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Into the Light

Release Date: May 09, 2019
Members of the public are welcome to attend the May 23 screening of Into the Light free of charge.

Into the Light photo

(Newton, NJ) Into the Light is a documentary film that focuses on Brendan O'Toole, a Marine veteran, and his struggle to assimilate back into society after returning from war, and Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, founder and president of a charitable organization called Give an Hour, who comes to the realization that she needs to share her own story. A free screening of the film will be sponsored by the Sussex County Division of Community and Youth Services and NAMI Sussex on Thursday, May 23, 2019, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., at the Hopatcong Community Resource & Wellness Center, 47 Hopatchung Road, in Hopatcong.

The documentary film will be followed by a guided discussion with the audience to explore and share thoughts, feelings and experiences as they relate to the stories presented in the film. As expressed in the film's subtitle, "Every family has a story about emotional suffering." The film's creators intended for it to serve as a conversation starter for people to change the culture around mental health, mental illness and emotional well-being.

That is also the purpose of a worldwide online "Campaign to Change Direction," which Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen initiated. Sussex County Mental Health Administrator Cindy Armstrong, along with a group of volunteers who make up the Sussex County Mental Health Task Force, have been promoting the Campaign to Change Direction for the past two years. In July 2017 the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders endorsed the campaign.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the May 23 screening of Into the Light free of charge. Advance registration is not required. Community resources will be provided, with an emphasis on resources for veterans coping with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Two NAMI Sussex members who have experienced PTSD will share their stories and inform the audience about a free Post-traumatic Stress Recovery Support Group they facilitate for veterans, police and first responders.

Advance registration for the event is not required. For questions, call 973-214-0632 or email nami.sussex@gmail.com.