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Free Screening of Award-Winning Documentary Scheduled

The failure of U.S. military mental health policy to address the needs of veterans is the focus of an acclaimed documentary to be screened at the Community Arts Center.

“Thank You for Your Service” will be shown on Wednesday, March 21, at 7 p.m. at the Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St., Williamsport. Doors will open at 6 p.m. A reception – offering conversation, food, support and services for veterans – will follow the movie. Tom Donahue, the documentary’s director, is scheduled to attend.

The free event is presented by Pennsylvania College of Technology, Lycoming College and the Community Arts Center.

"Thank You for Your Service"“We are thankful for the efforts of David Bjorkman (instructor of emergency management/social science at Penn College), who is an acquaintance of Tom Donahue and has been instrumental in bringing the documentary to our community,” said Mallory L. Weymer, coordinator of student health and wellness education/suicide prevention specialist. “Hopefully, many of the veterans who attend the showing will remain afterward to engage in conversation and learn about various services available to them.”

Described as an “important film” by The New York Times; “wrenching, gripping and persuasive” by The Village Voice; and a “film that every American should see” by The Star-Ledger, “Thank You for Your Service” uses the plight of four Iraq War veterans to explore the quality of mental health care for U.S. service members.

In addition to the vets, the 2016 film features military and civilian experts discussing the mental health crisis. Roughly 20 veterans a day commit suicide in the United States, according to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs data.

“If this film cannot spur politicians to act, nothing will,” wrote The Hollywood Reporter. In its review, The New York Times noted that the documentary is filled with “scenes that make you want to scream in frustration at the bureaucracy faced by combat veterans seeking mental health services.”

(Under the hashtag #BHCNow, the filmmakers have joined the crusade to create a Behavioral Health Corps in the armed services: a single, unified body that adequately addresses the urgent and critical mental health needs of our nation’s heroes.)

Winner of the Illuminate Film Festival’s Impact Award, “Thank You for Your Service” reveals nongovernmental programs that are offering an encouraging option for veterans.

“Veterans at Penn College know that we have a family here, a community here, that is going to take care of them,” said Chet Beaver, coordinator of veteran and military services. “Offering a free showing of a well-respected film dedicated to the challenges facing vets is another way of serving the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country.”

“We are very pleased to further support the military community on local campuses and throughout the area by working with Penn College and the Community Arts Center to present this emotionally moving film,” said Dan Miller, vice president for student life at Lycoming College. “‘Thank You for Your Service’ delivers an important message, one that we hope stimulates a dialogue on the very important issue of health care for our veterans.”

Viewers should be aware that “Thank You for Your Service” contains images of war and suicidal content.

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