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services. It could have worked if it had actually been done the way it was planned but instead people were just dumped out of the hospital, no services were provided. If a person has a major mental illness, they’re easily victimized. It’s very hard for them to navigate the system. When you have them on the street defecating, urinating and pan- handling, that is what increases stigma for mental illness. Maybe this is the only exposure to mental illness most people get: crazy people on the street bothering them.”

Dr. Danny Wedding, a US psychologist and co-author of Movies and Mental Illness, and Positive Psychology at the Movies, reported that historically, film has been responsible for perpetuating five myths relating to mental illness: (1) People with mental illness are inevitably dangerous; (2) Mental illness is always the result of a previous traumatic experience; (3) Mental illness only reflects harmless eccentricity; (4) Mental illness is the result of bad parenting practices; and (5) Love alone is enough to overcome mental illness. Though Dr. Wedding believes that both television and film have contributed to the gross stigmatization of mental illness, some recently produced movies (A Beautiful Mind, for example) have helped in educating the public on diseases like schizophrenia.

Most recently, Cinematheque featured The Forgiveness, and Counterparts in the Frames of Mind series – both as Vancouver premieres. The Forgiveness (El Perdon), a 2009 Spanish film directed by Ventura Durall, gives viewers a glimpse into the world of 19-year-old Andres Rabadan following the brutal murder of his own father by crossbow. During the trial, Rabadan is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and later sentenced to prison for 20 years. The subject matter, at first glance, seems maniacal, but layers of truth are peeled away, uncovering reasons for a splintered psychological pathway.

Film is a modern connection that can link together the truth about mental illness, from the perceptions of the once-believable, jagged-toothed, demonic poster- child - to the real, the breathing, the life-as-they-know- it, very human characters involved in the real-life drama... It can also be a cesspool of junky information (think: Jim Carrey in Me, Myself and Irene) where ignorant stereotypes are amped up beyond belief.

In the realistic versions - the true representations - torn lives spill onto the screen. We watch it affect men and women of every age category, of every race and nationality, every financial outlook, and we watch it bruise the relationships of those suffering from the diagnosis.

The use of mental illness as a premise in film, even indirectly, wasn’t designed to splash stereotypes across the silver screen. It wasn’t designed to force-feed fear to the general public. Though, when insensitivity rears its ugly head, both of these things happen: to the power of ten.

“The more [mental illness] is out there, the more you’re faced with it,” says Latimer, “When you turn on the TV, it’s in the sitcoms, it’s everywhere… it becomes part of life.”

Essentially, instead of seeing film as a medium to produce negative attention toward an already complex community, it has the power to change the obtuse minds of the world.

By Melissa MacDougall

441 Lawrence Ave, Kelowna, BC 


blue gator Kelowna ‘s headquarters for LIVE MUSIC!

The “Gator” has been known to periodically showcase some of the valleys most popular classic rock combos.

Soulful, heartfelt originals and blues classics of Poppa Dawg, the skillfully mastered harmonica stylings of Sherman “Tank” Doucette and the humorous antics of the Zamboni Brothers.

Come to the Blue Gator to mix, mingle and get your dance on!

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