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Young people talk about living with mental illness in new documentary "When the Mask Comes Off"

May 20, 2014

When the Mask Comes Off, produced by the youth media organization Generation Justice, is a video documentary featuring young people from New Mexico discussing their experiences of living with mental illness. We hear stories of struggle on their journey from misperception and alienation toward self-acceptance and healing. The documentary comes with adaptable discussion guides for use in communities and schools in both English and Spanish.

Generation Justice Executive Director Roberta Rael said, “We want to make sure that young people have a voice in the discussions about mental health and that young people contribute to the change that is needed." View the video trailer here:

When the Mask Comes Off is a partnership between Generation Justice and Everyday Democracy, a national organization working with communities to create positive change by providing tools, advice and strategies that help make democracy real for everyone.

Everyday Democracy answered the call of President Barack Obama for a National Dialogue on Mental Health and helped establish Creating Community Solutions to help local communities enter the national conversation.  In July 2013, Albuquerque became one of the first cities to launch a multi-year initiative to bring people into dialogue as part of the National Dialogue on Mental Health.

At the launch event on July 20, hundreds of residents across the community participated in dialogue and identified a priority to expand mental health resources for young people and to create opportunities for youth to talk about mental health. Subsequent neighborhood dialogues throughout the region have also identified that priority. The release of When the Mask Comes Off is a step in fulfilling that need.

Martha McCoy, executive director of Everyday Democracy, said, “Bringing young people’s voices into this critical conversation has surfaced as a priority in community dialogues across the United States. When the Mask Comes Off will open the door for that difficult conversation.”

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Dialogue to Change

Our ultimate goal is to create positive community change that includes everyone, and we believe that our tools, advice, and resources will help foster that kind of change. Whether you’re grappling with a divisive community issue, or simply want to include residents’ voices in city government, Everyday Democracy's Dialogue to Change process, using a racial equity lens, can help.