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Screening of ‘Upstanders’ to Offer a Reminder of Why Kindness Matters

This article first appeared in the Vail Daily on September 29, 2020.

SpeakUp ReachOut and Building Hope Summit invites the entire community to watch a free virtual screening of “The Upstanders,” an IndieFlix documentary that explores cyberbullying and bullying among friends, families, coworkers and the brain science behind it all.

While the people portrayed in the movie are primarily youth, parents and mental health professionals, this movie applies to everyone. Bullying can happen anywhere, anytime, to anyone. The underlying issue aims a spotlight on the power imbalance and knowing that some people are better equipped than others to process and respond to the imbalance. “The Upstanders” also points out that power differentials online look different than in person.

“Our community has observed a reduction in middle school youth reporting being bullied from 47% in 2015 and 2017 to 29% in 2019 according to the local Healthy Kids CO Survey results,” said Mikayla Curtis, director of strategic impact with Mountain Youth. “This is showing that our collective school and community efforts are working and we need to continue these efforts so that even fewer youth are bullied,”

“While we are thrilled to see the reduction in bullying in our local middle schools, we also recognize that kindness is so important,” said Erin Ivie, executive director of SpeakUp ReachOut. “Being an upstander is taking that step toward being more kind to others,” Ivie continued.

The movie features David Molak’s family, who founded David’s Legacy after his death by suicide due to cyberbullying. Weaved in throughout the movie are additional interviews with mental health professionals, and others who discuss the impact of bullying in various settings, including the workplace. According to “The Upstanders,” toxic stress in corporate America leads to a loss in profits and has a cost of $3,000 per employee.

SpeakUp ReachOut and Building Hope Summit have convened a panel comprised of local and national experts including Scilla Andreen, CEO of IndieFlix and “Upstanders” director, Dr. Jerry Bubrick, a clinical psychologist at The Child Mind Institute, Anabel Johnson, the youth engagement coordinator for Valley’s Voice, a Mountain Youth leadership platform, Brittany Kinney, YouthPower365’s PwrOn manager, Gerry Lopez, a college student mentor for My Future Pathways and Eagle Valley Behavioral Health youth engagement coordinator.

“We are thrilled to convene this dynamic panel to open up this conversation in our community and answer any questions about bullying, it’s effects and how to be an upstander,” Ivie said.

SpeakUp ReachOut is co-hosting this virtual community opportunity with Building Hope Summit. Registrants will receive the movie link for two weeks after the Sept. 30 showing. Please register here: The movie has Spanish subtitles. Interested participants are encouraged to watch the trailer to better understand “The Upstanders.”

Trigger warning: this movie has suicide and self-harm content.

SpeakUp ReachOut, founded in 2009, exists to prevent suicide prevention in the Eagle River Valley through training, awareness and hope. Visit to learn more.

Building Hope Summit County is a community-wide initiative designed to create a more coordinated, effective and responsive mental health system that promotes emotional health, reduces stigma and improves access to care and support for everyone in Summit County. Visit to learn more.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call The Hope Center of the Eagle Valley at 970-306-HOPE (4673) or Colorado Crisis Services at 844-493-8255.

SpeakUp ReachOut is a community fundraising partner of Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, an outreach of Vail Health.

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