As part of Mental Illness Awareness Week, which runs from October 4th – 10th, the UF Department of Psychiatry partnered with UF Health to host a movie night at the Hippodrome Theatre in downtown Gainesville. The Misunderstood Epidemic: Depression is a documentary by filmmaker Susan Polis Schutz which “reveals the powerful and heartbreaking stories of men, women and teens and their families trapped by clinical depression.”
The goal was to host a movie at the Hippodrome Theatre that addresses everyday people’s struggle with depression to bring awareness to the general population about depression and how it can affect those living with the illness. The film was chosen and moderated by Dr. Richard Holbert an Assistant Professor and Medical Director with the UF Department of Psychiatry and UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital. Dr. Holbert and Interim Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at UF, Regina Bussing, MD gave an introduction to the film and answered questions from the audience about the film and mental illness. They were joined in the discussion by UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital Administrator Marina Cecchini.
An art exhibit was held as part of the evening with works of art created by members of the community with mental illness as a part of their recovery. Several artists were in attendance to speak about their art work and how it has helped them on their journey of recovery. UF Health Recreational Therapist, Maggie Hannon said “having the art as part of the program helped to remind consumers and providers that individuals are not always in crisis. Individuals are multifaceted and with the support and resources of one another we as a community can provide more opportunities to come together and help one another.” She said the positive feedback the artists received about their work from the attendees “made the artists feel good about themselves, they were surprised at the positive response and excited to do more! Art is a wonderful way to express ourselves and can be done on many levels. No one should ever feel they can’t do art. By coming together and creating art we help to support and motivate each other, enhancing our quality of life.” Hannon has worked as a therapist on the inpatient unit at UF Health Shands for 25 years. The art was provided by members of AnARTists and Gainesville Opportunity Center (GOC).
The event was well attended with over 40 attendees for the film and countless others that stopped by to view the art work on display and learn more about mental illness and art therapy.
Mental Illness Awareness week finishes up the week with a Grand Rounds lecture on ECT and TMS as alternative forms of treatment to medication resistant depression at the McKnight Brain Institute, a Mental Health Education Seminar at Gainesville’s St. Leo University campus and World Mental Health Day. For more information on these events please visit: http://psychiatry.ufl.edu/2015/10/08/mental-health-awareness-week/