Short film festival looks to educate and inspire

Movies for Mental Health aims to get rid of stigma and educate students on resources

Movies for Mental Health takes place on Thursday, March 23.

Movies for Mental Health will show three short films that facilitate a helpful conversation around mental health. Natalie Daley, the program director at Art with Impact Canada, said that this short film festival uses the medium of film to help students and members of the community have a better understanding of mental health.

“It’s basically a way to start conversations with students on college and university campuses. It uses creativity and short film to lead the discussion, uses art to create awareness and directs students to resources through resource panels,” Daley said.

The event will be hosted on campus at Thompson Rivers University and will be held in collaboration with the TRU Wellness Centre. The event will not only showcase the films but will have professionally guided group discussion and a panel after each film.

“I think college-aged students are really facing a lot of those difficulties, and statistically 75 per cent of mental illnesses present during the ages of 17 to 25. So, our goal is really to go into a student’s place of learning and provide a program that is proven to direct students to resources that already exist for them,” Daley said.

One of the main goals of this event is to help create a safe space for discussion while giving information about mental health.

“To help students navigate the resources that already exist for them, that they might not take the step to learn about. In doing so, if they connect earlier on it’s a preventative measure. So, in the event that they may be facing a crisis at some point in their university career, they know exactly how to get support for that,” Daley said.

Daley adds that film is a powerful medium, one that can be used to help people look and understand this important topic from a different point of view.

“[Using] film as a way to explore topics, increase understanding around mental illness which is so heavily stigmatized,” Daley said.

The short films that are premiering at this event are picked from a special collection of winners that showcase over 15 different mental illnesses. The films each take a unique approach in helping to further the understanding of mental illness and the stigmas that surround it.

“The films are curated through a film competition that we host as an organization. So, through our website every month, we have a film deadline where any filmmaker, of any age, anywhere in the world can actually submit films about mental health to this competition. We jury them, and the first of every month we announce winners,” Daley said.

Movies for Mental Health will take place in the Irving K. Barber Centre from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on March 23. This event will be about two hours long and is a free event open to students and the public.