Press release from the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County 

On the afternoon of Sunday, March 30, the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County invites the public to a screening of the award winning documentary feature Between Iraq and a Hard Place.

Presented at 3 pm in the Middletown Arts Center, the event is the first military outreach initiative of 2014 for the local MHA, as the Shrewsbury-based organization continues to expand efforts to address the mental health needs of returning service members, veterans, and their families. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online or at the Middletown Arts Center Box Office.

Directed by Rex J. Pratt, Between Iraq and A Hard Place provides first-hand insight into what veterans of the Iraq conflict have experienced — not just on the field of battle, but in the often difficult transition to life back home in the States. As the movie’s synopsis explains, “If we can understand what our sons and daughters of war feel and fear, we can better know how to help them.”

Much of the movie consists of recordings from the hand held tape recorder which Lance Corporal Luke Smentkowski of the USMC brought with him to Iraq. The film has won numerous awards, including the “Broader Vision Award” at the Garden State Film Festival in 2007, and “Best Documentary” at the SoCal Independent Film Festival in 2006.

MHA recognizes that the growing mental health needs of our returning services members, veterans, and their families are critical, as PTSD and other mental health concerns are on the rise.  The not-for-profit organization hopes that through creating such awareness, those in need will utilize MHA’s free programs and services, such as the free monthly support programs: Sanctuary and Safe Place. The Sanctuary program offers support for family and friends of active duty members or veterans experiencing emotional difficulties, while the Safe Place program offers bereavement therapy to family and friends who have lost an active duty member or veteran to casualties of war or suicide. Visit the MHS website or call (732)542-6422 for more information about MHA’s programs and services, the event, or to purchase tickets.