August 03, 2021

‘Princess Bride’ in the park

Crossroads’ movie night promotes community, connection and raises awareness for substance abuse, mental health

“The Princess Bride” will be featured at the McKinley Park bandshell 8:45 to 10 p.m. Saturday. The Movie Night In the Park is sponsored by Crossroads Behavior Health Services.

“We want to actively participate in strengthening families and our communities by providing family friendly, drug and alcohol-free events that are accessible to our communities,” said Erin Miller, executive director of Crossroads BHS.

September is National Recovery Month, which is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to “increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who recover.” The theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities.”

“Mental health and substance abuse are in the community. It’s something that can be treated and people can be successful in life,” she said. “We’re here, we’re in the community, and we want to have everyone be as successful in the community as possible.”

And due to the months of people being quarantined, the event is also purposed to bring the community out and provide them with something they might enjoy, Miller said.

The need

The need for mental health services this year has been on the rise. Due to COVID-19, Crossroads providers saw an influx of patients.

“March through July, we had a 300% increase, which is just huge,” Miller said.

Miller said that during the months of March through June, Crossroads closed their doors and only offered their services through telehealth because of the pandemic. But Crossroads is open full-time again due to their concern for children and individuals who are isolated or don’t have the ability to use electronic means.

While telehealth worked well for some individuals, Miller said it is difficult to fully treat small children without in-person appointments, and there is less oversight, which means the possibility for patients to mask their level of substance abuse can rise.

“It’s hard to keep people accountable over telehealth,” she said.

The pandemic has contributed to an increase in anxiety disorders and depression, as well, and providers have been helping their clients learn coping skills to help parents feel better about sending their children back to school or keeping them home.

“There’s been so much guilt, I think, surrounding COVID,” Miller said. “It’s been divisive among people and families.”


For the upcoming event in the park, Crossroads received approximately $1,000 in funding from the Iowa Department of Public Health. Last year, nearly 150 people attended Crossroads’ event which targeted mostly children and was located at their main site, centering around games with food trucks provided. Miller said it was the success of last year’s event that inspired them to host a community event both children and adults can enjoy.

“It turned out pretty well,” she said. “More people showed up than what I thought.”

This year, the first 45 attendees will receive a blanket with the Crossroads logo, which will help movie-goers space themselves out in the park. Guests will provide free bottled water, but guests are encouraged to bring their own snacks and drinks to the event Saturday, as well.

“We’re just excited to see everybody and visit with members of our community, and kind of get back together,” Miller said.

Crossroads Behavioral Health Services, located at 1003 Cottonwood Road, is a treatment center that offers confidential services and resources to individuals, couples, families, and groups. For more information, visit or call 641-782-8457.