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FYI play it safe TO SCREEN AWARD-WINNING GLOBAL YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH FILM IN SA

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  • Category Advice Column, FYI Play it Safe, Lifestyle, Recently, Tech

Connecting the Dots by award-winning director/producer Noemi Weis will be showing at The Labia Theatre

Featuring young people from across the world, documentary film, Connecting the Dots, will be brought to South Africans virtually and on big screens by FYI play it safe, innovator of the parental app that is changing how parents keep their children safer online.  Directed by Noemi Weis, Connecting the Dots, which was released in 2020, has been screened at a host of international film festivals, receiving widespread acclaim from critics and viewers.

First of its kind, Connecting the Dots offers a no-frills, authentic look at youth mental health around the world.  By exclusively showcasing the voices of young people, the film invites educators, parents, families, friends, communities and leaders into a safe space to listen to the lived experiences of this generation of teens and youth.  Weis, a mother and a grandmother, has made an esteemed film career focusing mainly on social issues important to women and children.  She says, “There is a youth mental health crisis around the globe. Suicide is the number one health-related cause of death for youth. Mental health is the health issue of this generation. There is an urgent call to action being heard globally asking for an elimination of the stigma and shame surrounding youth mental health struggles and demanding an increase in open dialogue and more accessible, relevant and timely support.”

Cassey Chambers, Operations Manager at The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) says, “There’s significant value in FYI play it safe screening Connecting the Dots for South African audiences.  As a nation, we too experience high levels of youth mental health challenges, which is surrounded still by stigma that stifles conversations and inhibits finding solutions.  Young people in South Africa who are facing challenges are under-served in their communities when it comes to mental health services.  It’s hard to open up and it’s hard to find the help you need. This is an important platform to invite conversation; to inspire us to listen to the voices of our South African youth and to find solutions for what is an increasing problem in our country, that has only been exacerbated by the pandemic over the past two years.”

For FYI play it safe founder and CEO, Rachelle Best, who is also mother of a teen daughter, facilitating the first screenings of Connecting the Dots is personal.  She says, “Sadly, in 2021, we experienced a significant number of teenage suicides all around us in Cape Town. This happened over a short time and mostly in the same age group as my daughter. I realised that we, as parents, don’t talk enough about youth mental health and we certainly don’t talk to our children about it enough.  FYI play it safe is helping parents keep their children safer online by alerting parents if there is any online activity that can indicate depression, self-harm or suicidal ideation. When I first watched the film, I could feel it on my skin.  What stood out for me was a scene where a young girl said that she retreated into her room more, because the people who she chatted to online understood her better than the people around her. This was the moment I realised that every parent and every child in South Africa should see this film, and that FYI play it safe can help! We should be part of this global conversation. I got introduced to Noemi Weis, who is the director and producer of Connecting the Dots, and she shared the excitement of FYI play it safe bringing the film to South Africa.” 

Best sees the upcoming screenings of Connecting the Dots in South Africa as an opportunity to improve teen mental health in the country.  “The documentary exposes us to the current global conversation about youth mental health. It creates a bigger awareness that firstly, for our tweens and teenagers, it is healthy to talk about mental health. It is also ‘okay to not be okay’. And it is wise to reach out for help. Secondly, it helps parents and teachers to understand that our tweens and teenagers are actually not okay. They need help and they need us to open up conversations about their mental health to make it easier. We are really hoping for every parent, educator and youth in South Africa to see this film, to raise their hands and to become part of the conversation.”

FYI play it safe screenings of Connecting the Dots will take place at The Labia Theatre in Cape Town on 22 February 2022 at 10:00 and 18:00.  Tickets cost R120 per person and are available through Webtickets now. The film is recommended for an audience of 12 years +

Groups, schools and organisations can also book a bespoke screening of Connecting the Dots, virtually or at their own venues.  Contact admin@fyiplayitsafe.com for further information.

In partnership with UNICEF, the film offers Facilitators Guides for different target groups to help them guide their screening. Plus a tool kit to help them promote their own screening. https://connectingthedotsfilm.com/resources

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