A trio of socially conscious films, followed by discussion, are being screened at the Kent Recreation and Cultural Centre in Agassiz. They are geared toward youth and parents and seek to address the challenge of parenting in the digital era.
The first film Screenagers Growing Up In The Digital Age was shown on Dec. 8, but will be featured again, due to extreme weather that accounted for a poor turnout at the original screening.
“It’s really important to manage the screen time of youth, we’re just beginning to understand the impact on youth, and youth are more susceptible to addiction due to the brain’s development,” said Local Action Team Coordinator for Chilliwack & Fraser Cascades Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use (CYMHSU) Maggie Aronoff.
The second film in the sequence, Paper Tigers One High School’s Success Story, will be featured Thursday, Jan 12. The documentary, directed by James Redford, follows the lives of staff and students at an alternative high school.
Traditionally students would be suspended from school for behavioural issues and poor academic performances, but after delving into studies based on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), a kinder approach was implemented. It utilized an in-school suspension method, as opposed to a traditional punitive methodology.
The new method helped to combat and alleviate the “toxic stress” created by those adverse childhood experiences, and the approach is quickly catching on according to Redford’s film.
Resilience The Biology of Stress & The Science of Hope is the third film in the series and will be featured Thursday Feb. 9.
The film is also directed and produced by James Redford and forms a complimentary piece to Paper Tigers, addressing how a therapy-based approach to poor behaviour can “improve lives in poorer communities.” Paper Tigers speaks to the practice, whereas Resilience explores the theory.
The films are part of an outreach strategy created by Chilliwack Fraser Cascades Local Action Team (LAT) in partnership with Fraser Cascade SD78 and the Agassiz Community Health Centre to bring information to youth and parents about early signs of anxiety and depression. It aims to teach strategies for parents to help their child or youth succeed, and to find local, regional and online resources.
Emergency hospital visits for mental health issues are skyrocketing among youth, according to Aronoff, who told The Observer that what seems to be resilience early on in childhood traumas could lead to problems later on. Early prevention and skill building are key to developing healthy coping mechanisms.
“Research tells us that things have an impact on children and having a helpful school environment can be helpful in preventing chronic illness in adulthood, which can happen if these issues are left untreated,” she said.
One in four people coping with a mental health issue are youth aged and 80 per cent of youth don’t ask for help according to Aronoff.
Each film is followed up by discussion with a local youth service provider.
The films are being shown on their dates at 5:30 p.m. at the Kent Recreation and Cultural Centre at 6660 Pioneer Ave. Agassiz. For more information contact Maggie at 604-308-9440, or email@example.com