Community-based participatory media projects form a promising new strategy for mental health promotion that can help address the mental health-gap identified by the World Health Organization. (2008b) mhGAP, Mental Health Gap Action Programme: Scaling Up Care for Mental, Neurological and Substance Use Disorders. World Health Organization, Geneva. In this article we present an ethnographic study about a participatory media project that was developed to promote mental health in selected Dutch low socio-economic status neighborhoods. Through narrowcastings (group film viewings), participant observation and interviews we mapped the ways in which the media project effected and facilitated the collective sense-making process of the audience with regard to sources of stress impacting mental health and opportunities for action. These determinants of mental health are shaped by cultural dimensions, since the cultural context shapes everyday experiences of stress as well as the resources and skills to manage them. Our analysis shows that the media project engaged cultural resources to challenge stressful social scripts. We conclude that more attention should be paid to cultural narratives in a community to understand how health promotion strategies can support social resilience.
- mental health
- participatory research
- social determinants of health