SBCC partners with San Marcos High School to spread the love

Madeline K. Nathaus, CHANNELS STAFF

The City College Wellness Connection and Mental Wellness Center came together Wednesday sponsor the Wellness Connection club from San Marcos High School and host a screening of the short film “The Love Effect.”

The audience, with a range from elementary students to senior citizens, gathered to fill the Fé Bland Forum in the Business and Communications building.

The screening of the 30-minute film marked the first official collaboration between the Wellness Connection of City College and the Mental Wellness Center, a private, non-profit organization in Santa Barbara.

“The Love Effect” is about two young men struggling with loss and depression in different yet dramatic ways. Fate brings them together as one of the young men coincidentally catches sight of the other before he is about to take his own life and stops him. From there, the two come to realize that there are ways to cope with their sadness and learn that every day is a new day.

The film has been featured at around eight film festivals and was also shown at the annual conference for Mental Health of America, the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit organization for mental health. It currently has over a million interactions on social media.

Annmarie Cameron, CEO of the Mental Wellness Center, was one of the first contributors to donate to the kickstarter campaign for Tyler Atkins, actor, producer, and writer of the film, and Drue Metz, director and screenwriter of the film. The campaign raised more than $34,000 within its first three days.

Metz is currently working on a second version of the film which he hopes to get published on iTunes and Netflix. Until then, Atkins and Metz will continue touring the country doing private screenings of the film and showing it at film festivals.

“Love is more than just a feeling, it’s an action, it’s an art,” Metz said. “When you chose love in your actions you start to see and feel different things and they’re always positive. You’ll hopefully see in the film that love is an incredible art form.”

San Marcos High, who hosted the screening, is the first local high school to start a Wellness Connection club on their campus. The club was launched in September of 2016 and already has over 30 members.

“Our focus is mainly on how we are going to expand the club and start ending the stigma with mental illness at a younger age,” Alexandria Marx, 16, Co-President of the San Marcos Wellness Connection Club and junior at San Marcos High School said.

The Wellness Connection and the Mental Wellness Center are in active discussion with Carpinteria High School to bring a Wellness Connection Club to their campus. They also hope to enact the clubs at Dos Pueblos High School and Santa Barbara High School by Fall of 2017.

“It’s our hope that when and if [students] experience a mental health problem or their friends do they’ll be far more likely to talk about it than they would if they didn’t have access to this information,” Cameron said.