An Interview with Noela

Hi! My name is Noela Luka. I am a documentary filmmaker
from Nairobi, Kenya. And about two years ago I came to the United States to study an MFA
in documentary filmmaking. So about seven months
into the program I woke up in what I later learned
was a psychiatric unit, and upon discharge I didn’t know what that meant. So I chose
to go back home to Kenya and it’s there that I was seeking for answers because my family was also asking, and my loved ones were also asking me
like, “What happened?” So when I discovered that what I had
is a Mental Health Illness, I realized that not so many
people want to talk about it and it was also really hard for me
to get the help that I needed. And that also began my journey to finding out
how do I take care of myself? And in the process, I learned that there
are so many other people who are going through
what I’m going through. And as a filmmaker,
I feel that it’s important for people to have
these kinds of stories out there so they can know
where to get the right help. And right now I’m part of a
group in Kenya that is looking for inclusion for people with different
Mental Health Illnesses. Mental Health is widely misunderstood. In the African context particularly, it is often perceived that you’re, you know, based on the traditional context
in Africa and in Kenya, it’s often perceived
that you are either a madman or that you have been bewitched. And through this storytelling platform, I’m hoping to demystify
some of these misconceptions, just to show that people with
Mental Health Illnesses have a voice to their issues and that it gives it a human face.

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