Mental Illness Awareness Week is October 4 – 10, 2015, and locally, there will be a free film screening to raise awareness of mental illness and its impact on families.
Infinitely Polar Bear will be screened at 10 am, Saturday, October 10 at Cineplex Odeon Theatres on East River Road, New Glasgow.This will be the first showing of this film in Nova Scotia, a film that was screened last year at international film festivals, including Sundance, Toronto and Vancouver.
The film is the true story of a Bipolar father who tries to win back his wife by attempting to take full responsibility of their two young, spirited daughters. The film was written and directed by Maya Forbes, telling the story of her father.
The film is being shown on the last day of mental illness awareness week, a cause that is very personal for the organizers, Elaine Garland and Cecilia McRae, of the Pictou County Mental Illness Family Support Group.
Mental Illness Awareness Week is about focusing attention on mental disorders – their signs and symptoms, how to get help, stigma, and the impact of mental illness on lives, families, workplaces and communities.
Elaine and Cecilia are the dynamic duo behind bringing Clara’s Big Ride to Pictou County last year. And they are back at it again.
Speaking about the upcoming event, Cecilia says, “This is another way for us to continue that conversation. Another way for people to see what it is like to live in a family where mental illness is present.”
Cecilia and Elaine’s family’s have both been touched by mental illness. Both sit on the Board of the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia, and with support from that organization were able to start the Pictou County support group they now co-facilitate.
“It’s all about family and trying to empower families,” says Elaine. “Families need to know it’s okay to love someone and try to bring them into recovery. It is important for families to know that they are not alone in their struggle and support is available from others with similar experiences.”
Cecilia’s family member is now in recovery and doing well. “With the right support we have shown it is possible to come to the other side.”
“It is important to understand the role of stigma, especially in small communities. If you took stigma out of the picture, could you imagine where we’d be today – imagine the treatment, support, and care. There is such silence around mental illness, people don’t want to talk about it.”
Cecilia and Elaine, as part of the Pictou County Mental Illness Family Support Group, are fundraising to make the free screening possible, and the event is being presented in partnership with the Aberdeen Health Foundation.
“The Aberdeen Health Foundation is committed to mental health initiatives and to raising awareness about the Sandbar Mental Health Endowment, a fund that supports mental health treatment and programs in our community,” says Susan Malcolm of the Aberdeen Health Foundation.
The Foundation is also sponsoring tickets, to provide some of the 200 free seats the organizers hope to have available.
At the screening information will be available about mental illness and the support group.
For those wanting to sponsor seats, or in the event that the free seats are filled, tickets are $8, including taxes, this is a special ticket price that is being offered by Cineplex for this event. To sponsor or reserve seats contact Elaine at (902) 695-6118.
Posted: October 1, 2015