Local high school students watch a film and panel discussion on mental health needs

The Lincoln County Youth Behavioral Health Alliance has teamed up with the Lincoln Theater and three area high schools to bring a free movie special of “Dear Evan Hansen” to Damariscotta on Wednesday, May 18. The Alliance, led by LincolnHealth, brings school and community leaders together to help assess the behavioral health needs of young people across the county, identify treatment gaps, provide a link to available resources, and maintain a continuous connection with the local health system.

“Dear Evan Hansen” is a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical that has been adapted into a film about an anxious and isolated high school student who yearns for understanding and belonging amid the chaos and cruelty of the Age of social media. He soon embarks on a journey of self-discovery when a letter he wrote for a school assignment falls into the hands of a grieving couple whose son has committed suicide.

Boothbay Region High School, Lincoln Academy and Medomak Valley High School sent students and staff to the show, which was followed by a panel discussion to share local and national resources available for students who may be struggling with mental health issues or who know someone who is. The message they shared was that it was “OK to ask for help and support”.

“People can hide; “It can be difficult to ask for help;” “Everyone struggles differently with mental health” and “You are never alone, even when you feel like you are,” are just some of the comments shared by students when they rated the discussion.

About 75 students attended the event, and the Coulombe Center for Health Improvement provided fruit and pizza from Oysterhead Pizza in Damariscotta. The Lincoln Theater also showed the film in the evening to anyone who wished to attend for free.

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