“Movies for mental health” reduces stigma, promotes awareness

Avery Blasko, Contributing Writer

The University Counseling and Student Development Center, Active Minds, and the Panhellenic Council teamed up on March 29 to host an event called Movies for Mental Health. The event was held in the Terrace Room and was facilitated by Art with Impact, an organization that “promotes mental wellness by creating space for young people to learn and connect through art and media,” according to its website. The event was hosted by a University alumna, Victoria Moyer ’13, who is a representative of Art with Impact.

During the event, a series of short films were shown, each of which portrayed people dealing with different mental health issues. Between each of the films, small and large group discussions were held. These groups aimed to allow students to share what they thought of the films, their emotional reactions, and how each film and issue portrayed relates to the life of college students. Additionally, a panel discussion was held, which consisted of two students of the University who shared their personal stories, as well as five University staff members who shared information about the resources they provide.

Movies for Mental Health is a workshop that focuses on gaining a better understanding of, and reducing the stigmas surrounding mental health. The main goal of the program is to empower young people to tell their own stories and educate them on the many resources available to help them. Art with Impact believes that art has a direct impact on how people perceive mental health, which is why they use film to share their message.

The event was well attended, by about 80-90 students, according to both Moyer and Christopher Connacher, a staff psychologist at the Counseling and Student Development Center.

“We could have probably extended the panel discussion by another 20 minutes if we had not run out of time” Connacher said. “It seemed like the students were well engaged during the program.”

“The students offered many insightful comments about the films, stigma, and the complex lived experiences of mental illness,” Moyer said.

The hope of hosting the program was to create a sense of community and to make it easier for students struggling with mental health concerns to feel less stigmatized and encourage them to seek support, according to Connacher.  

“We are very pleased with Movies for Mental Health. We believe it was a worthwhile program that provided an important message for students,” Connacher said.  

Mental health is a growing topic of discussion on our campus and others.

“Education about mental health, illness, and wellness helps to build more empathetic and resourceful communities, and so I hope this workshop created a positive ripple effect, however small,” Moyer said.

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