Filmmaker inspired by friend’s life to create mental illness awareness movement

LaGRANGE, Ga — Too many people are reluctant to talk about it: mental illness. But one LaGrange native is using his screenwriting and filmmaking talents to tell the true story of one of his closest friends whom he lost to suicide.

It’s been a painful journey of discovery for him and for the family of Holden Layfield, all of whom are committed to helping others who suffer from mental illness by promoting awareness.

“There was someone who I grew up with who treated me like a human being when others bullied me and picked on me,” says Tamlin Hall.

For screenwriter and filmmaker Tamlin Hall that someone was Holden Layfield.  Holden was always there with an encouraging, kind word for him during their days growing up in LaGrange.

Holden seemed happy, but suffered silently. Holden’s suicide at age 19 shocked and saddened those who knew and loved him.

“When I set out to do this, I wanted to tell a story about someone that people wouldn’t think, ‘Oh, they have a mental illness.’ I wanted to tell a story about someone we all would never think that,” says Hall.

The result is the movie Holden On, a project that brought the LaGrange native back to his hometown from California where the movie was filmed on location.

Bob Layfield is Holden’s father.

“We did finally come to the realization that by telling Holden’s story it might help someone else who may be having a struggle like Holden did, and we felt like if it helped just one person, then it would be worth it,” says Mr. Layfield.

“We want to start a discussion, in communities, in regions around, not just Georgia, but around the United States and the world. One in four Americans suffer from mental illness. Over 75% of those 18-24 begin to self-medicate,” says Tamlin.

Holden On seeks to tear down the stigma surrounding mental illness and send the message there’s help and hope.

For more information on Holden On, visit and follow the film’s Facebook page or the film’s website.  For more information on mental illness and to find helpful resources, please visit NAMI.

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