Transmedia Project on Emotional Health & Wellbeing – Chicago

Hello, readers. My friend Anuradha Rana and her colleague Doris Rusch are looking for documentary subjects and collaborators for a transmedia (game, audio, video) project on emotional health and wellbeing among young people.  She is a regular reader of the blog and asked me to share her project and call for volunteers with the community here. Here is a note from Anu explaining what she’s looking for:


I am a documentary filmmaker based in Chicago, currently working on a transmedia project about issues of Mental wellbeing and health, especially in young people between the ages of 16 and 28.

The project uses a web-platform to host documentary episodes (audio and video) & experiential games that focus on emotional health and wellbeing. The goal of the project is to explore and de-stigmatize mental health issues faced by college students and youth (for instance ADD, OCD, Anxiety, Stress, Eating Disorders and Body Image issues) challenge major cultural attitudes toward them, and showcase groups geared toward making these a reality in Chicago.

We are looking for people, especially between the ages of 16-28, who have been diagnosed with ADD, OCD, Eating Disorders, Bipolar, Anxiety, Stress, Insomnia, or Depression, to share their stories with us on or off camera. We will respect your wishes to remain anonymous, if desired.
We are interested in showcasing groups, organizations or non-profits in Chicago that are good resources. If you had to recommend one such group that we should film, which one would it be?
If you need more information, or are interested in participating, please contact me at Feel free to forward this email to others who may be interested.

Please get in touch with Anu directly if you’re interested in sharing your story or have an organization to recommend.


14 thoughts on “Transmedia Project on Emotional Health & Wellbeing – Chicago

  1. I don’t know if this is an appropriate question to ask here (and do feel free to delete if it is) but: How does one get officially diagnosed with depression or anxiety? I have been to a few therapists with obvious symptoms of both of these things, but to my knowledge I don’t have an Official Diagnosis.

    1. Visting a psychiatrist or a general doctor would be my first step. They have checklists, I’m sure you’ve seen them around online. You list your symptoms and ask for what they’d prescribe whether that is therapy or medicine or both. YMMV, but my therapist is very “I don’t diagnose the people who see me”, Good luck!

      1. Very yes to the general doctor/psychiatrist thing. As for the checklists, I’ve found communication goes a lot faster if I actually *find* one from a reputable source, print it out, and mark the symptoms I’m having and the symptoms I’m not having. When I bring it in to the doctor, he (mine’s a he) can see really clearly what’s going on and we don’t have to do the hemming and hawing q&a that can be so hard for someone seeking treatment for mental illness. Added bonus: if you go the medication route, you can come back with an updated list after the adjustment period so the doctor can see how well your current medications are taking care of your issues and suggest changes if needed. For that visit, it also helps to have a list of the medication’s known side-effects with any side-effects you’re experiencing marked.

    2. I think you can straight-up ask them for a diagnosis or to steer you to a psychiatrist for a screening if they are not diagnosing professionals.

    3. If you have used insurance or public funds, you have been diagnosed. They HAVE to diagnose you in those circumstances, as they will not be funded unless they do so. Just ask what your Dx is or ask for your records. The records will have your dx and therapists cannot refuse to release your records to you.

      1. Also, everyone please know: your therapist should tell you what your dx is, if they have dxed you. It is, in my opinion, unethical for them NOT to tell you, when it goes on your health records. You should know or at least feel able to ask. Knowing your dx makes you a better consumer. You should also have a treatment plan that you agree on with your therapist.
        a therapist.

    4. Not in the US, but over here it depends on what kind of therapist you see. Only psychiatrists (licenced medical professionals) can make Official Diagnoses. Other kinds of therapist (they often call themselves psychologists or talk therapists over here, but there are many different types) are not generally not medical professionals and cannot make official diagnoses or prescribe medicine. If you are seeing such a therapist and need either a diagnosis or prescription medication, you can ask them about it and they should be able to refer you to a suitable psychiatrist/other appropriate medical professional.

      (BTW none of the above is to imply that non-medically licenced therapists are in any way inferior to psychiatrists, they just do different things and have their own training and governing boards.)

      1. I think it’s the same here in the US. Public funds for general counseling sans diagnosis exist here, too, though it can be a hassle tracking them down.

  2. Is this open to Chicago residents only, or can people from other states submit their stories?

    1. I’m not Chicago-local and I went ahead and emailed my interest in participating. I got an email back that said we can participate by writing our experiences, or she might be able to find a contact local to you who can film or audio-record you. I think you want to tell her you’re interested before you send in your story, though, because I think there are specific questions the project needs answered.

  3. Anu is one of my professors! So I’m not sure I should offer myself up as a participant, even though I have some stories to share….

    1. I hope you have a great semester! Anu & I went to grad school together and taught together for many years.

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