“What is the experience of being a parent that has a mental illness?”
Evan Kaplan wants to help people answer this question. After wrestling with his own mental health challenges and the needs of his young daughter, Evan founded an organization called Child and Family Connections, a non-profit in Philadelphia that is dedicated to supporting families living with parental mental health challenges.
Happy is an aptly named feature-length documentary that leads viewers on a journey across five continents in search of the keys to happiness. The film addresses many of the fundamental issues we face in today’s society: how do we balance the allure of money, fame and social status with our needs for stronger relationships, health and personal fulfillment?
Mental health is more important than art. I know many who would disagree with this statement. I know artists who put themselves in situations to “create.” I know artists who won’t leave unhealthy situations because they are being “artistically productive” or “making important work.” Often times I encounter people that are in triggering, depressing, abusive, or oppressive situations (we all are in some ways, of course, living in the society we live in) because they think it enhances their work. I know many artists who push against these things, but in doing so still do not value their own mental health. It may be because it’s not as important as the thing they want to say, or the thing they want to create. It may be because they can’t see out of their depression or situation. It may be a lack of awareness or understanding.
“Stigma is an ugly word. It makes me very angry inside. Because people don’t understand. When you say ‘depression,’ they look at you — they try to see it on your face. ‘I don’t see it,’ they say. Well you can’t. So, I want to put a face to it, and it’s not the face that you think it is.” —Darlene Holmes Malone