Student Life Editor
“Stop the stigma. Start the conversation.” That is the slogan behind the mental health documentary “Out of Sight.”
According to its website, the mission of the film and its creators is to “impact those suffering [from mental health disorders] in any way possible… through social awareness, youth rights activism and providing an outlet for their stories.”
“Out of Sight” was born from the visions of avid film enthusiast and cinematographer Kyle Mahaney.
“I have never personally dealt with mental illness, but within my community I have seen countless young people struggling with their symptoms including, self-injury or feelings of suicide.” says Mahaney, a native of the Pocono Mountains.
As an eyewitness to personal battles of mental illness, Mahaney saw that one of the main issues between those suffering and those who were not, was communication.
The film “addresses the idea that such issues are best kept ‘out of sight.’”
Creating a film, meant creating a conversation.
When Mahaney, 21, pitched the idea to friends, a small group effort became a massive opportunity to raise awareness.
The team consist of compassionate students and victims of mental health; they not only helped direct and produce the film, but contributed personal stories as well.
“This film started as a reactionary effort,” says Mahaney’s director biography on the film’s website, “but quickly evolved into a group of volunteers dedicated to sharing the stories of those who have faced stigma.
Only 1 in 3 youth suffering from depression will receive the help they need. Removing the stigma of shame associated with talking about mental health was one of the film’s main objectives.
“Out of Sight” explores the effects on how our society treats adolescents at-risk of suicide or suffering from depression — and its dire consequences,” Mahaney said.
The incredibly personal delivery of the documentary showcases anecdotes of 50 individuals including adult survivors, teens and families affected by mental illness.
Their stories are not only eye-opening, but contain significant relatable messages.
The three-year long project, which has grown to include over 50 volunteers has taken on a life of its own.
It has already been screened at several universities across North East Pennsylvania, including an upcoming showing at ESU in collaboration with the Department of Counseling and Psychology Services on campus.
“We wanted to host this screening to increase awareness about mental health and reduce the stigma of mental illness,” said Dr. Linda Van Meter, director of counseling and psychological services.
“It also gives us the opportunity to encourage students to access the available counseling services provided on campus.”
ESU’s Department of Counseling and Psychological Services, as well as “Out of Sight” and its creators, encourages anyone battling mental health to reach out for help.
Kyle and the creators anticipate that Out of Sight will be released on digital and DVD platforms sometime next year.
‘Out of Sight’ will air at ESU on Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. in SciTech 117.
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