Why create a film or a play about mental health in our youth? When, I myself am a middle aged white man. I say 'good on yah.' Good for you. We all have to be talking about how we can evolve, grow, support change in our systems that are aching to hold onto the old ways. The old ways. History. Lies we all agreed upon to believe.
There are many reasons why kids today are dealing with more stress, anxiety, uncertainty about the world and their place in it. Parents, too. All of us.
It's a really tough time. It has been a really tough couple of decades. There are millions of people who are finally being heard and some of them feel they are being left behind by the speed of progress. They cannot afford to keep up, change and growth are not supporting them and their families.
The Information Age gives everyone a voice. A lot of these voices are crying out for help and it feels like the world is saying if you can't join us, catch up to us, then you'll be left behind. Well no one wants to be left behind and it makes people really angry if they are. January 6, 2021.
If we can look to the person on our left or right. If we can see beyond our desire to want more, excess, more, and some more. There are people out there just like you who could use a little support, help, understanding and a leg up.
What the hell am I writing about here?
Why not me? I am perfectly capable of hearing the aching voice inside my soul align with the aching voices inside the souls of our youth asking for understanding, support, help, to be heard and to enjoy a healthy connection.
When our coping resources no longer make us feel supported, helped and understood then our thoughts can turn to desperation, depression, bad bad thoughts, helplessness and those thoughts are real. We are helpless. We are alone. We are asking for more.
I believe the school systems can evolve to honor the students who are changing and asking for change. The students are asking for more trained staff in trauma sensitivity. The students are asking to leave class and head to a place down the hall where they can decompress, hit the drums, play a video game, draw, paint, write, take time out from the stress of the class they were in and just be. We can have trained therapists, social workers, teachers in those mental health classrooms being real with the students. I imagine a school with less to no suspensions and expulsions (unless seriously necessary), because a lot of mental health issues can be understood and supported.
Listen to what the students are asking for and try to change your systems to support some of their needs.
I'm not saying let the inmates run the joint. I'm saying provide the soft landings of understanding when they are in needed. Anxiety, Depression and mental health issues are here to stay. It seems like a sad result of the Information Age. We may have seen it coming, but it wasn't a priority at the time.
It's a priority now, isn't it.
Al works in film/tv and the theatre in New York, Toronto, and Los Angeles some highlights include: the award-winning short film Walled IN (written & produced by Al), Workin’ Moms, The Umbrella Academy, The Novice, Nikita, How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days, Showtime’s Street Time, Off Broadway: The Interrogation, Will (written by Al), 2013 Winner! LA Drama Critics Awards for Best Production, Director, Adaptation, CYRANO (World Premiere, DeafWest/Fountain Theatre), 2011 Ovation & LA Weekly Award winning Best Musical, Best Musical Director, Best Director, HOBOKEN TO HOLLYWOOD, The Sunshine Boys (with Hal Linden and Allan Miller) plus, many more. Today, Al is a finalist at the Actors Studio and works as an actor, writer, filmmaker and acting professor in Toronto.