Putting PTSD in the spotlight

Griffith Film SchoolPhD student Kym Melzer will screen her series of short films about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to mark Mental Health Week.

“The Ripple Effect of PTSD” focuses on the impact of PTSD on Australian veterans and their families.

The films will be shown at the Nathan, Gold Coast and Logan campuses as part of Griffith’s program of events for Mental Health & Wellbeing Week.

Kym said that she was grateful to Griffith for throwing its support behind her project.

“I’m truly thankful for all the support given to my PhD research project,” she said.

“I’m so happy that the series is being used as part of Griffith’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Week.

“PTSD is a serious problem and sufferers’ partners and family aren’t always recognised.”

The seven documentary shorts form part of Kym’s PhD research project, and have been screened at film festivals in Australia and overseas.

The series is up for a Red Poppy Award at the Veterans Film Festival in Canberra this weekend.

“It’s very exciting to be nominated,” she said.

“It validates me as a filmmaker, but more importantly it gives the participants a voice.”

Kym was inspired by Griffith University Professor Michael Balfour’s pioneering A Difficult Return project that raised awareness of PTSD in veterans.

She has spent the past three years working on the documentary series, which explores the ripple effect of PTSD on veterans’ partners, family and friends.

“Some of the people featured in these films have become like family,” she said.

“You spend a lot of time together, and they are sharing some of the most personal parts of their lives with you.”

The films are being used by the Defence Community Organisation, RSL Queensland and PTSD support groups.

Kym is seeking funding for a second group of films focusing on the families of Australian first responders such as police, firefighters and paramedics.