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unMASKing HOPE Follows Journey of Trauma Survivors, Shares Stories of Healing and Hope

By March 15, 2022October 31st, 2023Press Releases

Partnership Debuts Documentary Trailer, Mental Health Resources

BETHESDA, Md – (March 15, 2022) – Give an Hour® partners with documentary unMASKing HOPE to share the healing stories from trauma survivors on their journey to find hope. The partnership will provide educational resources through a series of outreach activities while reshaping the narrative of stigma associated with trauma.

unMASKing HOPE is a full-length documentary from acclaimed filmmaker Eric Christiansen slated for release on national public media in October 2022. unMASKing HOPE chronicles the extraordinary stories of a group of trauma survivors who don “masks” that bury their spiritual, physical and emotional pain. They each share their journey from seclusion to inclusion and the aggregate stories of these brave individuals brings a powerful message of HOPE, inspiring audiences to unMASK their own HOPE. View the newest unMASKing HOPE trailer.

Give an Hour presents, “Healing with HOPE: unMASKing Hurt Caused by Trauma,” March 23 at 1 p.m. EST. This free webinar features trauma survivors from the film and a panel of mental health experts and providers who share the most recent trauma research and offer resources for healing. A second webinar is scheduled for April 20.

“This partnership allows us to reach a much wider audience with the necessary resources to heal from trauma,” said Dr. Trina Clayeux, CEO of Give an Hour. “We are grateful to Eric for his visionary storytelling and for the opportunity to participate in such a meaningful way.”

An estimated 70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives* and the partnership seeks to boost awareness, tolerance and hope around mental health following trauma and address the stigma often associated with it so no one suffers alone. The collaboration provides real and tangible ways to activate the community, including marketing toolkits, special events and screenings that focus on educating audiences about key steps to take for help and healing.

“I am honored that Give an Hour is joining us to unMASK HOPE across the country. My mantra is that my films are the doorway to healing and the outreach is the safety net for the viewer, so this partnership is an important extension of my life’s work,” said Eric Christiansen, unMASKing HOPE’s director, producer and HOPE ambassador. “Together, we hope to shine a light on trauma and its aftermath and, more importantly, instigate much-needed healing in these difficult times. If one person benefits from our efforts, then we have done our job.”

Film participants include people who have survived mass shootings, active military combat, sexual assault, terrorist attacks and Nazi oppression. As we follow their individual journeys, unMASKing HOPE illustrates how these survivors followed similar healing paths and shares powerful messages of HOPE intended to inspire audiences.

To continue the conversation and connect with Give an Hour and unMASKing HOPE, visit their socials at @unmaskinghope and @giveanhour.

*National Council

About Give an Hour®
Give an Hour is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to create resilient communities across the U.S. by providing barrier-free access to mental health care through its network of more than 4,500 mental health providers. Since its inception in 2005, Give an Hour has delivered more than 369,000 hours of mental health services. The organization is also committed to giving help and hope to those in need by prioritizing mental health education through collaboration with thought leaders, community and volunteers.

About EC Productions
Based in Los Angeles, EC Productions is an award-winning independent film production company creating socially conscious, non-partisan films that enrich the human spirit. Anchored around the ideas of truth, healing and hope, EC Productions’ acclaimed films promote tolerance and empathy through authentic storytelling, clinical support and cultural commentary.

About Eric Christiansen
Eric Christiansen is an acclaimed documentarian who built his brand around socially responsible filmmaking that educates, inspires and heals. He is able to identify an issue within a specific population and make it resonate with a general audience through compelling storytelling.  A trauma survivor himself, having lost his home in the Santa Barbara Painted Cave fire disaster, he understands trauma, the resilience of the human spirit, and how important HOPE is to the healing journey.  A seven-time Southwestern Region Emmy Award recipient, Christiansen’s previous films (Faces in the Fire, Homecoming: A Vietnam Vets Journey, Searching for Home: Coming Back from War) have been transformative in the recovery process for thousands of people whose lives have been compromised mentally, spiritually and physically by trauma. The New York Times called his last film, “strikingly photographed” and “…sure to give comfort and support to countless veterans and their families.” By spotlighting these survivors and their journeys, Christiansen has been able to help unify a variety of audiences around the power of HOPE, and educate the general population about the complexities of trauma. Christiansen has also created for major networks including Discovery, TLC, PBS, MTV and an Imax film.