The National Alliance on Mental Illness, Carroll County Chapter will host a free screening of the film "Running from Crazy" Wednesday at the Carroll Arts Center. The movie, directed by Barbara Kopple, known for her films "Harlan County USA" and "American Dream," follows actress Mariel Hemingway, of "Manhattan" and "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace," as she looks through her family's history, one that includes suicide and mental illness. Hemingway's great grandfather, famed writer Ernest Hemingway, took his own life, something the film delves into.
The film features archival footage of the entire Hemingway family.
Following the film, the chapter will host a discussion, as well as a question and answer session, the audience, the Carroll County Health Department and members of the Carroll County Crisis Intervention Team. Carol Carr-Meinecke, president of the Carroll County chapter, said the event came about as a way to spark conversations about mental health that don't often come up on a daily basis.
"We wanted to help people talk about mental illness and start the dialogue that would help people understand what services are available," Carr-Meinecke said. "I've found that a lot of people don't know that we have a Carroll County NAMI."
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a national organization which focuses on helping people experiencing issues with mental illness as well as their families and others in their support systems. The organization offers information services, referrals and education.
Carr-Meinecke said the local chapter holds support group gatherings twice each month to help people with mental illnesses. It also offers a separate group for families of people with mental illnesses. The gatherings are free to the public, as is a 12-week class, run by the organization, for family members, and caregivers to help them work on communication skills to help people suffering from mental illness.
"There's such a stigma surrounding mental health that it's hard for people to feel like they have access to help," Carr-Meinecke said. "Over the years we've seen a lot of misconceptions about mental illness and we're hoping this event can help clear them up."
The Carroll County Crisis Intervention Team was established in November, and consists of law enforcement, public safety and corrections officers who have undergone special training to assist people experiencing mental health emergencies.
The program was established with 10 officers who underwent the training, which entailed learning about mental health first aid, psychiatric medications, suicide prevention and legal issues.
Carr-Meinecke said she appreciates work done to better understand mental health and the issues related to it.
"I think a lot of people, as the title says, run from crazy," Carr-Meinecke said. "This is a way to bring it out of the shadows. It's a really hot button topic right now for people to talk about mental illness and suicide."
Reach staff writer Jacob deNobel at 410-857-7890 or .
If You Go
What: "Running From Crazy" screening
When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25
Where: Carroll Arts Center, 91 W. Main Street, Westminster
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For more information: Visit or call 410-857-3650.