The Texas System of Care provided a safe space for attendees needing emotional support at the Austin Youth Film Festival’s screening of the “TOWER” – the 2016 documentary about the 1966 shootings at the University of Texas at Austin.
The TxSOC – which supports communities in their efforts to improve mental health outcomes for children, youth, and families – is a project of the University of Texas at Austin and the Steve Hicks School of Social Work’s Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health.
Clinical Services Lead Andrés Guariguata represented the TxSOC at the event.
“It is not uncommon that viewing a film recounting this violent event may stir anxieties and fears in some people. Each person will have their own responses to this viewing,” Guariguata said. “The important thing to remember is that all feelings and responses are unique to each person and all are to be respected.”
It is not uncommon that viewing a film recounting this violent event may stir anxieties and fears in some people. … The important thing to remember is that all feelings and responses are unique to each person and all are to be respected.Andrés Guariguata, Clinical Services Lead (Texas System of Care)
The Austin Youth Film Festival, which annually creates opportunities for young, independent voices to enter the media arts, hosted the screening of “TOWER” at the East Austin Alamo Drafthouse on Nov. 5. This year’s Festival was led by Executive Director Alex Chew.
“The Austin Youth Film Festival’s high school interns felt it was important to have a mental health clinical specialist at our ‘TOWER’ screening. They understand what it feels like to have anxiety about school shootings like the one portrayed in the film,” Chew said. “These young filmmakers wanted the Texas System of Care to be there to make sure everyone felt safe and supported.”
Guariguata was uniquely able to provide mental health care at the screening event.
A long-time resident of Austin, he remembers the 1966 shooting well. His sister was a UT student at the time and had left campus a mere 15 minutes before the tragedy occurred.
“I believe that what helped me and our family the most was the support of our friends, family, and community,” he said.
Support that, 53 years later, he was able to give to youth and families who were reliving the horrific events of that day at the screening.
To learn more about the Texas System of Care, visit our website at txsystemofcare.org.