Movies for Mental Health (M4MH)
CICMH Spotlight Interview with Art With Impact Canada
We chatted with Natalie Daley who is the Program Director at Art with Impact Canada to discuss one of their programs focused on using short films to help engage students around mental wellness on campuses, called Movies for Mental Health (M4MH).
Art With Impact is an organization that originally began in California, expanded its programs to Canada, and has been operating on campuses since its pilot project at McMaster University in 2015. Since then, the organization has continued to grow and build partnerships, gaining charitable status and working in seven provinces with thousands of students.
“We have seen such a great uptake of the program and the workshops on campuses across the country” said Natalie, “students on college and university campuses are really engaging with our films and we couldn’t be happier with the impact of the program.”
Since coming to Canada, Movies for Mental Health has served over 2,200 students in 66 workshops throughout the country. The response from students has been positive: 71% of those in attendance who were not already in therapy reported an increased likelihood of seeking support for their own mental well-being.
Further, data from the recent academic year reports that 94% of participants felt the workshop reduced stigma and 97% said it created awareness of mental health issues, which has been well received by campuses. “This event provides a nurturing safe space to gain an understanding of what mental health is and how you can help yourself”, said one student from Sheridan College at their March 2018 workshop.
The workshops are 2 hours long and include a lunch or dinner before an interactive discussion about mental illness, mental wellness, internalized stigma, and the media’s role in society’s perceptions. The students then watch and discuss short films from AWI’s winning OLIVE Film Collection in small and large groups. After the films, there is a panel discussion with representatives from the campus, including students with lived experience, campus counsellors, and representatives from the region and community.
“Thank you so much for a great afternoon, you facilitated a wonderful event! I’m sure the students I work with that attended have great feedback and have already heard from one of them!” – Lishan, Counsellor at the Counselling Centre, Centennial College
Natalie is now looking forward to the future and next steps for the program.
“We hope to start revisiting campuses and build on previous learnings, along with finding new campuses to host the program” said Natalie, “we are also looking at finding new innovative ways to get students out to the workshops and reaching out to students that otherwise would not be involved in discussions around mental health or wellness”.
If you would like to learn more, visit www.artwithimpact.org or contact Natalie at email@example.com