When it comes to mental health, the media has not always been accurate in its depiction of what it’s like to live with conditions such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. We’ve seen countless examples, whether it be on TV, movies, or social media, where a person living with a mental health challenge is made out to be flawed or even dangerous. These representations contribute to the stigma associated with mental illness which is a significant factor in why people do not seek help.
With the state of our world today, awareness about mental health is more important than ever. And one of the most effective means of bringing this issue to the forefront is, in fact, the media. One person who wants to do this is Charles Mattocks. Mattocks is an award-winning actor, director, producer, television host, and health advocate whose priority is health first. He also happens to be the nephew of the late great Bob Marley, so with this lineage, it should come as no surprise that he is taking the healthcare world by storm. An accomplished actor, Mattocks notably starred with a pivotal role in “The Summer of Ben Tyler” alongside legends James Woods and Elizabeth McGovern.
As a person living with Type 2 diabetes, Mattocks used his condition as a platform to raise awareness about the disease in his documentary, “The Diabetic You” which explores the diabetes epidemic. He then went on to produce the diabetes docu-series “Reversed’ which aired on the Discovery Life Channel. Mattocks followed up with “Eight Days,” a program that focuses on cancer.
Each program brings together 5 individuals who live with these conditions along with experts in their respective fields. They both approach what it’s like to live with diabetes and cancer in a raw and real manner.
Now Mattocks is moving forward with his next endeavor in the Eight Days series, this time tackling mental health. This groundbreaking approach is guaranteed to shed new light on what so many of us face every day. As a person living with bipolar disorder and someone who works in the fields of mental health education and advocacy, I believe that we need to have more honest and open perspectives on what it’s like to live with a mental health challenge.
I’ve been asked by Mattocks to be a part of this project and in our initial discussion when he asked me what my role could be, I replied about the importance of having a peer/professional voice. I’ve lived with BP since 1981 and have worked in the behavioral health field for over 19 years. Both Reversed and Eight Days have had ‘house mentors” during the filming to assist the program’s participants in their quest for wellbeing and he suggested that I could fill that role.
When I consider the gravity of this responsibility I realize that the program has the potential of reaching millions. This is all the more reason why the Eight Days mental health series is so important. It will not only focus on the mental health diagnoses themselves, but it will also show how a variety of wellness-related tools can be employed to improve one’s quality of life. The integration of psychotherapy, practices such as meditation and exercise, as well as the exploration of the power of community will be utilized to demonstrate that recovery is possible. The team of experts on hand will lend their expertise to those who are participating and help these individuals to create a new plan for living. By doing so, they will be demonstrating how people can improve their lives.
Production for the next in the Eight days docu-series is scheduled for later this year. Mattocks has already garnered the support of professional athletes, who themselves had had their mental health challenges, including former NBA athlete Metta Sandiford-Artest (formerly Metta World Peace), who lives with depression and NFL player Brandon Marshall who lives with borderline personality disorder. Both Sandiford-Artest and Marshall have become outspoken mental health advocates.
Look for Eight Days on a major cable outlet down the road and help spread the word about this incredibly important program.