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mental illness

Using Movies to Discuss Difficult Family Topics

FAM, kids By February 24, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , , No Comments

academy award parenting lessonsWith the Oscars just around the corner, North Americans are rushing to see the films that critics have been raving about for months. Some families in the Touro University Worldwide (TUW) Marriage & Family Therapy Department reviewed a few of this year’s Oscar Nominees and the family lessons that can be learned from their plots.  Have you ever considered using movies to discuss difficult family topics?

1)     Dealing with Parenting – “Brave” is the favorite for winning best animated film, but it is also a favorite for understanding the conflicts that arise between parents and children. The strong-willed Merida defies her mother as she hopes to change the future her parents have planned for her. Ultimately, both mother and daughter learn that parenting is about compromise, which is a lesson that both children and adults can take to heart.

2)     Dealing with Mental Illness – Mental illness is often a taboo subject; families do not discuss it and prefer avoidance over acceptance. Movies such as “Silver Linings Playbook” have brought the realities of depression and mental illness into the spotlight. Families need to be open about mental illness with their children so that they can understand that it is an illness and it is ok to ask for help. Movies are good starting points for talking about difficult topics, and “Silver Linings Playbook” fits the bill.

3)     Learning about Societal Struggles – “Les Misérables” was revolutionary when Victor Hugo first published the acclaimed novel in 1862, and many of the struggles and lessons learned by its characters are still relevant today.  Talking to your children about poverty and racism can be difficult topics to introduce, and sometimes looking at how far the world has come is a good starting point. Using historical movies like “Les Misérables” can teach your children lessons such as the importance of service to society, intellectual pursuit, and the giving back to the underserved, all principals that TUW is built upon.

4)     Learning about Loss – “Amour” is the favorite for winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, but the topics the film focuses on such as elderly relations and loss are not foreign. Talking about loss is a difficult subject to broach at any age, which is why it is important to watch movies that showcase the pain of loss and show family members how individuals deal with this agony.

The Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Touro University Worldwide presents an extraordinary opportunity for interested individuals to become actively involved in an expanding and promising area of study. The need for Marriage and Family Therapists is growing as an integral and important part of our nation’s health and mental health care delivery system. So watch the movies, learn the lessons, and then become part of the TUW community that teaches these lessons every day.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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TODAY is Bell Let's Talk Day

charity, FAM, health By February 12, 2013 Tags: , , , , , 2 Comments
Bell lets talk1 in 5 Canadians will experience a form of mental illness at some point in their lives.  I was one of those 5.  Hospitalized for depression during my undergraduate degree, I lost friends and people spoke in whispers as I walked by.  I became a liability to know, and a burden for those who visited.  But my experience also made me realize how common mental illness can be.  Also in the ward were three other people I knew from university including the spouse of one of my professors.  I began to accept the condition as being akin to a heart murmur or broken achilles.  Mental health is just another medical condition that needs attention.  When I was well I took some time off and thrived.  Truly happy, fulfilled and strong, I made the decision not to go back to my original university.  Too much stigma.  Too many obstacles I didn’t need. Several years later, a few things have changed – but not enough.  TODAY is Bell Let’s Talk Day!  Read on..
One of the biggest hurdles to overcome for anyone facing mental illness is the stigma associated with it. It is the leading reason two-thirds of all of those living with a mental illness do not seek help.
Bell Lets Talk Day

To drive progress in reducing stigma, a campaign called Bell Let’s Talk is opening the national conversation about mental illness and its dramatic impact in all parts of the country. Stepping forward as Bell’s spokesperson for Bell Let’s Talk Day and our campaign to effect change is six-time Olympic medalist Clara Hughes. As a community leader and philanthropist who has come to know and inspire Canadians, Clara has seen the impact of mental illness and understands how important it is to get people talking about it around kitchen and boardroom tables.

So, TODAY… for every:

– Text message sent*
– Long distance call made*
– Tweet using #BellLetsTalk
– Facebook share of the Bell Let’s Talk image

Bell will donate 5¢ more to help fund mental health initiatives across Canada.

* By a Bell or Bell Aliant customer.

So tweet! Call!  Reach out and start some conversations.  Our kids need to know that it’s ok to share, to talk and to ask for help.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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