Propel Braddock Hills Stands Together

Contemporary Craft continues to be amazed by the talent and passion of our region's high school students.  A group from Propel Braddock Hills, in connection with Stand Together, participated in our Mindful school program last October.  These creative students also initiated a variety of programs and events to end mental health stigma in their school.  The results are inspiring.  Check them out in the video above!




Pittsburgh Law Firm Creates Scholarship for Students Living with Mental Illness

SCC is proud to recognize the work of a local Pittsburgh law firm, DRK Attorneys, who have created a scholarship to promote awareness for mental health.  This $1,000 scholarship is a result of DRK Attorneys' work with clients who suffer from mental illness, where they cultivated an increased insight into the stigma surrounding mental health. Aiming to inspire hope within individuals with mental illness, one of the scholarship's goals is to to celebrate the success of individuals who suffer with mental health issues but persevere to overcome their struggles.

Living with mental illness and succeeding in an academic environment can be incredible challenges that most people never stop to think about. We wanted to recognize this very important issue and to acknowledge some super stars who are making their dreams come true thanks to determination, resilience, and intelligence. - Anthony Deluca, DRK Attorneys

Applicants are eligible to apply for the scholarship if they are currently enrolled at or accepted to a college in the United States (community, technical, undergraduate or postgraduate), have maintained a cumulative 3.0 GPA and are willing to share their story with the general public. The first scholarship recipient in 2015 was a student studying Elementary Education and Special Education in Phoenix, Arizona, who is challenged with ADHD and a nonverbal learning disability. The upcoming deadline for the 2016 scholarship is August 1st, 2016. More information on  eligibility and application requirements can be found on DRK Attorneys' website. Questions can be directed to drkattonerys@gmail.com.

WMAHS Takes Initiative on Mental Health

West Mifflin Area High School has formed the Stand Together Team, a student-lead group that aims to produce activities around the school and community that promote education on mental health, provide resources on how to get help if in a crisis, and teach others to have empathy for those who struggle with mental health conditions. Their work is funded by grant money awarded by the Allegheny Office and the Staunton Farm Foundation.

The Stand Together Team has created programs like the Mental Health Cupcake Day fundraiser for families in the community in crisis and a "One in Four" Day where every fourth locker was marked to demonstrate that 1 in 4 teenagers will be diagnosed with a mental health condition. The group has also taken on large-scale events like their Glow Dance, where the proceeds benefited the National Alliance on Mental Health and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  

SCC is proud to recognize the accomplishments of the Stand Together Team, who visited Mindful in November 2015.  

You can stay updated on the Stand Together Team's progress on their website.

Pittsburgh Filmmaker Explores Suicide and Mental Illness

Kathy Leichter, documentary filmmaker and former WQED Associate Producer, is sharing her story about mental health and the stigma surrounding suicide through film. Her award winning film, "Here One Day," documents Leichter's journey as she comes to terms with her mother's suicide ten years after it happened. Leichter's film reveals to the audience that it is never too late to start the healing process and helps individuals understand the suffering and pain that individuals who suffer from mental illness may face.

Making "Here One Day" really allowed me to grieve in a different way. I still had these other layers that I really had to get to, and the film helped me to do that. You know, the film created all this space for me to have conversations with my family that I had never had before, and now, seeing the film and speaking openly about my family's experience has really, I can't say fully liberated me, I don't think liberation is quite the right word, but it's transformed me. -Kathy Leichter

You can listen to her full interview with WESA's Paul Guggenheime here.  And join Contemporary Craft for the Pittsburgh screening of "Here One Day" on Monday, February 22nd at Rodef Shalom. A Q&A and reception with the director will follow.

TICKETS: $10 online; $12 at the door

FOR INFO AND TICKETS: https://jfilmpgh.secure.force.com/ticket/…


"Zero Suicide Plan"

Suicide rates are on the raise in the United States, but the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit is bucking the trend with their proactive, preventative mental health screenings.  Their goal: zero suicides.

Why push for zero, rather than just a reduction? "Because if you say we're OK with five a year, one of those might be your brother or your friend," says [Doree Ann] Espiritu. "We aim for zero because it reminds all of us of what we would want for ourselves." Maybe it is not possible, she says. But it is a goal.

Learn more on NPR's Morning Edition.



Art with Impact

One of the most fulfilling parts of creating Mindful, has been the opportunity to meet and learn about all of the amazing organizations and services working hard to end stigma and increase mental health awareness.  Many of these groups will be present in the SCC Gallery the first Saturday of the month throughout the exhibition for our "Saturday Information Sessions," and other, non-local, groups will be featured here on the Mindful blog.

Art with Impact, based in San Francisco, CA, promotes mental wellness by creating space for young people to learn and connect through art and media.  Using film as a conversation-starter, the organization leads workshops on mental health for young adults in both the US and Canada. They also hold a monthly film contest centered around mental health.  

Watch AWI videos and learn more here.

Creative Therapy for Kids

A team of programmers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center and two doctors from the Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents at Allegheny General Hospital recently teamed up to develop a therapeutic video game for children who have experienced trauma. This special app, cleverly disguised as a typical, fun video game, helps users navigate complex feelings.  Learn more about this unique project in this 90.5 WESA story.

UnMasking Mental Health

We are grateful for and impressed by the thoughtful student work created by Seton Hill University Art Therapy students for the Entertainment Industries Council's 2014 Generation Next Competition. "Unmasking Mentel Health" was produced by Megan Miller, Elizabeth Kimble, Sarah Rifkind, Molly Sheedy, Erica Kuhn, and Kristin Thomas.