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“Art With Impact” Forum Addresses Mental Health

Story By: Alyssa Garza, Reporter

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“Art With Impact” put mental health issues and awareness front and center in the OAB auditorium of Fresno City College on Feb. 12.

The event featured a number of speakers, including Cary McQueen, founder/ executive director of “Art With Impact” who came from San Francisco. A few short films, related to the subject, were also screened and discussed.

One of the featured films “Tres” with Spanish subtitles, is about a young woman who was sharing her grief over her grandmother who had drowned. Throughout the film, the woman bares her soul to the audience who could relate to the emotions that the young woman spoke about. Near the end, the woman sends a message to her mother, “Don’t worry; I’m ok; Grandmother is in a better place.”

In a discussion following the film, two guest speakers generously shared their personal stories about their mental illness and mental health issues.

Elizabeth Pichardo, a clinical psychology major at FCC, said she had never openly shared her story about struggling with physical and mental illness while growing up.

“After grieving my father’s death and dealing with alcoholism and personal abuse at home, you don’t want to feel like the world has to know your issues,” Pichardo said. “Why would I have to go and bother them with my own.”

She said, “No one knew what was going on behind closed doors.”

McQueen said, that the film impacts people differently.

“People pointed out things inside the films that I’ve never seen before,” said McQueen. “The way they talk about them is always different and it’s always unique”

The staff of the Psychological services also attended the event. Gregory Crawford, psychological intern at FCC encouraged participants to visit the office if they had issues or just to talk to someone.

“The psychological services office is open for anyone, whether they are suffering from a variety issues or just dealing with being a mental health student.”

Other related events were presentations by Dr. James L. White’s and Jamie Tworkowski.

White’s presentation focuses on the mental state of African American students while Tworkowski, author/founder of “To Write Love on Her Arm” spoke about the importance of positive outlooks and avoiding depression and suicide.

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“Art With Impact” Forum Addresses Mental Health