Stigma plagues all communities, and in my attempts to reduce that stigma the youth and I created a video for Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month (May).
With support and help from BRIC Arts Media, we were able to put together this dynamic film where the youth were able to share their experience about their mental health journey.
Developing this video was the MOST challenging thing I have EVER done in my career of Youth Advocacy, yet it was THE MOST rewarding experience !
The youth and I did 2 prep sessions where we discussed:
- Group dynamics
- Team Building
- Definition of Stigma
- Definition of Mental Health
- Why people have mental health challenges
- The things we learned about mental health from family, culture, and society
- What hurts and what helps in relationships surrounding mental health
- Different ways people can support youth who have mental health challenges, etc.
Below are a few newsprints from the project:
After the 2 prep sessions, the youth were finally able to meet representatives from BRIC who came to my office space and we worked on the project during their mid-winter recess from 10-4pm for 5 days.
During this time the youth:
- Watched a variety of stigma videos
- Reviewed Angles, types of shots
- Conducted interviews with one another
- Learned how to work a video camera & a tripod
- Learned how to use sound
- Created scenes for topics surrounding mental health as discussed in the 2 prep-session
- Edited their videos
- Adjusted the color/speed on their videos
- Had Fun!
The kids brought 110% of themselves to this project and I appreciated it. In the beginning all of them were more concerned with the stipends, but as the project began to develop the youth were able to share their stories without exploiting themselves and feeling uncomfortable.They shared just enough to let everyone know that they are not alone, and that they will have their struggles and challenges, but its all conquerable (is that even a word? lol idk/idc, but I like it)
Watching the parents express the amount of joy, honor, and pride they had in their children that day was phenomenal. Watching the kids discomfort as a result of never hearing their parents speak well of them was a joy too, but the even better part was watching them embrace the love they seek to receive every day.
My goal is to inspire, love, educate & empower.
I thank the Citywide Oversight Committee’s Anti-Stigma Work group for trusting me with this project and I thank everyone who has supported me every step of the way, especially:
- Families On The Move of NYC, Inc.
- Lady Diamonds
- Office of Mental Health
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”
― Edward Everett Hale