By Mark van de Kamp for City of Santa Maria 


In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the Santa Maria Public Library will screen the film Visions of Warriors from Humanist Films, LLC, 2:30-4:30 p.m. Monday, May 6, in the library’s Shepard Hall, 421 S. McClelland St.

Visions of Warriors is a feature documentary about four veterans from the Vietnam War era to the Iraq War who participate in the groundbreaking Veteran Photo Recovery Project at the Veterans Administration complex in Menlo Park.

The veterans use innovative photography therapy — a type of art therapy — to treat their mental illness.

The film follows Mark Pinto, Priscilla Bethel, Ari Sonnenberg and Homerina Bond as they find treatment for their mental illness, including moral injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and military sexual trauma.
As war and conflicts continue, many veterans are returning home and suffering from mental illness. Shockingly, 22 veterans commit suicide every day.

Traditional therapies, such as individual counseling, group therapy and medication usually work only half the time. Alternative therapies, such as art therapy, may help supplement traditional therapies.

For more information, contact the library information desk, 805-925-0994 ext. 8562, or Ming Lai, Humanist Films, 626-372-1301 or email

Community Conversations with Veterans and the California Center for the Book is a program of the California Library Association, supported by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the state librarian.