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Indian origin researcher in UK creates award-winning documentary

Ray's research at the University is helping raise awareness of mental health issues in South Asian diaspora communities

Jayanta Ray. Image - De Montfort University Leicester 

The Dark Side of the Moon, a social issue documentary film created by Jayanta Ray, a PHD researcher at Leicester’s De Montfort University has won multiple awards at the film festivals, the University said in a statement.

The film depicts his family’s and daughter’s journey after she was diagnosed with ADHD, dyspraxia, depression and anxiety while studying at Oxford University. It was declared Best Short Film in the Crown Woods film festival  and has been shortlisted for Best Short Documentary in the Indian Independent Film Festival.

Reacting to the news, Ray said, “We created the documentary to tell the story of not only my daughter but many other people who have mental health struggles. The whole idea is to say ‘this is the reality, this is what we are doing, and this is how you can get involved.”

“I am delighted that it has been received so positively and I think it shows that the stories we tell, people can resonate with them either because they themselves have struggled or they know people who have,” he added.

To raise awareness about their situation and help out similar families battling mental health issues, Ray and his wife created the Sangeet Foundation in 2015. It focuses on exploring a way in which music and art can be effective therapy tools, which is also Ray’s  area of research at the University.

According to a statement published by the University, the foundation has hosted over 100 events that bring together experts and creatives from UK, India, USA and South Asia to share their knowledge and practice, and help educate people about mental health. The clips of the events are also included in the documentary film.

Speaking about the film’s impact, Ray said, “It has given us a wider platform to talk about the Sangeet Foundation and to bring it back to the research on the link between music, art and mental health.”