When The Dark Hits Me
Arts & Culture
Mental illness has long been considered unsafe and scary, especially in Asia. Humans cannot face their fears directly, and when mental illness strikes them, they deny it. Depression is a common disorder worldwide, affecting more than 300 million people. According to the World Health Organisation, depression will be the number one disease in 2020, far ahead of other diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. In 2017, mental illness hit mom, and prejudice made it difficult for us to face society. Due to the lack of awareness of mental illness, it took us a long time to discover the problem. We encountered a lot of difficulties in the process of treatment in government hospitals, and there has been no effective form of treatment. Due to the large volume of patients, there was always long queues in the hospital in exchange for 10 minutes treatment by fill up questionnaire. We never saw the same doctor at the time of the checkup, which indirectly contributed to the worsening of the condition. It got me thinking, why are we dealing with all this chaos? Why is it so difficult in the treatment? Why is it so hard for me to talk to people about my mom?
Overview of Issue / Background
Mental illness has long been considered unsafe and scary, especially in Asia. Humans cannot face their fears directly, and when mental illness strikes them, they deny it. Depression is a common disorder worldwide, affecting more than 300 million people. According to the World Health Organisation, depression will be the number one disease in 2020, far ahead of other diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.
In 2017, mental illness hit mom, and prejudice made it difficult for us to face society. Due to the lack of awareness of mental illness, it took us a long time to discover the problem. We encountered a lot of difficulties in the process of treatment in government hospitals, and there has been no effective form of treatment. Due to the large volume of patients, there was always long queues in the hospital in exchange for 10 minutes treatment by fill up questionnaire. We never saw the same doctor at the time of the checkup, which indirectly contributed to the worsening of the condition. It got me thinking, why are we dealing with all this chaos? Why is it so difficult in the treatment? Why is it so hard for me to talk to people about my mom?
Project Objectives (Vision & Mission)
- Presenting the state of a depressed patient
- Society has a misconception about depression. The stereotype of the disorder is sadness, autism, self-pity, and crying. But in reality, depression is a mental illness caused by abnormal brain activity. I hope through this project, public can understand depression patient’s state of mind instead of blindly sympathise with them. I hope this show expresses more of what depression looks like.
- To question the medical system in Malaysia
- Treating depression requires a professional team of psychiatrists and psychologists because medication and counselling must go hand in hand. However, in the medical rules, it is contradictory to stipulate that doctors cannot have any cross-border relationship with patients. When patients only face a series of "yes" & "no" questions from doctors, can it achieve medical effect?
Project Details (Activities and Tasks)
- Fieldwork: Visit hospitals with relevant treatment departments to observe patients in waiting rooms and experience how patients feel when they attend by a doctor. Visit/interview a psychiatrist and learn about the content of his work and the cases he has faced
- Show: Start creative work by using field research data and rehears with actors. Combine the elements of scenography, such as sound effects, costumes, sets and props, lighting, etc., to make it a complete show.
- Lifeline: Contact NGO to discuss the possibility and development of cooperation.
Expected Project Result & Outcomes
- To increase understanding of depression of this creative group members and department of drama and visuals students.
- Allow the audience to have a more comprehensive understanding of the illness.
1. This show will use “Social Issues Operation" as a a method of publication. During the publication period, we will reach out to the society to conduct street interview. Through interviews, we aim to understand the public's perception of mental illness, and deliver the correct mindset of what mental illness is and also create public awareness if they have this concern, where can they seek for help.
2. As per the suggestion of the panel, government units such as Ministry of Health (MOH) need to contact early for cooperation inquiries, we have already started to send out proposals, still waiting for their reply.
3. In addition to Life Line Association, we will actively look for more NGOs to cooperate with us. The scope of the current negotiation is to hold free talks on mental illness to public and colleges/universities.
Chin1 year ago
Zy1 year ago
KoaySzeJye1 year ago
Yeo Lyle1 year ago
137% of RM717.00 Goal
|University name||:||New Era University College|
|Project leader name||:||Carmen Hau Joe Yee|
|Project implementation date||:||2022-09-15|
|Location of project held||:||Now Theatre|
|Beneficiary||:||psychology student, professional and public|
|Number of beneficiaries||:||250|
Summary of project goals with two sentences. Did other fund-raising efforts contribute to your projects? What were they
When The Dark Hits Me had ended successfully with a lot of positive responses and it created a big impact to the audiences which bring up the awareness towards mental health issues and Malaysia’s medical system. The other fund-raising efforts did contribute to our projects which are ASLI and ACTION Group, these are the groups that supported performing arts industry for over the years.
Provide details about how your project actually worked.
We took 4 weeks for the research and pre-production, during this period we had visited MyPsychology for a deeper study about depression and the creative team went to the hospital for an experience as a patient for a day. Mypsychology is a psychological centre based in Kepong, Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia's 1st Psychology Educational Platform started by a group of Psychology students who share Psychology knowledge via multiple approaches for general public to be able to learn, share and apply Psychology in improving life quality and mental health. Besides that, our publicity also started during this time, we went for several podcast recording and newspaper interviews to promote our performance.
After that, we used 3 weeks for rehearsal and 1 week for show. In the rehearsal, we used the previous field research data to more accurately interpret the character, combined with dramatic elements to bring greater shock to the audience. We had received a lot of good reviews for using theatre to raise awareness about depression.
Were there unanticipated difficulties? Budget constraints?
The difficulties we faced was the timetable arrangement, sometimes it is hard to gather all the people for a meeting or rehearsal, it is a challenging task for me but we did manage to complete all the tasks on time. In order to increase media exposure, we had sent our publication information to different media, even though we received a lot of rejected, and took us sometimes to found an effective way to approach the correct media, but still we manage to make it happen.
How many people benefited or will benefit from your project? Who are these people?
We had sold out all of our tickets with 250 audiences, we did a survey from the audiences we found out that the audiences across all fields, there are students from counselling departments, professionals in psychology, professionals in theatre, and more. The audience gets to know the performance through different media. This performance has successfully attracted the interest of different people in different field.
What is the long-term impact and sustainability of this project?
In Malaysia there’s only a few of theatre productions related to social issues. Through the production period, we discovered the possibility by using performance to bring out the awareness towards social issues. There’s some juniors were participated in this show as a crew, it’s also encourage them to continue their passion in theatre and hopefully in the future there’s different variety of performance which is related to social issues may occur.
Is there a future for your project?
The production in Now Theatre already completed in Sept 18, 2022, we are in the process of editing the video shoot of the performance to showcase in Cloud Theatre Revive. In the short time there will be no planning for touring because we haven’t find a date and venue to re-stage the production, but we’re planning another production for next year.
How does or will your project contribute to happiness?
The society we live in now habitually suppresses our emotions, especially after the MCO, many people are affected. Through the performance can achieve a kind of healing. After the last day of the show, we had a Q&A section with the audience, some of them express that it brings a big impact to them, it moves them and also make them understand more on how a mentally ill patient suffer. We believe this is a great way to highlight the issues to the society.
Has your project changed the way you think about the world? How has it changed you?
Yes, the project had changed the way I think about the world. In order to carry out the project, we have chance to dive in mentally issues and medical system in Malaysia. We understand that psychology is a new profession and it is still under research and experiment. In Malaysia, this is not common issue to discuss and there are lots of misunderstanding in mentally health. People are used to label instead of empathy. Through the research, we found out that in Malaysia there are some non-profit organisation trying hard to create awareness, this is also a motivation for me to develop the performance.
Addressing how and why this project was valuable and what was the most important thing you learned as a result.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day, even though we manage to get 250 audiences, but still it is a long way to go. I will continue to tell story through stage play. Through audience feedback, I noticed that stage performance successfully heal other, this motivate me to develop more show in future.” Choong Yun Ling, Director.