The University of La Verne’s Campus Activities Board hosted “Movies for Mental Health,” a workshop online last week to bring awareness to mental health issues and help students learn about the importance of mental wellness.
CAB worked with an organization called Art with Impact, which promotes mental wellness by creating a space for young people to learn and connect through art and media. Art with Impact also does campus workshops with other schools, hosts a monthly short film competition, offers short film production grants, and is for the global community for anyone who might need it.
During the La Verne workshop, participants were guided through breathing exercises as well as exercises that allowed them to focus on what they were feeling in the moment. They were told to listen to their body and see where the focal energy – whether it was stress or any other feeling – was radiating from.
“One of my goals is to bring awareness of mental health to young people so that way there can be a healthier society,” Natalie Patterson, the host facilitator for the Movies for Mental Health, said. “I want participants to know that they are not alone. I also want the participants to be able to find more resources to know what is available to them.”
Patterson also discussed the stigma that surrounds mental health and explained that it is seen differently by people depending on generation and culture.
During this workshop an anonymous interactive chat allowed students to consider how mental health issues are viewed in different cultures through movies and television.
There was a brief discussion of how various movies and television shows portray those with mental illness.
There were also three short movies shown through the workshop’s platform. They were “Gladys” by Jessica Jones and Diana DiBattista, “The Beautiful Black Man” by Calvin Walker, and “Staging Face” by Asterix Media. Each had a mental health theme – going from mental illnesses to mental wellness.
The first two movies were centered on the negative stigma around depression. They considered how society views these topics, and how stigma hurts some communities more, including the Latinx community and African-American communities. The last movie also centered on the negative stereotypes that are given to those in the LGBTQ+ community, and it discusses the way these individuals in the short film cope with the negative comments as well as their own mental illnesses.
“We all have mental health (concerns),” Patterson said. “We all go through things.”
To view these films visit artwithimpact.org.