Australian director Lochlan Graham is helping amplify the discussion on mental health and suicide in Australian men through an Asian Australian lens in the new short film "Breaking Point."
About the project: The short film, which premiered at Cinema Como in South Yarra, Melbourne, on Wednesday, follows the mental health struggles of John (Berlin Lu), an Asian Australian lawyer in his 30s, as he juggles his professional life while dealing with the loss of a loved one and taking care of his father who has dementia.
A casting call sheet posted last year teases how John's struggles and those of another character, Julian, lead them to a cliff edge at the same time.
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Drawing from real life: For Chinese Australian actor Lu, “Breaking Point” mirrors experiences from his own life. The only child started taking care of his father, who also had dementia, when he was 11 years old. His mother also has schizophrenia.
In an interview with SBS News, Graham stressed that mental health discussion in men is a “huge topic in today’s society,” noting that he and others he knew growing up have also faced similar mental health struggles.
Project goals: Graham, who also wrote the short film, hopes that it can help break down the stigma around mental health in some culturally diverse communities. “Breaking Point” also aims to get into the Cannes Film Festival in May.
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The big picture: The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare recorded 3,249 deaths by suicide in 2022, and 2,455 of those were males. More than half of those males — 1,774 (54.6%) — were aged between 30 and 59. In another report, the institute noted suicide as the leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 24 (about 36%).
If you or anyone you know is at risk of self-harm, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24-hour support at 1-800-273-8255.
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