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SPS to host free virtual film screening of “Like,” a documentary that explores the impact of social media & importance of digital wellness

Digital wellness is critically important, maybe now more than ever. 

That’s why SPS Counseling is hosting a virtual film screening of “Like” on Thursday, April 8, at 7 p.m.

“Mental health and wellness are always important to school counselors and our department, but now more than ever, given the societal circumstances we’re all in, mental health is even more of a critical topic to address,” said Alison Roffers, coordinator of school counseling services.  

“Like" is a feature length documentary film that explores the impact of social media on our lives and the effects of technology on the brain. The goal of the film is to inspire viewers to self-regulate their use of technology. The psychology of social media and how it affects the brain make the film a powerful illustration of technology’s potential, says Roffers.

“In many ways, social media is a tool and social platforms are a place to connect, share and care, but what’s really happening? That’s what the film helps viewers, and parents, to understand,” she says.

SPS Counseling will host a virtual film screening of “Like” on Thursday, April 8, at 7 p.m. Anyone can RSVP to virtually attend, with attendees receiving a link to watch and engage comfortably and safely in their own homes. 

Following the 60-minute documentary, SPS Counseling department leaders, a counselor from Launch Virtual Learning and a child psychiatrist from the film will virtually join attendees for an important conversation. Together, they’ll host a 30-minute Q&A session via Zoom for parents to ask specific questions about digital wellness and receive real time support from mental health professionals. Anyone is free to attend.

The virtual mental health event was made possible by a $8,700 Back to School grant, awarded by the Foundation for Springfield Public Schools.

“There’s been a lot of conversation about supporting mental health, not just locally but also nationally,” said Natalie Murdock, executive director, Foundation for SPS. “At the grassroots local level, we want to support that. We know that the SPS Counseling department is doing amazing work providing resources and support for our students and families, and we know this grant could continue that important work in an innovative way.”

“Like” is the third of three mental health documentary screenings made possible by the Foundation’s grant for the 2020-2021 school year, a strategic effort by the Foundation to meet the community’s request for additional funding for mental health resources.

But for some SPS families, watching a film could be the first step to getting help.

“Our ultimate goal is that families will watch it together,” said Roffers. “The film is appropriate for students ages 10 and up, and we hope that families will gather together, especially if someone in their home is struggling with mental health. We hope the film and the Q&A become a meaningful experience for families to get the help they need.”