Videos Provide Tears, Smiles, and Laughter to Youth in Recovery
September is National Recovery Month, and it’s an opportunity for organizations to join the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in celebrating that treatment works and people do recover.
Starting recovery and overcoming the stigmas surrounding mental illness and addiction can be especially difficult for youth. Recovery Month activities remind youth they can surmount any mental health or substance abuse challenges they face.
One great way to encourage young people’s recovery is to share the journeys of other youth. The Mental Health Channel (MHC) is a great resource for stories. This extensive collection of high-quality, short videos shines a spotlight on courageous people who face their mental illnesses head-on and without shame. Focusing on disorders such as anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia, MHC’s mini-films will move staff and clients to tears and also make them laugh. Here are some videos we think young people can relate to:
- Youth-focused films. Transition-age youth will appreciate the true-life stories in the Critical Years series. Selvaughn, who experienced homelessness, and Lorne, who had multiple foster care placements, both survived significant trauma and are in recovery for depression. Grace, who also lives with depression, shares her story of coming out and embracing life, and Margaret reveals her triumphant recovery while living with schizophrenia.
- Film festival. The 2015 MHC Online Film Festival includes both fictional and documentary films. In “The Mermaid,” viewers get a glimpse of what it’s like for a boy living with schizophrenia, and his sister, to live with his symptoms of psychosis. For young people living with bipolar disorder, “Darkness Swallows Me Whole: Bipolar Disorder,” will be very affirming. The narrator, Tamara, shows what it’s like to live with the illness through vivid imagery and poetry.
- Stand-up comedy. It is often said laughter is the best medicine, and young people might agree after watching the 19 episodes of the Cracking Up series. Designed for a mature audience (we recommend youth aged 18 and older), these short episodes shot in Austin and New Orleans feature comedians who are in recovery from addiction and mental health challenges.
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Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth, the Family and Youth Services Bureau, or the Administration for Children and Families.