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Grateful, Featuring Alec Suriyuth – Video

A warm reflection on the importance of mental health.

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Grateful, with mountain biker Alec Suriyuth and created by Yama Folk, is a reflection on mental health and the importance of the little things. Watch, read, enjoy and take care of yourself.

Words by Yama Folk:

grateful Alec suriyuth

We wanted to take a moment to reflect on the simple moments in life that bring us joy and fulfillment. We’re not talking about life changing experiences, rather the small moments we often overlook.

In previous years during the month of November we’ve grown some seriously dirty/ seedy moustaches. It needs to be added, it was all for good reason. As part of the Movmeber campaign (movember.com/) we’d don the mouth- brow to raise collective awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.

This year we decided to change gears in how we’d promote awareness; we’ve made a short film. There are many insightful stories out there, illustrating how individuals have overcome depression. We love these stories and what they do to deconstruct negative connotations surrounding mental health challenges. However we wanted to make a film through a slightly different lens in regards to mental health.

It’s impressive how much mental health awareness has improved in recent years- things are certainly moving in the right direction. We wanted to add momentum to the more broader experience of the concept of mental health that is emerging. Rather than specifically associating the term ‘mental health’ with over-coming depression or moving from places of darkness to the light. Society is now seeing it as more holistic and all encompassing; in essence a continuum that journeys closely with our state of simply ‘being’. The highs, the lows, and everything in between as well.

grateful Alec suriyuth

Whilst still valid and important, mental health awareness is not solely about sharing stories of overcoming challenges. It describes the simple maintenance of mindfulness and the recognition of our greater context.

We wouldn’t say healthy eating and physical exercise is just for professional athletes…it’s for all, and so is mental health. Maybe we pay more attention to it when things are hard, but it’s still there (arguably even more) when they’re not. It’s the curious juxtaposition of a dynamically- evolving, constant-presence in our daily life.

With this film we wanted to focus on Alec and his unhurried enjoyment for photography and cycling. Two passions that he feels contributes positively to his life, and keeps him coming back to. He is grateful these things echo meaning for him, and have become steady, creative outlets for his sense of self amongst the pace of our modern world.

Let’s celebrate simple things that bring us joy and honestly address things that don’t. This is where mental health begins.

grateful photography

Alec has a 9-5 job as an engineer, this is one of the main reasons why we teamed up with him. We wanted to feature an everyday- creative. Someone who pursues their passions for nothing more than good old fashioned, humble enjoyment. Photography and cycling are true and authentic curiosities of his. We love that even if nobody knew Alec took photos and rode bikes, it would not stop him.

When we first stumbled across Alec’s work on Instagram, we were instantly drawn in. He has a unique way of photographing cycling in particular. Focusing on the lifestyle aspect that encompasses the sport. Often capturing frames on solo rides, regularly taking photos that don’t actually feature a subject riding a bike, as you would expect. His photos are beautiful. His ability to capture stunning, natural light allows us to share these quiet moments of unassuming joy, that could otherwise, quite easily be overlooked. It’s also refreshing to notice his humble following. Which just goes to show that the amount of followers doesn’t signify the quality of work at all. There is no doubting Alec’s work; top shelf stuff.

Here are a a few of Alec’s frames from the shoot. For more of Alec’s work check out his Instagram.

It takes a lot to change the perception of wider society. Here’s to the hard work of campaigns such as Movember. There is no doubt that over the last 5-10 years general perceptions towards mental health have greatly improved. More people are talking about, seeking help and generally acknowledging the realness of it.

It’s exciting and encouraging to see these positive attitudes towards this issue moving forward on such a large scale. Although, we must continue to remember the motivation behind this conversation by recognizing and giving light to alarming statistics that continue to exist. For example, the suicide rates, particularly amongst young males is concerning. It is the second most likely way Canadian males aged 15- 44years will die.

grateful mountain biking

Addressing such a complex issue happens over time with small, collective steps. Whilst our film doesn’t directly address the issue of suicide, we’re hoping that discussing mental health on a broader scale will contribute to the ongoing conversations and positive change we’re seeing on perceptions towards mental health.

There’s no hiding that we’re big fans of two-wheeled recreation; absolute suckers for it, to be honest. If you have a bike, we’d encourage you to go ride it. Maybe even stop to take a photo every now and again and enjoy what those moments bring.