October 2021 Film Platform Forum: A Focus on Mental Health
Use the documentary Mission: JOY-Finding Happiness in Troubled Times to teach how joy, and the science behind it, guided the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in their life’s work and why joy is absolutely necessary for our mental and physical wellbeing.
Co-Author of The Book of Joy and interviewer in Mission: JOY
Dr. Elissa Epel
Professor, University of California, San Francisco
Dr. Tupten Jinpa
Tibetan Buddhist scholar, English translator for His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Moderator and Co-Producer of Mission: JOY
Click on a thumbnail to watch the highlight clip
Clip 1: How do we nurture hope in times of difficulty?
Listen to His Holiness and Archbishop Tutu offer guidance to people who are struggling with depression and despair (3:17 min.)
Clip 2: Strategies for building the muscles of joy.
Panelists share their own strategies to find joy in their day-to-day life (16:44 min.)
Clip 3: The influence of social media on young people in regards to joy and despair.
Panelists speak to how social media can enhance joy and happiness (5:29 min.)
Clip 4: How science confirms that joy is critical for physical and psychological wellbeing.
Learn from the documentary and from Dr. Elissa Epel how science confirms what these spiritual leaders already know (5:00 min.)
Current Publications and Data on Mental Health and Wellbeing
Research indicates that core dimensions of psychological well-being can be cultivated through intentional mental training.
In the current issue of Biological Psychiatry, Gehred et al. showcase unique new data and a novel window on the long-term impact of childhood adversity on structural changes in the brain
Americans are guaranteed the right to ‘pursue happiness’ for themselves. But might they be better off if they pursued happiness for others? In five studies, we compared the two strategies, showing that, ironically, the second pursuit brings more personal happiness than the first.
Pursuing happiness can paradoxically impair well-being. Here, we propose the potential downsides to pursuing happiness may be specific to individualistic cultures. In collectivistic (vs. individualistic) cultures, pursuing happiness may be more successful because happiness is viewed – and thus pursued – in relatively socially-engaged ways.
Although research suggests that Eastern, collectivist cultures do not benefit as much from practi-cing gratitude compared to Western, individualist cultures, the reasons for these differences remain unclear.
Theory and research suggest that people can increase their happiness through simple intentional positive activities, such as expressing gratitude or practicing kindness. Investigators have recently begun to study the optimal conditions under which positive activities increase happiness and the mechanisms by which these effects work
Documentary films informing education around the world
A monthly online blog highlighting the most relevant documentary film content for the higher education community. Film events, professional training, and academic research are carefully curated to amplify the use of documentary films included on Film Platform.
Anyone can access the free forum. Share it with colleagues, staff, research assistants, and students!
Documentary films tell us stories of social and political import. They reveal hidden truths, are windows into investigative journalism, touch our emotions, and uncover forgotten history. For higher education institutions and workplaces, documentary films are a resource to engage, inspire, and inform like no other form of content.
Such stories are vital to sustain and strengthen media literacy. As faculty keep pace with the media students consume, they also need to trust the scholarship and content they are recommending. Like a syllabus, the monthly edition of the Forum will be vetted, curated, and aligned to the monthly documentary topic. In any given month the Forum may highlight a new film on Film Platform, share a highly relevant panel event for faculty and students to attend, direct attention towards new research, recommend ‘Calls to Action’, or analyze the merits and veracity of critiques and controversies connected to the documentary.
Learning is dynamic. Documentary films are, too. Film Platform Forum connects the dots between the two, expanding the use and impact of Film Platform films in coursework, research, and new scholarship…and to change the world.