By Luis Castilla
Art With Impact is raising awareness of mental health with “Movies for Mental Health” at ELAC.
Art with Impact is a non-profit organization that aims to eliminate the stigma that surrounds talking about mental health so that it can be an open topic.
They have produced over 200 workshops on campuses across the United States and Canada.
Founder of Art with Impact, Cary McQueen, said, “Art with Impact is a nonprofit organization that is using short films to change conversations and create dialogue around issues of mental health.”
“Movies for Mental Health” is two-hour long workshop that includes short film screenings, an interactive group discussion and a panel of speakers that will provide mental health resources.
The stress that comes with being a college student, on top of having a mental illness, can be overwhelming. This is why Art With Impact targets young adults.
Jennifer Whitney, a licensed marriage and family therapist and “Movies for Mental Health” panelist, said that the target audience of Art with Impact is people between the ages of 16 and 25. They are what is referred to as “transitional age youth.”
Brian Canning of Free Your Mind Projects said, “The college years are when something they call ‘the first break’ might happen.”
According to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2016, 22.1 percent of young adults living in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 25 had a mental illness, but only 35.1 percent of them received treatment.
Art with Impact intends on being a solution to this problem.
According to Art with Impact’s 2017-2018 evaluation data, “71 percent of participants reported an increased intent to reach out for a mental health issue if/when necessary.”
Art with Impact film competition winner, Elizabeth Ayiku, writer and director of “Little Elizabeth,” described her film as being about ”love, compassion and what it really takes, as an adult, to heal yourself when you’re the survivor of childhood trauma.”
Art with Impact’s website contains a number of testimonials from students who participated in “Movies for Mental Health.”
They describe the workshop to be helpful in allowing them to talk about mental health in a safe space and in recognizing how prevalent mental illness really is.