May 12, 2017

Faculty Fellowship Supports Research and Community Event on Mental Illness

Professor Rebecca Bonanno.
Assistant Professor Rebecca Bonanno at the South Huntington Public Library during the event.

Assistant Professor Rebecca Bonanno, who mentors students in Community and Human Services, the 2016-17 recipient of the college’s Arthur Imperatore Community Forum Fellowship, organized an event featuring a mental illness “resource fair” and a screening of “No Letting Go.” 

Bonanno’s fellowship project focuses on increasing the mental health literacy of parents in the town of Huntington on Long Island. 

The film, based on a true story, follows a family’s journey to understand and cope with their son’s struggle with mental illness. 

No Letting Go” was produced to inspire others to speak openly about youth mental health, learn more about the prevention and treatment of child mental health disorders and increase compassion and awareness about these issues. 

“Reducing the stigma that surrounds mental illness is an absolute necessity and a critical component in the movement to better coordinate existing services, provide more comprehensive care and, most importantly, reduce the suffering of many, many more of our relatives, neighbors, friends and their families,” said Bonanno. 

Shown in partnership with the Huntington Youth Bureau and the South Huntington Public Library, the screening attracted more than 40 students, faculty, staff and members of the general public. 

Bonanno told to the audience prior to the screening that one in five children in the U.S. will experience an emotional, behavioral or learning problem. 

“Many children do not receive the treatment or support they need due to lack of information, scarcity of services and resources to pay for services and stigma surrounding mental health,” Bonanno said. 

The event took place May 4, which coincided with National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, an event organized by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  

Mental health awareness day is designed to increase awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and to show that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development from birth. 

As part the resource fair and reception, representatives from community youth agencies were available to talk to the audience after the screening and question-and-answer session. 

“I was also grateful that representatives from mental health, substance abuse and prevention programs were able to share information about their resources and services,” said Bonanno. “The event showcased the wonderful, supportive community here in Huntington.”

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