Parental intuition is a powerful force; one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Imagine if you instinctively knew something was wrong with your child, but everywhere you sought out answers – at your child’s school, at the doctor’s office, among family members and your friends – you were brushed off with a simple, “Don’t worry, your child is fine.” That is, until your child clearly isn’t, and is diagnosed with mental illness.
That’s exactly what mother-of-three Randi Silverman experienced and what inspired her to become a filmmaker and to tell her story in the feature film No Letting Go. “I grew up in a time when no one spoke about mental illness, so when my son was very young and started to become very sick, I had no idea what to do or who to go to for help, and I was very isolated. What I learned through my family’s journey is that mental illness is like any other medical illness. That it can be treated and there is hope.”
Ms. Silverman was a keynote speaker at ClarityCon2016. This event was Clarity Child Guidance Center’s fourth annual summit on children’s mental health and is designed to equip educators, mental health professionals, and attorneys with important information to use on behalf of children and their families.
With her family’s story, Ms. Silverman was able to vividly illustrate what it’s like to be a parent of a child with mental illness. She emphasized that it’s not just about the patient with the diagnosis, but also about the important role the entire family plays in recovery.
She spoke about all of the uncertainty she went through trying to do the right thing for her son, the family strife, the many doctors she took her son to in order to get an accurate diagnosis, and the stigma in the community surrounding her son and their family. Her film echoes those sentiments. A review by the Huffington Post put it this way, “The film shows us how, unlike with physical illness, mental disorders can often pit family members against one another, profoundly disrupt the lives of all those close to the ill child, evoke condescending and gratuitous judgments from friends, relatives and educators, foster discrimination and bullying at school, and engender horrific doubt and guilt in all those intimately affected.” Ms. Silverman hopes that with more people viewing the award-winning film, it can be a catalyst for conversation to raise awareness about youth mental health disorders.
“I just knew that it (her son’s illness) couldn’t have happened for nothing. That something good had to come out of it. I decided I needed to get the story out there, to start talking about it and to help other families. My hope in sharing this film, No Letting Go, is to shed a light on what it’s really like for families who have a child suffering through mental illness in order to combat the stigma that surrounds mental illness.”
If you’re interested in seeing No Letting Go and experiencing this important message firsthand, One in Five minds is in the process of bringing the film to San Antonio for a screening. An update with date, location and time details will be provided on a future blog. It is also available for private viewing to rent or to purchase at www.nolettinggomovie.com.