Social Work minor student: ‘Happy Endings Can Come From Struggles’

On Oct. 6, the Social Workers Action Together and the MSU branch of Phi Alpha National Social Work Honors Society hosted a screening of the movie The Silver Linings Playbook. Lea Ann Reyes, social work senior and SWAT president, said that this movie is about a character named Patrizio “Pat” Solitano, Jr. who struggles with mental illness.

“The main character has bipolar disorder, which is a mental illness and has extreme mood swings,” Reyes said. “It’s pretty much his story of how he’s dealing with it.”

From a scale of one to ten, Reyes gave the movie an eight.

“It’s one of my favorite movies,” Reyes said. “It shows a lot of the dynamics of what families and people go through with mental illness.”

Morgan Perron, social work senior and SWAT SGA representative said that she have watched the movie twice. However, she was able to see it from a social work perspective rather than just watching the movie itself.

“This made me have a better understanding of mental illness side of the movie is portrayed,” Perron said.

This movie was recommended by a member of the MSU branch of Phi Alpha National Social Work Honors Society.

“Have not seen this movie,” Charles Stauts, social work senior and president of the MSU branch of Phi Alpha National Social Work Honors Society, said, “One of our members have recommended this movie because the story involves a character who deals with mental illness.”

Perron said that the movie outlines the importance of having individuals diagnose early one rather than diagnosing them when they are adults.

“I think Bradly Cooper shined the light on mental illness as well as the fact that a lot of mental illnesses get undiagnosed for a long period of time,” Perron said. He shows his way of navigating through that as an adult rather than being diagnosed early on.”

In the movie, there is a love interest who is a young widow by the name of Tiffany Maxwell who suffers from severe depression. She soon befriends and falls in love with Pat.

“He meets another female character played by Jennifer Lawrence,” Reyes said. “And she has mental illness also. The two of them get together, build a friendship, and bond and they eventually end up falling in love.”

Many students said that their favorite parts of the movie were Pat and Tiffany practicing for and competing in the dance competition.

“Even though the third dance was really awful, think it showed how therapeutic it was for both of the characters, their healing experience, their navigations dealing with the grief in their lives,” Perron said. “There’s not a right or wrong way to do things as long as people are healing.”

Many students also felt that Pat’s father, Patrizio “Pat” Solitano, Sr., who conducted illegal bookmaking, struggled in understanding his son.

“Up until the end of the movie, he didn’t really understand his son,” Brittney Weary, global studies junior said, “So it was difficult trying to see that and how he had to figure out get along with his son.”

Reyes said that this movie is the conclusion of Mental Illness Awareness Week Oct. 1-7.

“NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and Oct. 1-7 is nationalMental Illness Awareness Week,” Reyes said.

As social workers, Reyes and other members of SWAT deal a lot with working with people with mental illness.

“We felt was important bring this to the campus to help students realize that it’s okay to reach out for help,” Reyes said. “That they are consular here and there are places they can call when they are depressed and have suicidal thoughts.”

Reyes further explained the challenges many students have faced on this campus, including Hurricane Irma and Maria as well the death of Robert Grayas.

“With the Carribean students, we’ve noticed a lot of depression and anxiety as they were worried about their families,” Reyes said. “With the loss of the football player, we thought this was the perfect time to do events like this that focus on mental illness, depression, and anxiety.”

Reyes said that she would like SWAT to host another event to raise awareness about mental illness.

“I think it’s a great idea to meet people from other organizations and open up to the campus allow people to get together and have a good time, eat, watch a movie, have fun and relax,” Reyes said. “I believe SWAT will host another event at some point this year.”

Reyes said that the goal of this movie night is to bring awareness to mental illness as well as for student to have fun. This was the last event SWAT has organized for mental illness awareness week.

“We have done a lot of fun things and had a presenter come from NAMI and talk on Monday night,” Reyes said. “We’ve done all these events and tonight is just a way to relax and finish off the week on a positive note and have pizza, drinks, chips, and cookies. We also want students to be distressed from the week.”