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DVD screening to show the reality of mental illness

The Wadena County Mental Health Advisory Council will present its new DVD documentary in an informational event at the Wadena Evangelical Church on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m.

Jeff King, chairman of the advisory council, said it is the first meeting of its kind.

"We're reaching out to faith communities," he said. "We made this DVD earlier this year, and it's called 'Holding the Hope: Our Journeys of Recovery.' It's the stories of about six or seven people with mental illness, their history, what they've gone through, their treatment and the recovery they have found."

He said the half-hour documentary is to inspire people who have mental illness, and raise awareness in people without mental illness.

"It's proven to be quite successful. We've already shown it to over 1,000 people in different organizations across the state, and some people want to use the video for training for nurses, maybe law enforcement," he said. "People have said that when they've seen our video, that they were moved at our stories ... they were informed. They were taught things they never knew. And they got it from the horse's mouth. They weren't getting it through the doctor - they were getting it through the actual people who have these particular illnesses."

After the film, there will be time for questions and intermingling, and the event goes until about 8:30 p.m.

Admission is free, and there will be coffee and doughnuts.

"We think that the faith communities would be a little more open-minded and tolerant of people with mental illness, more compassionate," King said. "On the other hand, we think that there's still some stigma, that maybe it's a spiritual issue - that kind of a thing - and not a real medical disease that we each have."

King said that in 1987, the state of Minnesota mandated the creation of local advisory councils (LACs) across the state in every county.

The Wadena County Mental Health Advisory Council is part of Region V+, which is headquartered in Staples and covers Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties.