Aiming to help move mental health out of the shadows and squarely onto the world agenda as a global health and development priority.

transforming mental health care

Strongheart proudly produced the virtual reality film FRANCIS which premiered to four hundred health and finance ministers from around the world and other top international leaders in health, finance and development in conjunction with the 2016 Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C. This high-level convening “Out of the Shadows”, hosted by the World Bank Group and the World Health Organization, was the focus of an effort to put mental health on the global development agenda.
FRANCIS is a seven-minute, highly impactful virtual reality film about the effects and breadth of the need for global mental health care. The main story featured in the film is based on the true story and words of Francis Pii Kugbila, a husband, father and teacher in northern Ghana. The viewers are guided through his story by a voice-over narration of Francis’s first-hand account of his own illness narrative – who he was prior to his mental illness onset, what happened to him during his illness, and his experience when he recovered. The film shows that Francis, like so many who suffer from mental illness around the world, are valuable members of society who can lead full, productive lives and contribute to their families and communities if they receive science-based mental health treatment.
FRANCIS was created by a top team of media professionals including social change strategist Zoë Adams, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Cori Shepherd Stern, award-winning documentary director and branded short content creator Judy Korin, and award-winning creative director Chris Gernon. FRANCIS features the extraordinary work of photojournalists from across the world including internationally known photographer Nyani Quarmyne, whose powerful images originally brought the story of Francis to the world, and powerful investigative journalism work by the Fellows of the The Global Reporting Centre.
Framing Francis’s story, the film opens with a voice-over narration by Dr. Gary Gottlieb of Partners In Health expressing both the magnitude of mental illness around the world and also the high probability that the issue affects each one of us. Following Francis’s story, the film widens to include mention of three other individuals from different parts of the world who suffered mental illness, received treatment, recovered and are now helping others. From there, to convey the true universality of the need, the film shows images of people from all corners of the globe who need mental health support. The images represent people of all walks of life and include real people who are refugees and internally displaced persons, have survived disease epidemics, and who have suffered through wars or prolonged conflicts and are battling PTSD.
The overarching aim of the virtual reality film FRANCIS is to help move mental health out of the shadows and squarely onto the world agenda as a global health and development priority.