In honour of mental health week, we are pleased to share an incredible program that will support teens and provide them with a safe space to learn new skills and explore issues related to mental health – their own or others.
It’s the VPD Film Festival, a brand-new program developed by VPD Constables Renan Cabrera, Freddy Lau and Chris Birkett. Usually, these officers can be founding supporting residents in Vancouver’s District Two. Every day while on patrol, they work with youth who are struggling. One day, after a particularly difficult shift, they started brainstorming ways they could use their skills and experience to help these youth. They came up with the Film Festival.
This initiative will provide the knowledge and tools necessary for youth to create films that encompass mental health and addiction themes. In addition, the Film Festival will be a safe space and positive outlet for participants to express their creativity, learn new skills and help spread awareness of mental health issues to other youth. The program will be run out of Templeton Secondary School, which has a rich history of film making and media arts.
Approximately one in seven young people in BC will experience a mental illness at some point. This number increases dramatically if a teenager already faces barriers such as addiction, family challenges or struggles with sexual identity. In light of these statistics, we are hopeful that the Film Festival will make a positive, life-long difference in the lives of the program participants.
We are so excited to support this program and look forward to its launch in early spring 2022. We’d like to thank the Anthony Family for fully funding this program.
For 45 years, the Vancouver Police Foundation has supported Vancouver Police Department efforts to make Vancouver safer for all, through community building, crime prevention and public safety programs that fall outside of the regular VPD budget. Each year, generous donors help the VPF fund dozens of programs, totalling over $1 million. These programs are run by VPD officers who go above and beyond – often after their shifts and on their days off.
Mental Health and Addictions is one of four funding pillars. To learn more about VPD mental health initiatives, click here. To learn more about VPF funded programs in the Mental Health & Addictions pillar, click here.