School District #83 and community partners host a screening of the documentary, Angst:Raising Awareness Around Anxiety on Tuesday, Sept. 18. (File photo)

Film documents struggles with anxiety

School District #83 and partners host free screening of Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety

School District #83 and community partners are hosting a free screening of the documentary, Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety on Tuesday, Sept. 18.

The film presentation will take place between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. at the school board office at 341 Shuswap St. SW. After the showing of the 56-minute film, there will be an informative panel discussion.

The documentary’s producers, Scilla Andreen and Karin Gornick, have one goal: to start a global conversation and raise awareness around anxiety. Through candid interviews, they utilize the power of film to tell the stories of many kids and teens who discuss their anxiety and its impacts on their lives and relationships, as well as how they’ve found solutions and hope.

The film also includes a special interview with Michael Phelps, a mental health advocate and one of the greatest athletes of all-time. In addition, the documentary provides discussions with mental health experts about the causes of anxiety and its sociological effects, along with the help, resources and tools available to address the condition.

Related: Fear not: Help for children with anxiety

Part of the beauty of this film is the openness of the children and young adults featured; for some of them, the “Angst” project marks the first time they are publicly sharing their experiences with anxiety. Our hope is that their candidness and bravery will inspire our community to do the same.

While Angst documents the struggles some people have with anxiety, it also reveals their hope for the future. Noah, a teenager in the film, describes it this way: “Anxiety doesn’t define me. It’s not just a curse; it also gives me strength.”

“Everybody needs to know that anxiety disorders are real, common and treatable instead of viewing them as a personal choice or something to be ashamed of,” said Dr. Jerry Bubrick, senior director of Anxiety Disorders Center, Child Mind Institute. “Getting help early is crucial in giving people the tools they need to feel better. We just need to start the conversation.”

Related: Shielding our children from risk

“We felt it was important to make a movie that could raise awareness to open up the conversation and provide hope,” said Andreen, IndieFlix CEO and “Angst” Producer. “So many people struggle with anxiety and have trouble talking about it. We want to change that.”

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health challenge in the U.S., impacting 54 percent of females and 46 percent of males, with age seven being the median age of onset, according to the World Health Organization. While anxiety disorders are highly treatable, only one-third of those suffering receive treatment. Everyone involved in the development of “Angst” has a personal experience with anxiety – from the producers to the interviewees.

“The conversation surrounding mental health really hits home for me,” said Michael Phelps. “Many people don’t understand how debilitating mental illness truly can be, and even more than that, how common it is, yet people are afraid to have the serious discussions about it. I welcomed the opportunity to be a part of ‘Angst’ to further the dialogue around mental health and to help people understand the impact anxiety has on our mental state and encourage people, especially kids, to ask for help.”

This is a free event, however space is limited, so you must RSVP your seat. https://angstsept18.eventbrite.ca or call 250-833-6100

The screening was organized by School District 83’s Wellness Committee and community partners through the Shuswap, including sponsors/supporters Daybreak Rotary, Salmon Arm, CMHA Shuswap-Revelstoke, Shuswap North Okanagan Division of Family Practice, North Okanagan Shuswap DPAC and Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo.

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