Panayiota Panteli, a 2nd generation Greek Cypriot, writer/director, has written and directed a new short film titled Loose Strands, discussing mental health in the Greek Cypriot community.
Panayiota shares, “Growing up, I never really related to representations of my Greek-Cypriot community on screen. My Big Fat Greek Wedding seems to be the standard portrayal for all Greek families. But my experience of growing up with my mother who struggled with her own mental health wasn’t filled with silly hijinks and banter.
“Growing up around her, I didn’t understand her furious discussions with herself when she thought she was alone or her angry outbursts which seemed to trigger a meltdown. My mother’s struggling mental health was treated as the embarrassing thing mum did, and we didn’t talk about it. Yet, she was clearly distressed by something in her life, which she was playing on a loop in her head. Even my mother refused to acknowledge anything was wrong. If you walked into the room in the middle of one of her angry outbursts, she just stopped, embarrassed, and life went on like it was normal.
“But I now appreciate that my mother was a hero at the time, dealing with her psychosis whilst working two jobs and still managing to bring up three kids.”
Panayiota continued, “Loose Strands is not autobiographical, but it explores the themes of mental health stigma in ethnic communities and the fallout of mental health that goes untreated within families.
“Research by Dr. Chris Papadopoulos on the mental health stigma in our community highlights the poor levels of knowledge that still persist, even across generations. I felt compelled to explore a way to create a story of hope – a little film that perhaps could open discussions about mental health in all communities.”
Loose Strands, featuring Daphne Alexander, Bianca Beckles-Rose, Donna Combe and Laura Greenwood, and produced by Lesley-Anne Macfarlane, is currently on the festival circuit and will subsequently be used to support mental health discussions at community screenings.
For more information, please visit or contact Panayiota and Lesley-Anne at [email protected].

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