BENEFITING: ART WITH IMPACT
The media keeps talking about how high school students are mentally unstable resulting in tragedies like suicide or bullying. But they never talk about how they can be a part of the solution. How telling stories and sharing our experiences is a powerful way of managing mental health. Our program goes into a high school for four days. We teach the students about mental health and connect them with resources at their school, in their communities, and on the web. But that's not all. We also help them make it personal by teaching them to make a compelling one-minute film about a mental health issue that impacts them. The high schoolers work in teams of 4-6 and make short films using tablets and tablet-based editing software to create their films. On the last day we have a film festival where the students share their work with their peers. This model doesn't teach mental health in an abstract "everything will be okay" way. Instead, we keep it real. We tell it like it is -- both talking about the very real challenges and sharing solutions that have worked for us and others. The teenagers come away with new knowledge and also cool skills (filmmaking! story telling!) that they can use throughout their lives as they find the things that make them feel mentally well.