With the help of the Guidance Department head Shelly Borg and Goldrick Housemaster Henry Turner, South teen Camille Brugnara screened the film Breaking Free From Depression on April 5 2011 as a part of the Just Think Teens Making Smart Choices Expo.Starting on April 4, the Expo was a week long fair held in various locations around Newton. The Expo’s highlights included seminars on students making healthy lifestyles and serious concerns such as depression. “The [screening] was something that Camille wanted. She felt it important for the community to have access to this,” Borg said. “We know that people always have concerns about depression and this was a good way to reach them.”After working with Doctor Naja Reily, the producer of the film, on spreading word about depression and conqueroring it, Brugnara asked to be in the film herself. She was then put into the movie. “It felt good to [be in the film], because I felt like I could potentially make a difference in peoples lives who are suffering from mental illnesses,” Brugnara said. 85 people showed up for the film including members of the South community and faculty from other schools.After the showing of the film, Camille and her mother gave a presentation on depression, Camille’s struggle through it, and facts and statistics. Doctors Andrew Aspel, Steven Litwack, and Naja Reily were present at the screening to give medical insight on the disease. Breaking Free fromDepression followed teens and young adults from all different walks of life that had one indelible fact in common; they were all diagnosed with clinical depression.
Statistics show that 154 million people suffer from clinical depression, one in five teens in the US suffers through depression at least once and 80% of those kids go through this disease without being diagnosed or medically helped.
New England Patriots offensive tackle Matt Light hosted the movie. Light ushered the audience through the stories and personal accounts of teens that were dealing with depression.
“If you have an actual physical illness that people can see then they look at it differently as opposed to a mental one. It’s like I’m just sad. It’s a lot more than that,” explained Caroline Hanly, an 18-year old in the film.
Among the various teens interviewed in the film was Brugnara. Her parents saw the first signs of depression through her anger at a very young age.
“My parents noticed that I was a very angry two year old,” Brugnara said in the film.
The film then followed the signs and symptoms of depression which range from; lack of sleep, loss of appetite, withdrawal from the public, impulsive anger, mood swings.
“It felt like no matter what I did, none of my emotions would release,” Jachobie Cosom, another teen from the film, said.
The film then took a much darker turn as it examined the thoughts of suicide that most people going through depression go through.
“You feel like you’re on a cliff. You feel like you’re on a cliff and you’re ready to jump and you know no one is going to stop you,” Cosom said.
“You just want to get rid of everything that you’re feeling. And just be done with everything. You never look at the positive things,” Hanly said.
“I tried to kill myself and that’s the realest it ever got with depression and me. And then I vowed to someone I love a lot that I would never try it again,” Igor Frieire, a teen interviewed in the film, said.
“Learning from yesterday, living for today, and loving tomorrow,” is how Cosom describes his view on life after his stint with depression.
Burgnara also has had her moments of triumph over her depression. She explains in the film that after being with depression she took up the hobby of glass blowing, a form of art in which the artist morphs hot glass into what their imagination wills it to be.
“In life sometimes we try and focus on everyone else and pleasing everyone else, when sometimes we have to take time for ourselves and treat ourselves with love, kindness, and respect. A key aspect [of overcoming depression] was the importance of art and sports. Having an outlet for emotions,” Brugnara said.
Borg counted this screening as a great success and “wonderful” use of the expo. “It takes a lot of courage to talk about something you’ve suffered through,” Borg said. “It was a gift for us to hear about and for her to talk about.”
“My goal with doing and screening the movie was to let people know that you can overcome depression. And ultimately I hope that if I can help one person then they’ll help another and so on. Baby steps,” Brugnara said.