By Rashida Herring
Hello. My name is Rashida Herring. I go to a program at NHS Human Services. I go there because I have a mental illness and I suffer from paranoid schizophrenia, and I want to get better. At NHS we made a recovery movie. We made a movie with Glenn Holsten. He is a film director.
When I first met Glenn it was a little scary because I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I knew I was getting into a project, but I didn’t know what kind of project .
And then when we started putting it together. Glenn asked us “What did you think about doing a movie?” and my first response to Glenn was “I have to think about it,” because I didn’t want to be put down about being in the movie. I didn’t want people laughing at me or calling me stupid or something. I didn’t want to be stigmatized.
So then I talked to my friends about it. And I talked to my friend Crystal and she gave me the good suggestion to be in it with her, because I was more comfortable with her. Then I talked to my recovery guide about it. She thought it was a good idea. I was still a little leery about it, until I gave it a chance.
I am glad that I was in the movie! It shows people who have mental challenges and it helped people feel better about themselves.
Making a movie was a good experience. We went to a lot of places to film the movie.
I liked it when we filmed with my friends Crystal and Anthony at Longwood Gardens, and they were walking around in the garden. It was interesting and kind of relaxing. Another favorite part was when we filmed with Darlene on a street in West Philadelphia. And I liked going to the Kimmel Center with Ed when we got to see the Philadelphia Orchestra.
And then my part, that’s what I like the best!
For my part of the movie I picked to go apple picking, because that is a dream I was looking forward to doing. I invited my friend Paris Tyree to be part of my movie. Working with Paris was wonderful. I am a kind of role model for him. He looks up to me as his big sister in a way. Me and Paris were laughing and joking at first, and then we had to pick the apples. We cooked the apples for Miss Vernell, a recovery guide, and for some of my friends. It was very delicious.
When Glenn the director asked me to speak about my childhood. It was kind of sad. I didn’t really want to talk about it at all. Once I got it out, though, I felt better.
When you tell your story out in the world, someone else could have gone through what I went through. You never know. This movie can be a good positive thing.
The most fun part was singing the music for the closing credits. That was exciting we got to meet different people on the crew — Sean, Phil, Chayne and Ann and Andy the sound guy and Jorge. And then I liked meeting Daniel and Lexis and Willa, other members of the crew, coaching us on the side. Everyone became comfortable.
It made us feel positive and respectful because we tried to support each person when they went to their filming. I think that was a good support.
Opening night. It was very excellent! We were all nervous. We weren’t expecting a lot of people . We were happy because all of our staff members supported us. I wasn’t expecting my family to come. I didn’t think my family was going to support me, but then they surprised me. I was sad, though, because my partner in crime — Paris — wasn’t there.
I was really inspired that Miss Tonya came. She was my recovery guide. Because she is a very special in my life we had a good bond.
The film got the audience to think about the positive. To look where they came from. Mental health programs have really changed.
Stigma is just a name. It’s not who you are, it‘s what you do about it.
My dream is to go around and help people talk about their feelings, too.