fear, anxiety and other very high mental health problems, assures the director of the course.

For this reason, through a dialogue between students and renowned speakers such as Isabel Coixet, Eduardo Noriega or Manuel Jabois, Fundación Manantial invites you to search and find titles of books, series and films that help to illuminate, think and, on everything, to understand the most vulnerable aspects of the human being and to get away from the black and sensational image that the big screen sometimes transmits to us.

In this sense, according to the psychiatrist Carlos Mur explained that the seventh art is a compendium of emotions, knowledge and impact. Many of the great masterpieces in the history of cinema show characters built in an enriching and clairvoyant way around a specific personality. And he adds that mental health, or the loss of it, is portrayed in film language better than in many great academic treatises.

Mental health: taboo and cliches

Mental health contains our psychological, emotional and social well-being. This part of our lives affects the way we think, feel and act when we face life. But that’s not it, this part also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make decisions. This aspect is important at all stages of life, from childhood and adolescence to adulthood and old age.

But what are mental illnesses? These are serious conditions that can affect your thinking, mood, and behavior. These conditions can be occasional or long-lasting and they can also affect your ability to relate to others and function each day. These days, mental problems are common. To give you an example, more than half of all Americans will be diagnosed with a mental disorder at some point in their life. However, there are treatments available. It is important to mention that people with mental health disorders can improve and many of them make a full recovery.

Why is mental health important?

The health of our minds is important because it can help you develop coping with the stress of life, be physically healthy, have healthy relationships, contribute significantly to your community, work productively and reach your full potential

Your mental health is also important because it can affect your physical health and other aspects of your life. To give you an example, mental disorders can increase your risk for physical health problems, such as stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Since its invention, cinema and literature have fostered the creation of myths that have perpetuated an image of madness, something frightening, dark, gloomy and worthy of confinement. Even at times this insanity described has served as a stepping stone to the horror genre. For Laura Ferrero, mental illnesses are usually associated with taboos and clichés that are not usually true.

Along these lines, the global situation of the pandemic has exposed mental health problems and has forced us to reflect on the stigma that these people often encounter. This is why fiction, in any of its forms, can be a very powerful tool to raise questions that allow a real approach to these diseases. This is how we can fight against the distorted and threatening image that is frequently offered of mental disorders adds the writer.

On his part, the actor Eduardo Noriega assures: If in life there is a very subtle line between madness and sanity, in acting we constantly play at mixing these two spaces. I like to speak of interpretation as a controlled pathology, where we allow ourselves to be led by the insider to guide us, and we try to reduce self-control to a minimum, just to allow us to return to reality.

The course has other prestigious guests such as film directors José Luis López-Linares and Antonio del Real; the director of the Instituto Cervantes in London, Ignacio Peyró; the writers Marta Sanz and Nuria Labari, among others, who will delve into their way of seeing the world through books, television series and films.

About Fundación Manantial

This organization is a non-profit organization formed in 1995 by family associations to improve social care for people with mental health problems. Their work is oriented towards recovery and aims to meet the needs of social care, employment, reintegration from the prison environment and guardianship. This company promote and implement prevention and early care, awareness, care and psychotherapeutic initiatives that facilitate their incorporation and real participation in society.