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Kevin Love Fund Screens Spider-Man Short, Discusses Mental Health at Dominguez

Media Release

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As part of the month, last week, more than 350 Dominguez scholars were treated to a thought-provoking panel discussion about mental health and watched a special animated Spider-Man short film called “The Spider Within: A Spider-Verse Story” thanks to the Kevin Love Fund.

Sony Pictures Animation director and story artist Jarelle Dampier

The panel was made up of Sony Pictures Animation director and story artist Jarelle Dampier, NBCLA reporter/moderator Lolita Lopez, and Kevin Love Fund mental health specialist Cat Marcel, and they all spoke to the Dominguez scholars about various aspects of mental health.

NBCLA reporter/moderator Lolita Lopez

Scholars also watched the short film, which tells the story of Spider-Man Miles Morales, who struggles to balance his responsibilities as a teenager and student, while acting as Spider-Man. After a particularly challenging day, Miles experiences a panic attack and learns that reaching out for help can be just as brave an act as protecting his city from evil.

Kevin Love Fund mental health specialist Cat Marcel

The short was directed by Dampier, who explained to the scholars how he was inspired to make the film after experiencing his own panic attacks while working. Sony Pictures Animation and Sony Pictures Imageworks partnered with the Kevin Love Fund to digitally release the animated short film. It’s been incorporated into KLF’s mental health focused lesson plan, “The Hero Within.” The lesson plan invites students to tell their own story through the lens of mental health awareness via an interactive curriculum including a creative storyboard activity.

Cat Marcel led the Dominguez students through the storyboard activity to express their own experiences. She emphasized the importance of vulnerability and talking about mental health.

The event happened thanks to the Kevin Love Fund. NBA Champion and 5-time All Star Kevin Love had publicly shared his personal challenges with mental health and started the Kevin Love Fund to motivate people to live their healthiest lives while providing tools for both mental and physical health. He was inspired by fellow NBA star and Compton High School alum DeMar DeRozen’s openness about depression.

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