Alder showing documentary about anxiety in children

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(Posted Feb. 21, 2019)

UPDATE: This event was originally scheduled for Feb. 20. It has been rescheduled for Feb. 25.

IndieFlix, an independent online streaming platform, along with its non-profit arm, the IndieFlix Foundation, is sparking conversation about anxiety through screenings of its new documentary, “Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety.”

At 6 p.m. Feb. 25, the Jonathan Alder Local School District will hold a screening of the documentary at Jonathan Alder High School. The event will feature a viewing of the 55-minute film, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Jennifer Korn, director of student services, with special guests Rachel Sorrell of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Dr. John Adams II of Memorial Health, and Pastor Blaine Keene of Journey Community Church.

Producers Scilla Andreen and Karin Gornick have one goal: to start a global conversation and raise awareness around anxiety. Through candid interviews, they tell the stories of children dealing with anxiety, its impact on their lives and relationships, and how they have found solutions and hope.

The film also includes an interview with Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, a mental health advocate, and discussions with mental health experts about the causes of anxiety and its sociological effects, as well as the help, resources and tools available to address the condition.

In addition to the film, a virtual reality component allows users to experience a panic attack first-hand, further building awareness and empathy for anxiety sufferers. The virtual reality component has been developed with support from Google.

While “Angst” documents the struggles some people have with anxiety, it also reveals their hope for the future. Noah, a teenager in the film, describes it this way: “Anxiety doesn’t define me. It’s not just a curse; it also gives me strength.”

“Everybody needs to know that anxiety disorders are real, common and treatable instead of viewing them as a personal choice or something to be ashamed of,” said Dr. Jerry Bubrick, senior director of Anxiety Disorders Center, Child Mind Institute. “Getting help early is crucial in giving people the tools they need to feel better. We just need to start the conversation.”

“We felt it was important to make a movie that could raise awareness to open up the conversation and provide hope,” said Andreen, IndieFlix CEO and “Angst’ producer. “So many people struggle with anxiety and have trouble talking about it. We want to change that.”

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health challenges in the United States, impacting 54 percent of females and 46 percent of males, with age 7 being the median age of onset, according to the World Health Organization. While anxiety disorders are highly treatable, only one-third of those suffering receive treatment. Everyone involved in the development of “Angst” has a personal experience with anxiety, from the producers to the interviewees.

“The conversation surrounding mental health really hits home for me,” said Michael Phelps. “Many people don’t understand how debilitating mental illness truly can be, and even more than that, how common it is, yet people are afraid to have the serious discussions about it. I welcomed the opportunity to be a part of ‘Angst’ to further the dialogue around mental health and to help people understand the impact anxiety has on our mental state and encourage people, especially kids, to ask for help.”

“Angst” screens in schools and communities across the world. The IndieFlix original film is expected to reach more than three million people around the world, through 25,000 community and school screenings.

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