UPDATED: Documentary screening hopes to start talks about mental health, substance use
IF YOU GO
What: “Kissed by God”
Why: A documentary that tells the story of the life and death of surfer Andy Irons, a famous surfing icon who also suffered from bipolar disorder and a history of self-medicating, and how the pressure he faced in his life made it difficult for him to get the help he needed. (Viewer discretion is advised since the film touches on sensitive topics.)
When: 6 p.m. March 27, 2019
Where: Headwaters Center, Winter Park
In an active community like Grand County, the appearance of healthy lifestyles can hide less visible concerns about mental health and substance use disorders. A showing of the documentary “Kissed by God” in Winter Park hopes to highlight how mental health concerns and substance use can impact anyone.
“Kissed by God” tells the story of the life and death of surfer Andy Irons, a famous surfing icon who also suffered from bipolar disorder and a history of self-medicating, and how the pressure he faced in his life made it difficult for him to get the help he needed. It will be played at the Headwaters Center in Winter Park at 6 p.m. March 27.
“This film really showcases that you can be beautiful and smart and talented and have incredible drive and still be struggling with mental illness and addiction problems and that’s OK,” said Mara Rhodes, community prevention coordinator for the Northwest Colorado Community Health Partnership, which is hosting the film. “(You) get a really good look inside the journey of somebody struggling with both substance use disorder and a mental health crisis.”
Before the film, Rhodes and representatives from the Grand County Rural Health Network and Mind Springs will introduce the film and present resources for mental health and substance use available in Grand County and surrounding areas.
Rhodes said she chose this movie for a few reasons, including because she hoped it would attract a young and active crowd to join the discussions that affect them, especially if they haven’t participated in other events or conversations before.
“We just don’t get a lot of those folks, the 20- to 40-somethings, who maybe facing this crisis or who have peers who maybe facing this crisis, so this film is really geared toward those folks that are busy, young and seeing this kind of stuff,” she said.
She also said she felt the movie is a great example of the fact that mental health concerns and substance use, as well as the stigma surrounding talking about those issues, can impact anyone, even people who are seemingly at the top of their game.
“If this movie does anything well I think it’s that it gives people a look into who (mental health and substance use) actually affects and it affects people who are professionals and are motivated and married and have what look to be wonderful lives,” Rhodes said. “That’s what the film does most importantly is it takes away that stigma of who this happens to.”
This message is particularly relevant today because of the fact that mental health and substance use are affecting more people than ever, Rhodes said.
Ultimately, she hopes that the film will start conversations and help get rid of the stigma of opening up about these topics.
To that end, the representatives from the rural health network and Mind Springs will be available after the show to talk about the film, available resources, mental health and substance use.
“That’s the first step is being able to talk about it, recognize it and sort of remove that judgement piece,” Rhodes said. “The more we know and can empathize and be compassionate then the better this gets.”
Tickets are $10 and available on Eventbrite. Proceeds will be split evenly between Grand County Rural Health Network and the Northwest Colorado Community Health Partnership.
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