The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has selected Rockland Independent Living Center for a grant to participate inthe “Million Hearts Social Marketing Program” for Peer-Run/Community Organizations. Rockland Independent Living Center was one of only twelve organizations selected from a pool of applicants spanning the country. “We are just delighted that our proposal was selected from the many submitted across the country to shed light on this important topic. The funding request of was actually increased by SAMSHA to $25,000 in recognition of the importance of this issue,” said George Hoehmann Executive Director of RILC.
The award will be used to produce a short documentary film addressing cardiovascular health issues faced by individuals with mental illness. According to National Research Institute findings, people with serious mental illness die 25 years earlier than the general population. This shorter life span occurs because mental health issues usually are compounded by one or more chronic physical conditions, such as heart disease, respiratory problems, diabetes or stroke, said Sean Campbell RILC Recovery Specialist who will serve as the project coordinator.
Rockland Independent Living Center will partner with Falling Awake Productions to produce the film. Falling Awake Productions is an international, award-winning company that produces media committed to changing social consciousness on pressing, modern issues. They are the recipients of the 2010 New Jersey Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma Ambassador Awards, as well receiving Honorable Mention in the 2009 SAMHSA Voice Awards for their short mental health documentary, Crazy Enough to Care.Once completed, the film will debut at local treatment and community based programs, primarily in the Mid-Hudson Valley region. RILC anticipates incorporating this documentary at various film festivals and mental health conferences in both the New York metropolitan area and national market. According to Andy Kohlbrenner, RILC Director of Mental Health Services, “The film will be used as a vehicle for peers, consumers and providers to sustain long-term cardiovascular health promotion efforts within their respective communities.” Distribution of DVDs of the film will be available as a training tool and module for various organizations.