New Documentary Examines Relationship Between Poverty and Mental Health

As much as we might hate to admit it, and as much as we may try to rally against it, money (or lack thereof) has a huge impact on all of our lives.

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                                                                Wu-Tang would never lie to you.

Of course, if you’ve been a financially independent adult for any amount of time, you know this. You get your first taste of budgetary realness when that first credit card statement hits your mailbox, and by the time tax season rolls around, you’ve switched to ordering strictly from the Dollar Menu. We all understand how being strapped for cash affects our decisions and our lifestyles, but do we ever think about how it affects our mental wellness?

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A new documentary from The Guidance Center in Long Beach, California examines this very issue; specifically, how poverty impacts mental health. The Bridge: Pathways to a Trauma Informed Community seeks to educate audiences on the destructive effects of poverty on mental health, and–perhaps more importantly–suggests ways to go about “breaking poverty’s intergenerational cycle” by stressing the importance of the “trauma-informed approach.”

And indeed, poverty does inflict a very unique brand of trauma upon those who live within its grasp. Issues like housing instability and food insecurity make the business of day-to-day living incredibly stressful, especially for children. Bridges thoroughly illustrates this point by following six different families struggling with poverty — as well as interviewing 11 community leaders dedicated to changing how institutions handle those in need.

 

The film was produced by filmmaker Matthew Murray and Patricia Costales, CEO of The Guidance Center. It received its initial screening in April at the Art House in Long Beach, and was featured at the Awareness Film Festival earlier this month in Los Angeles.

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