New Mental Health Film Festival Kicks Off This Spring in NJ

This spring, one northern New Jersey resident is looking to make a difference in mental health awareness using the art of film.

One can only hope it manages to replace the impact of other cultural phenomena to emerge from that state in recent years…

Sharrieff Bugg of Paterson, New Jersey, found his life in a tailspin of depression following a divorce and the tragic death of a loved one. Though he managed to overcome the stigma of mental illness and the lack of readily available help in his urban environment, Bugg was able to seek treatment. Now in a healthier state of mind, Bugg is determined to help others who struggle with mental illness.

“A lot of the challenges we face in Paterson come from mental health issues,” Bugg shares in an interview with “Unfortunately the stigma is still so high, and resources so lacking, that folks won’t or can’t address them.”

In an effort to battle this stigma, Bugg founded Growing in Grace, an organization dedicated to spreading mental health awareness and educating those in need about how to seek professional help. And most recently, Bugg has announced his plans to bring a mental health awareness film festival to his area.


The first annual Passaic County Mental Health Film Festival will feature shorts, documentaries, and animated films from students and professionals, awarding a $500 prize to the overall festival winner.  A free crash course on filmmaking will be offered at a local high school on January 6th, and festival hopefuls can submit their entries up until the March 16, 2018 deadline.

Best of luck to all who submit and participate in this new and important film festival! You can find more information about the festival and Bugg’s other projects on the Growing in Grace site and on his Facebook page.


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