The Basilica of Saint Mary’s Movies for Mental Health

The parish offers social events for those dealing with mental health struggles

Art by Cameron Smith

Art by Cameron Smith

The Basilica of Saint Mary’s Fifth Annual Mental Health Film Festival is held each Tuesday of February as a social opportunity for those involved in their mental health ministry. In this year’s theme of Mental Illness and Addiction: The Dual Diagnosis; the films focused on the intersection between the topics.

This year’s films included “The Lost Weekend,” “A Hatful of Rain,” “Days of Wine and Roses,” and “Pleasure Unwoven.” Snacks are provided, as well as support from a strong community of people who are dealing with similar struggles. The movies evoked emotion as the event was largely attended by those involved in the ministry, those who work in the mental illness field, those who have loved ones with mental illnesses, and several people who have mental illnesses. After the films, discussion is encouraged. Following the February 14 showing of “A Hatful of Rain,” discussion was directed toward the comfort people felt in the movie, while the film was typically viewed as emotionally unsettling.

“Even though they might be difficult to watch, they resonate with people,” Janet Grove, Basilica ministry coordinator said about the movies. “What struck me about these films was that each talked about addiction being a mental illness or a disease. It’s taken us this long to really understand that.”

The Basilica’s mental health ministry has been around for about 12 years, and it is active source of aid within the parish community. Originally created because parishioners sought education on mental health to better serve friends and family, the program has shifted now into a full year’s curriculum of activities. The need for an event like this came from the committee’s request for a more social event to compliment educational meetings.

“You would think that mental illness would go hand in hand with religion, as people should feel comfortable going to their pastor, or priest, or rabbi, where there would be no judgement–but it’s amazing how few programs there really are,” Grove said.

Beyond the month of February, educational and social occasions from the mental health ministry will continue to be held to support those close to mental illnesses. The Basilica’s website is updated with all future events.