RWMFF 2013 Review: Slipping Through the Cracks
In a span of 24 minutes Diego Herror’s Slipping Through the Cracks manages to showcase the tragic status of China’s current mental health bureaucracy. Ruled by one governing party, China’s population tips well over a billion leaving an estimated 170 million citizens afflicted by mental disorders to manage in a country just entering its infancy within the mental health care field. Those affected, including the considerable proportion of rural communities whom are largely underrepresented, find themselves unduly pitted in a system lacking the resources and general knowledge needed to treat, protect, and help the afflicted cope with their ailments.
A wave of violent outbreaks at the hands of the mentally unstable is the forefront of the Chinese government’s step in the right direction for monitoring and treating those in need. However, as Slipping Through the Cracks exhibits, getting the help needed is near impossible for some as the mental health care system is currently in it’s start up phase leaving the millions affected at a loss with little resources to survive day-to-day life. Of the astonishingly high number affected, viewers become acquainted with a few. The subjects all suffer from crippling mental disorders either directly or indirectly with some engaging in patterns of violent behaviors to their communities.
One father laments to Herror of his desires to end his life due to cohabiting with his paranoid schizophrenic son. The father must leave his adult son in a makeshift cage whenever he leaves the house in fear that his son will cause terror to their village as he has in the past. Another interviewee is a sister pleading with the government to reduce a death sentence for her schizophrenic brother who made headlines after stabbing four officers in a courthouse. Yet, all the moments of the short documentary aren’t confined to acts of rage.
Among the others we meet, some endure other diseases like bi-polar disorder and are learning to cope through the help of the emerging mental health facilities in urban areas. Slipping Through the Cracks presents the current state of China’s mental health care developments, rejoicing in how the country is currently experiencing an exponential growth in awareness and advocacy. Simultaneously, it shines a light on the very real, and very large, problem of disenfranchised citizens in rural areas who are experiencing the pains of mental health disabilities in much more tragic instances. The country faces a staggering ration of one psychiatrist for every 80,000 Chinese, a number that with time will drop drastically.
Slipping Through the Cracks screens as part of the 2013 Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 6:30 pm. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the festival website.