FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Carla Rabinowitz Phone: (212) 780-1400, ext. 7726 or (917) 826-6747 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
NYC Mental Health Film Festival Explores Police Interactions with the Mental Health Community
New York, New York: Co-sponsored by Community Access and the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS), the 8th Annual NYC Mental Health Film Festival brings to downtown Brooklyn a vivid selection of thought-provoking films that positively portray the mental health community. The special theme this year is Crisis Intervention: Interacting with the Police – the focus of three of the festival’s seven short films, and a hot-button issue at the moment, following the still-under-investigation police incident that resulted in the tragic death last month of Shereese Francis, a 30 year-old, mentally ill resident of Queens.
How can the NYPD be better prepared to deal with 911 calls involving mental health recipients? How do other cities approach this ongoing challenge? And how can all of us play a role in combating the unfair stigmas that so often undermine individuals with psychiatric disabilities? The 8th Annual NYC Mental Health Film Festival answers these and other pressing questions – from a variety of perspectives, both inside and outside the mental health community – through a rich selection of films that are, by turns, polemical, challenging, inspirational, and fun.
This uplifting, one-of-a-kind event takes place on Saturday, May 5, between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. at 182 Remsen Street in Brooklyn Heights, and will also feature a Filmmakers’ Q&A, audience discussions, and, for good measure, a free lunch for all. Says festival coordinator and Community Access’ community organizer Carla Rabinowitz: “There’s a very good chance that the deaths of Iman Morales, in 2012, and Shereese Francis, more recently, could both have been avoided if New York City trained its police force to deal more effectively with situations involving mental health recipients. This festival shines a powerful light on the growing movement advocating for this. And it also shares what too many people too often don’t get to see: people with psychiatric diagnoses just getting along with their lives like everybody else.”
About Community Access:
– Founded in 1974, Community Access empowers mental health consumers to reach their potentials. The people we serve too often lack access to life’s most basic needs—housing, food, health care, education, and employment.
– Our programs are a daily resource to nearly 2,000 individuals and families who rely on us for education, affordable housing, counselling, self-help, hot meals, and many more services designed to help them gain new skills; lift themselves out of poverty; and lead healthy, independent lives.
– In 2011, Community Access was selected as a Top 10 Semifinalist in the New York Times Company Nonprofit Excellence Awards.
– NYAPRS was founded in 1981 as a unique organization which brings together mental health recipients and the providers who are friendly to us.
– NYAPRS is devoted to the rights, recovery and rehabilitation of people diagnosed with mental health concerns.
– NYAPRS represents over 1,000 members. And a thousand active volunteers in the New York City region alone.
– For more information about NYAPRS, visit: www.nyaprs.org