Rwandan psychotherapist and filmmaker Celestin Mutuyimana, was on April 2 awarded as the first scientist filmmaker winner for his movie ‘Sewing Souls’ during the 5th Global Science Film Festival (GSFF) in Zurich, Switzerland. The movie portrays the deep sorrow exposed by people’s traumatic life experiences since childhood, highlighting how culture expects them to be healed after getting married. According to Mutuyimana, some married couples look forward to finding solace in their partners once they get married, unfortunately, when they are not provided with solutions, their marriage threatens to dwindle. This, he says, results in more complex family and psychological problems such as suicide, continuous family conflicts, and divorce. ALSO READ: Calls grow for more mental health services “The film further stresses how silence and mistrust escalate in society when people are shunned to open up about their mental health problems as it is considered a sign of weakness,” he says. The filmmaker also notes that society has contributed to depression as most people who require help regarding their mental are instead discouraged from ‘exposing themselves’. This has impeded many people from expressing their pain, and some are broken inside, but just forge a smile. It is for this reason that Mutuyimana formed Baho Smile Institute—a psychotherapy and research centre to allow people to express themselves, break the silence, and create awareness of mental health problems with the purpose to halt intergenerational mental health issues. The awareness is done in form of short movies, posters, community training, and providing a safe space for opening up and healing. ALSO READ: How to deal with mental health issues During his clinical practice at Baho Smile Institute and throughout his research in Rwanda and East Africa, Mutuyimana realised that there are a lot of family problems provoked by untreated mental and psychological wounds. “When I discussed with other professionals around the world, they had a similar problem, especially in collectivistic communities. I noticed that people don’t feel comfortable revealing their psychological problems and seeking help due to high levels of doubt and cultural values that discourage sharing sadness. “I produced this movie to alert the community about proper ways of healing and maintaining healthy family relationships.” Mutuyimana is writing a research book to highlight the consequences of cumulative trauma across generations, and to provide collective responses to stop the cycle of trauma, especially in Rwanda and East Africa. “Research in Rwanda shows a high prevalence of post-traumatic problems mainly depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD), known as ‘ihahamuka’. Despite efforts put in place to lessen the illnesses, this is increasing significantly across generations, and requires collective healing intervention strategies,” he says. ALSO READ: Youth urged to break silence on mental health issues The Global Science Film Festival started in 2017 with an aim to bridge the gap between science and community. The main target is to explain in a comprehensible and easy-friendly language of scientific results to the general audience using films. The films are produced to help the community understand, use, and profit from research work. The festival brings together professional filmmakers and scientists as filmmakers around the world in a celebration of art and science, to interpret the world around us. The GSFF is organised by the Suisse Science Film Academy and is supported by 10 Swiss universities and research centres and other different universities, especially in China, Japan, and India.