SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Local health organizations held a discussion Thursday night on the signs of mental illness in youth.
Behavioral Health Network (BHN), The Gandara Center and New England Public Media presented a discussion around mental illness in youth helping to tell the story with a screening of Ken Burns Film, ‘Hiding In Plain Sight.’ The screening is a window into the daily life of young adults dealing with mental health challenges, and confronts the issues of stigma, discrimination and silence. The directors were on hand to talk to those about the film and the growing issue.
“What we tried to do is weave a tapestry of human experience across all genders, across diversities, economic background, financial status… all those different things. We just wanted to have a good cross representation of our youth in America and let them tell us what’s going on,” said Erik Ewers, Co-Director.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in six people ages 6 through 17 experience a mental health disorder each year and Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10 through 14.
The film features first person accounts from more than 20 young people between the ages of 11 and 27. It was a way to show that help is there for those struggling.
“This film is an attempt to allow a bride of conversation for parents and kids to watch together to learn that it’s okay not to be okay and to start having conversations. It’s literally the most important thing, to start talking about it,” said Ewers.
The directors teamed up with BHN and the Gandara Center and held an open panel to alert people of the resources.
Katherine Cook, the Senior Vice President of BHN, told 22News, “I think tonight was a perfect example of two organizations coming together to sort of talk about those Silos and talk about how we can improve conversations in our communities that will support access for people.”
This film is one of two films that is set to touch on this topic. Ewers told 22News that they are working on another film.