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Film series highlights mental health awareness

Star-Herald - 6/26/2018

SCOTTSBLUFF - Groups in the Panhandle are continuing to raise awareness toward mental health issues and are partnering for a series of documentaries to bring attention to an issue that has affected many people in western Nebraska.

When Faith Mills, prevention system coordinator, Panhandle Prevention Coalition, Region 1 Behavioral Health Authority, learned that the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation presented a viewing of three documentaries in the eastern part of the state about mental health awareness, she knew they needed to be shown in the western part, too. One phone call later and she was busy organizing dates for the films.

Mills first heard about the viewing of "Paper Tigers," which discusses the landmark Adverse Childhood Experiences Study. Then, she learned of the other two and knew they would be beneficial to the Panhandle.

"Resilience: The Biology of Stress and he Science of Hope" discusses how researchers have discovered a dangerous biological syndrome caused by abuse and neglect during childhood. According to the film, toxic stress can trigger hormones that wreak havoc on the brains and bodies of children, putting them at greater risk for disease, homelessness, prison time and early death.

"It's an hour-and-a-half documentary about the ACE Study and what it does to a young person's brain," Mills said.

"Resilience" was created by James Redford, who has also worked with pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris. Her work was changed after learning about ACEs.

"We have a system of care for youth here that is broad based," she said. "I thought this would be perfect because it hits that birth to age 8 group."

"Paper Tigers" discusses findings from the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, which found proof that the more traumatic experiences respondents in the study had as children, the more likely they were to develop problems later in life, including cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, drug and alcohol abuse and poor diet.

Where "Resilience" focuses on younger children, "Paper Tigers" is about older youth."

"Suicide: The Ripple Effect" highlights the journey of Kevin Hines, who at age 19, attempted to take his life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. The film chronicles his personal journey and the ripple effect it has on those who have been impacted by his suicide attempt and his work since.

Mills said it is difficult to find these films online and they need to be booked for most people to ever have a chance at seeing them. The Midwest Theater in Scottsbluff will be airing each of the three films. There will also be a live panel discussion with "Resilience" and "Paper Tigers" with people who are in the mental health field, youth services field or people who have lived those experiences.

Region 1 will also have a booth set up in the lobby of the Midwest Theater with information about mental health and children's mental health. Door prizes will also be available.

The documentaries will show at the Midwest Theater in Scottsbluff. "Resilience" will be shown on June 27 at 7 p.m. "Paper Tigers" will show on July 25 at 7 p.m. "Suicide: The Ripple Effect" will show on Aug. 8 at 7 p.m.

This event is funded in whole or in part under the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Grant through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and Region 1 Behavioral Health Authority.


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