Helping health-care professionals use film to address the gap in care for mental health patients

TIFF, Reel Comfort
Photo credit: Sarjoun Faour

TIFF was founded in 1976 and has since evolved into one of the world’s preeminent film organizations. TIFF touches the lives of over 1.5 million people each year in Toronto and beyond through its year-round programming. Because film is one of the world’s most accessible art forms, TIFF believes that its film initiatives should be accessible, and it is committed to diversity in programming and outreach to the marginalized and traditionally excluded.

Established in 2007, TIFF’s “Reel Comfort” program is a unique initiative providing film screenings, facilitated discussions, special guest visits, and film craft workshops to patients residing in acute care inpatient psychiatry units. Currently delivered in partnership with two local hospitals – Toronto General Hospital and St. Michael’s Hospital - the program uses film to address the service and care gap in creative expression, arts-based therapies, and recreation opportunities for mental health patients. 

The Vital Ideas grant awarded to TIFF will help set the groundwork for replicating the program at two additional hospitals, support adapting the model to serve clients at community-based health organizations, as well as documenting and evaluating best practices, and creating a promotional video to showcase the model among its networks and beyond.