Slice of Life

‘Pack Up Your Sorrows’ shows singer-songwriter’s struggle with mental health

Courtesy of Active Minds at Syracuse University

Active Minds at Syracuse University found out on Monday that “Pack Up Your Sorrows” filmmakers would make an appearance in person instead of through video-chat.

The “Pack Up Your Sorrows” documentary follows singer-songwriter Meg Hutchinson’s journey with dealing with and trying to overcome mental health issues. Active Minds, a mental health advocacy organization on the Syracuse University campus, will be screening the documentary Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Hall of Languages 102.

The Daily Orange spoke to Delaney Arias, a junior majoring in newspaper and online journalism and communications chair for Active Minds. Arias discussed working with other members — such as sophomore social work major Hillary Lacks and junior psychology major Jenesis Gayden — and their decision to bring the documentary to the SU campus.

 

The Daily Orange: How did you choose this film?

Delaney Arias: Well, we were talking about what events we wanted to do this semester related to mental health and Hillary — she had thought of a documentary she had seen and this was it. She just suggested that we show it.

The D.O.: What’s the process to get this kind of event running at SU?

D.A.: What we did, working with Jenesis, our treasurer, and Hillary, we tried to contact the people. We had Hillary contact the producer and explain what we do at Active Minds and explain how we try to do different events on campus. And so we get the people to agree to whatever event it is and we pick a time and a place and we get it going.

The D.O.: Do you organize events like this often?

D.A.: We try to, yeah. It’s kind of difficult because of financial reasons and time and space, but we try to do events like this where people can come and learn more about mental health and mental illness through Active Minds.

The D.O.: How important is it for people to have access to these kinds of films?

D.A.: Everyone should know something about mental health and mental illness because it’s so important, and it’s everywhere. You’re always going to meet someone who struggles with something mental health-related, and through something visual like a documentary you can really get the story from someone. You can get their feelings, you can get where they’re coming from, their struggles and really understand that this is something that people deal with. This is something that people have to handle on a day to day basis, especially on a college campus where for so many students this is where they first get diagnosed. This is where they get their type of treatment, and to see something like this maybe it’ll resonate with someone and they get their own type of diagnosis or maybe someone that they know that’s close to them.

The D.O.: Are there a lot films about mental health out there?

D.A.: The market hasn’t reached its full potential. There are films about mental health that have mentioned mental illness, but not nearly enough. I also think that it could be more educational. Usually it’s kinda just a personal story of someone who went through something and the information is almost just a sideline. Movies with mental health being the prime premise of the movie, there needs to be more of that.

The D.O.: What reactions have you gotten from people about the screening?

D.A.: People are really interested, people want to know more, especially about bipolar disorder because you hear so much about it and people use it in everyday language like, “the weather is so bipolar.” To know what it is and not just as something on paper but through someone else’s story and life, people seem to be really interested in that and some people just want to learn more about it — especially our members who come to our meetings. They want to know more about it so this is just one other way for them to learn more.

On our Facebook event we have about 25 people interested and 15 people that are coming. We expect that a lot of our members who come to our meetings will come as well. So we think a decent amount of people are coming, and we just found out that the producer is going to be joining us to talk about the film and is actually going to be there in-person afterward.

The D.O.: What do you hope students get out of the film?

D.A.: I hope that students learn mostly because a lot of times you watch something and are like, “Wow, this is really great.” Or, “this really touched me.” Then you tell someone else, and they tell someone, so then this story gets out there and everyone will learn about bipolar disorder. I want students to get a real life story and really feel what this person is feeling and be inspired. She has her own success story and it shows you can have a mental illness as severe as bipolar disorder and still do what you want to do in life.

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