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Alpine Mountaineer: "Using the arts to promote mental health"

Trish Glowacki (center) moderated the panel discussion with input from Isabel Sierra of Mountain Counseling and Training (left) and transformative artist Beth Benson. (Photo by Mary-Justine Lanyon)


By Mary Justine-Lanyon

After watching two films – This Is Me, about a young man coming out as gay to his friends and family; and Unimaginable, about the stress of isolation due to the pandemic – guests at Spade & Spatula on June 2 discussed the films and their impact.

Trish Glowacki, the executive director of the glowmedia project and the filmmaker, flew in from Washington, D.C., to introduce the films and moderate a discussion that followed their showing. The Glowmedia Project was founded, she said, because anxiety disorder, eating disorders and the use of prescription medications to change moods are so prevalent among teens. The films are a way to bring attention to these issues and a path to discussions between teens and their families.

Following the screening, Glowacki was joined by therapist Isabel Sierra and artist Beth Benson. Sierra is a marriage and family therapist with Mountain Counseling and Training, where she works with children and adults facing mental health challenges. Benson is a transformative artist who founded Creatrix Matrix, an eco-art healing space. “Parents hope their children will tell them what they’re going through,” Sierra said. “But they can’t if they don’t know. We get the parents to understand there is a process. Under anger,” she added, “there are a lot of other emotions. Young people have to learn what they are.” Working with crayons, creating art, Benson said, “can take you on a journey that circumvents your mind. Creativity can give you warmth and joy. We need to undo hatred. Art, music dancing – they can give you back being human.”

What the glowmedia project is doing, Glowacki said, “is using the arts to promote mental health education.” The films can be viewed on the glowmedia project website,

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