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Reel Empowerment 

Social Action film series focuses on mental health

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Overlooking Bennett Valley in eastern Santa Rosa since 1974, the progressive Congregation Shomrei Torah is now the largest Jewish congregation in Sonoma County, propelled by a dedication to learning programs and social-action committees open to people of all spiritual and social interests.

This weekend, the congregation's Social Action Goes to the Movies film series opens its 2016 season with the theme "Mental Illness . . . It Takes a Community," with a screening of the powerful documentary A Reason to Live. Produced in 2008, the short doc examines the sensitive subject of teen depression and suicide with thoughtful and personal stories told by young people and families of all walks of life.

Following the screening, a panel discussion and Q&A will feature representatives from the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Sonoma County Crisis Assessment, Prevention and Education Team.

In the following months, the film series will also present films ranging from adolescent misunderstandings of masculinity to the crisis of U.S. soldiers suffering from PTSD. The series wraps in May with a community forum on depression that includes several Sonoma County mental-health experts.

A Reason to Live screens on Saturday, Feb. 20, at Congregation Shomrei Torah, 2600 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. 7:30pm. Donations accepted. 707.578.5519.

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