‘I didn’t have to do it alone’: Short films document personal stories of addiction, mental health

Calgarians share their stories of resilience through filmmaking

Mike Lang and Trish Little have been workshopping Little’s film about her healing journey. (Susan Holzman/CBC)

A slide show of intimate family photos and portraits of Trish Little overlays her soft voice as she narrates her past.

The Calgary mom describes a childhood of abuse, ongoing challenges with addiction and mental health and a time when her three children were taken away from her.

But hers is not a sad story.

Helpers Fixers Healers, as its title suggests, is a short about Little’s path to healing and a tribute to the people who have helped her become a proud mom, grandmother, wife and friend, who is 8½ years sober.

“About 10 years ago or so, I started to find these wonderful people living here in Calgary,” she says. “They were magical healers; I love to call them my earth angels.”

The film is one of a collection of inspiring digital stories of resilience workshopped by community members at the Alex Community Health Centre, alongside storytellers like Little.

The shorts, which document experiences with addiction, mental health and homelessness, will be screened in the Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall at the Central Library on Wednesday night.

Mike Lang — one of Little’s “magical healers” — facilitated the project at the Alex, a community hub that provides a range of support services to vulnerable Calgarians.

“When we take the time to really listen deeply to the stories in our lives, there’s incredible lessons to be learned,” says Lang, a digital storyteller who works with patients in the health-care system to document their stories and use them to improve care.

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