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Legacy Grants

A Boston State of Mind: Mental Health in Boston

Screenshot from Boston State of Mind

With our Legacy Grant, my group of 18 sophomores produced A Boston State of Mind, a 30-minute documentary exploring issues related to mental health in the Greater Boston area. The grant enabled us to travel across the city to interview health care professionals, purchase filmmaking equipment, and publicize our film premiere on and off campus.

Our project began with a simple mission: to raise awareness of a social justice issue affecting our community. Each of us had spent the summer volunteering at a PULSE placement—Haley House, Suffolk County House of Corrections, Educational Development Group, Inc., Rosie’s Place, and others. During this time in the community, we noticed that a thread of mental illness ran throughout. Yet despite its prevalence, mental illness remains stigmatized. We observed that the poor and the uneducated are seen as victims of our broken system, while the mentally ill are regarded as having nobody to blame but themselves. 

A Boston State of Mind challenged that point of view. We consulted with local professionals to explore the stages of mental health, socioeconomic status, and race. Margarita Alegria, director of the Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research, explained to us how different communities view mental health and how discrimination can foster mental illness. David Goodman, a clinical psychologist and teaching associate at Harvard Medical School, spoke about the inequalities in clinical therapy and the language used to characterize mental health. After interviewing Dr. Alegria, Dr. Goodman, and 12 other professionals, we created a documentary that explored Boston’s unique issues with mental illness and the efforts underway to deal with them. 

For more information and to view our film, visit We could not have made this film without the support of the Legacy Grant Committee. 

Catherine Cole '17

Light the World Campaign