On Campus, News

PBS Documentary Series on Mental Health Comes to BC

The Mental Health Channel has given the University Counseling Services (UCS) of Boston College its new documentary series, Stories of the Mind, to show to students. The series premiered in early 2016 and will be rebroadcast in the fall.

On Tuesday, April 5, the Undergraduate Government of Boston College and UCS will be screening the documentary series, which is about people struggling with mental health issues. The series is composed of 12 episodes—each a half-hour long—that touch on a different mental disability, including depression and bipolar disorder.

The creator of the show, the Mental Health Channel, reached out to UCS to see if it would be interested in viewing its new show. The company hoped to gain some feedback from BC students, Downing said.

There will be three short films showed in addition to the Stories of the Mind series, which will also be about mental health.

“It’s not just a speaker and a panel that can get a little dry,” Tom Downing, assistant director of mental health programming in UGBC and CSOM ’18, said. “It’s a different way of spreading our message.”

“We’re really just looking for quality of life of students. There’s definitely a mental health issue on this campus.”

—Connor Marshall, MCAS ’18


In addition to gaining feedback, he said, the event will also encourage dialogue on campus surrounding mental health and educate students about the resources available to them on campus.

“We’re really just looking for quality of life of students,” Connor Marshall, assistant director of mental health programming in UGBC and MCAS ’18, said. “There’s definitely a mental health issue on this campus.”

This event comes in a series that UGBC has held to expand the dialogue on mental health at BC. The goal, Downing said, is to destigmatize mental health subjects. UGBC hopes that seeking help for a mental illness will be seen as seeking a doctor’s help for a broken arm, he said.

Following the viewing, Craig Burns, the interim director of counseling services, will speak to students about mental health on college campuses, answering any questions attendees may have and facilitating discussion.

“I think this is part of a broad and long-term effort to educate and to spread information, and so the effect we hope will come from this is broader awareness and acceptance of mental health issues and willingness to engage help both from professionals and from peers,” Burns said.

Other events that UGBC has hosted regarding mental health include What I Be, a performance by activist and comedian Kevin Breel, and a one-woman show by Amy Albright.

“The response has generally been very positive,” Downing said. “It’s been great seeing that a lot of people do care about advocating for mental health resources.”

The wide response to these programs, Downing said, is further evidenced by the fact that the University recently allocated funding for UCS to hire more counselors.

These events, Downing said, also aim to provide a space for students to talk about what kinds of support they want and need from BC with regards to mental health.

“Students really do care about helping everyone at this University dealing with mental health issues,” Downing said.

Correction: The story originally stated that the series will premier in 2017, but it first premiered in early 2016. It also said that the series consisted of four short episodes, each seven to 10 minutes long. The series actually consists of 12 half-hour long episodes.

Featured Image by Breck Wills / Senior Staff

April 3, 2016