The Tongan premiere of the Healer and the Psychiatrist was broadcast live on Tongan TV on the 19th of December 2020. It was followed by a pre-recorded talanoa on the film involving Dr Leo Hoponoa, Sia Uhila Angilau and Virginie Dourlet. The talanoa was in Tongan, with a few section in English when Virginie Dourlet contributed.

 

Sia Uhila Angilau summarised some of the issues covered in the talanoa:

• finding the balance between our scientific & traditional healers as both can help our people. We recognized that Dr Puloka is also a traditional healer in a way and how his methods are specific to Tonga

• in client care: the importance of focusing on people and not dwell on their problems especially with mental health

• how much strength it takes for a healer to do his or her job. I discussed how the many losses of loved ones for  Emeline must have been devastating for her yet she still found strength to help others

• Every healthcare system isn’t perfect but for our people, we can find our own ways to help our people and it may be different from other countries

• Stigma around mental health and the need to train professionals who can take on Mapa’s work for our people. 

We drew examples from the film throughout the discussion and ended by acknowledging the work and people behind the film and how it highlights issues we could address to cater for the health of our people. (Sia Uhila Angilau 2020)

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