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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

New Urdu and Punjabi films about mental illness

Embargoed until 17 March 2011

Psychiatrists from the West Midlands have produced two new films about depression and dementia for Urdu and Punjabi speakers. They hope the films will improve awareness and understanding of these common mental illnesses, and show people how they can access professional help and support.

Journey of Memory depicts the difficulties that an Asian family has in recognising their elderly relative’s memory problems. The short play is followed by a series of interviews with West Midlands’ psychiatrists, who give practical advice on the treatment of dementia and available services. The film is accompanied by information leaflets in four languages.

Dawn of Hope shows how clinical depression can affect people of any age, and also includes interviews with local healthcare professionals. A booklet in urdu has also been published as a self help resource with the film.

The films were launched at a special screening event, attended by Valerie Vaz, MP for Walsall South. Ms Vaz said: "I am delighted to be attending the launch of this valuable resource. Raising awareness and understanding of the issues surrounding depression and dementia among the Asian community is an important project, and I hope that many people will have the opportunity to learn more about this condition through these innovative films."

Psychiatrist Dr Rashda Tabbasum, who produced the film, Journey of Memory said: "With an increase in life expectancy in Britain, we are seeing a proportional rise in cases of dementia among the ageing black and minority ethnic population population. It was in this context that the film and leaflets in several South Asian languages were produced. to help spread awareness of dementia within the South Asian communities and the extremely important issues surrounding it."

Psychiatrist Dr Safi Afghan, who produced the film Dawn of Hope and wrote the Urdu booklet said: "We hope the film will raise awareness and challenge the myths about depressive disorders, which are going to be the second highest cause of disease burden worldwide by 2020. One in five individuals in the community suffers from these disorders, and there is a higher prevalance among South Asian females living in the UK."

How to order the DVDs and booklets:

Journey of Memory (yaadasht ka safar, running time 30 minutes)

Please contact Mr Manoor Afaq, director of Email: Telephone: 01384 345812

Dawn of Hope (subhe umeed, running time 30 minutes)

Please contact Walsall Council Creative Development Team. Email: or Telephone: 01922 653114.

To order a copy of the accompanying Urdu booklet on depression, contact Dr Safi Afghan at

For further information, please contact:
Sarah Nevins
Press & Social Media Officer
Telephone: 020 3701 2543
Claire McLoughlin
Media & Communications Manager 
Telephone: 020 3701 2544
Out of hours contact number: 07860 755896


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