CONNECT with local nonprofit about Mental Health Awareness Month | ParkRecord.com

CONNECT with local nonprofit about Mental Health Awareness Month

CONNECT Summit County, a nonprofit that raises awareness about mental health issues, is both celebrating its two-year anniversary and invites the community to it's many activities this month, said Executive Director Shauna Wiest.

Events include free Brain Storm Film Festival screenings, community discussions, and featured speakers that will relate to the this year's theme, "'Stigma Free, How It Should Be," Wiest said.

"May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which is a national event, and we decided to celebrate it locally," she said. "Each year, we increase our programming, and this year we have 18 public events."

"Like our mission says, CONNECT wants to create a well-informed, stigma-free community with access to mental health services for all," she said.

Brain Storm Film Festival

The events kick off May 1 with a Brain Storm Film Festival screening of the PBS documentary "Mindfulness Goes Mainstream," which examines the physical and mental benefits of mindfulness, at the Park City Library's Jim Santy Auditorium.

The film's screening will be followed by a "mindfulness 101" talk with Rebecca Brenner, the mindfulness instructor at Park City Hospital's LiveWell Center.

"The goal of that evening is to start the month off by focusing ourselves and creating a better understanding about mental health awareness," Wiest said.

The other Brain Storm Film Festival screenings will include "Heroin(e)" on May 9, "Mind Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw" on May 17, "Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405" on May 24, and "Dying to be Thin" on May 30. Each screening will be followed by a Q&A.

"We are partnering with the Park City Film Series on 'Mind Game,' and we are bringing in Chamique (Holdsclaw), who is the Michael Jordan of the WNBA," Wiest said. "The film is about her struggles with mental illness, and she will be here in person."

The screenings of "Mindfulness Goes Mainstream" and "Heroin(e)" will be repeated at the Summit County Library Branch on May 15 and May 17, respectively.

In addition to the screenings, a play, "Portrait of an Alzheimer Caregiver," by Jacqueline Eaton, will be performed by Walk-ons, Inc., on May 22, a the Jim Santy Auditorium.

Walk-ons, Inc., is non-profit theatre company dedicated to producing professional performances for underserved audience, such as nursing homes, homeless shelters, libraries and public parks.

"This is the first time we are doing a play, and it's for adults," Wiest explained. "The title says it all, and the play will be followed by a talk and Q&A with author Sheryl Bagshaw, who is a dementia practitioner and educator with (the Dementia Assist blog)."

Ask Me Anything

Local youth will lead a community dialogue titled "Ask Me Anything" on May 2 at the Park City Library, and Wiest said it is one of the most exciting events of the month.

"The Park City Library has a teen advisory board and were mulling back and forth about what to do during Mental Health Awareness Month," Wiest said. "During that time four students — Piper Moeller, Sadie Ortiz, Natalie Fink and Lexi Laufer, created TEDxYouth@Park City talks."

The students' talks, respectively, addressed drug addiction and recovery, cultural stereotypes, depression and anxiety, and harassment of LGBTQ students.

"So we decided to show these talks and have their cohorts from Latinos in Action, Gay-Straight Alliance, iMPACT –– which is the high school's mental health group –– and the Park City High School Hope Squad say something as well," Wiest said. "We wanted to include them because they will all have cross-narratives and different perspectives on these topics," Wiest said.

Between the videos, the floor will open up for a Q&A.

The questions can be asked in person, through email at connectsummitcounty@gmail.com or anonymously on notecards, Wiest said.

'No Family is Safe'

CONNECT will present its featured Mental Health Awareness Month speakers — Admiral James Winnefeld and his wife Mary Winnefeld — on May 8, at the Park City Hospital's Blair Education and Conference Center.

The Winnefelds are the co-chairs of SAFE Project US, an organization that is on a crusade to stop the opioid epidemic through prevention, prescription drug controls, law enforcement and promoting better access to quality treatment, Wiest said.

Last year, James Winnefeld, former vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Barack Obama, detailed his son's death by opioid overdose in a piece published by The Atlantic magazine.

SAFE is an acronym for Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic.

Wiest hopes the talk will resonate with Park City, who experienced the opioid overdose deaths of two students two years ago.

"The reason why I wanted to bring the Admiral in to speak to us was because I wanted those families to know that they are not alone," Wiest said.

Other events

The Mental Health Awareness Month events will also include the Brain Adventure Game, an activity that will be part of a presentation called "The Brain Story: The Core Story of Brain Development, Mental Health and Addiction," that will start at 6:30 p.m. on May 22, at Park City Hospital's Blair Education and Conference Center.

"The game is designed to build community understanding of brain development," Wiest said. "It's for county officials, law enforcement, educators, judges and people who are in public office. It's also for mental health providers, who can become certified providers that night."

Participants will learn about the building blocks of the brain, what makes it strong and what makes it weak, she said.

Neuroscientist Nicole Sherren from the Palix Foundation, a Canadian organization that works to improve global health, will give the presentation.

"The Palix Foundation received a grant to study the effects of trauma on early brain development and why some people are more vulnerable to mental illness and substance abuse than other," Wiest said.

Student outreach

In addition to the public events, CONNECT Summit County will host a series of events for students throughout the county, Wiest said.

Skullcandy and the Cole Project, a nonprofit that provides grief support for young adults and teens in safe and inclusive environments, collaborated with CONNECT Summit County to set up stigma-free zones at Skullcandy's headquarters and the Miners Hospital where teens can hang out.

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For information, visit connectsummitcounty.org.

• May 1 — Brain Storm Film Festival: “Mindfulness Goes Mainstream”, Park City Library’s Jim Santy Auditorium

• May 2 — “Ask Me Anything Night” with Park City High School students, Jim Santy Auditorium

• May 3 — “Social Media Wellness” with Ana Homayoun, 6 p.m., Jim Santy Auditorium

• May 7 — “Pro-ACTIVE Aging”, lunch and learn with Liz Garcia-Leavitt, noon, at Basin Recreation Fieldhouse. RSVP by May 4 at connectsummitcounty@gmail.com

• May 8 — “No Family Is Safe From This Epidemic,” Admiral James and Mary Winnefeld, Park City Hospital

• May 9 — Brain Storm Film Festival: “Heroin(e)”, Jim Santy Auditorium

• May 10 — “How Are We doing on Mental Health and Substance Abuse,” discussion with Kim Carson, Rich Bullough, Beth Armstrong, Mary Christa Smith, Roy Parker, Kara Beasley and Ed Rutan, moderated by Ollie Wilder, Summit County Library Kamas Branch

• May 14 — “Front Line & Blue Line: Parents & Police working Together,” with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, Summit County Health Department, Park City High School and Communities that Care, Ecker Hill Middle School

• May 15 — “How Are We doing on Mental Health and Substance Abuse,” discussion with Roger Armstrong, Nann Roel, Aaron Newman, Mary Christa Smith, Roy Parker, Eli Levine and Shauna Wiest, moderated by Ollie Wilder, Jim Santy Auditorium

• May 15 — Brain Storm Film Festival: “Mindfulness Goes Mainstream,” Summit County Library Kamas Branch

• May 16 — “Concussion/TBI: Impacts on Mental Health,” with Alex Schlopy, Lauren Ziaks and Antoinetta Russo, moderated by Lynn Ware Peek, 6 p.m., Jim Santy Auditorium

• May 17 — Brain Storm Film Festival: “Mind Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw,” with the Park City Film Series, Jim Santy Auditorium

• May 17 — Brain Storm Film Festival: “Heroin(e),” Summit County Library Kamas Branch

• May 22 — Brain Storm Film Festival: “Portrait of an Alzheimer Caregiver,” performance and lunch, noon, Jim Santy Auditorium. Reservations required by May 18 at connectsummitcounty@gmail.com

• May 22 — “The Brain Story” with Dr. Nicole Sherren, neuroscientist with the Palix Foundation

• May 24— Brain Storm Film Festival: “Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405,” with Dr. Melissa Lopez-Larson and Ida Yoked, Jim Santy Auditorium

• May 30— Brain Storm Film Festival: “Dying to Be Thin,” with Karen Malm, Melissa Taylor and Sloan Pitman, Jim Santy Auditorium

• May 31 — “70 Years of Healthy Minds: Current Research on Brain and Behavioral Health,” with the University of Utah Psychiatry Department, Summit County Library Kimball Junction Branch