This week, some MHA staff members and I had the chance to see Jason Invisible, a new play co-commissioned by the Kennedy Center and VSA, the international organization on arts and disability. The drama, which focuses on a young boy dealing with his father’s mental health conditions, is a terrific way to educate middle schoolers about mental health.
Entries Tagged as 'Mind Over Pop Culture'
The Three Faces of Eve, made in 1958, is one of the earliest films to deal with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Despite being tied to its time, the movie handles the illness with intelligence and sympathy. In a time when movies were censored for content, how did this movie get made?
The debate over whether people with mental illnesses are a threat to society has gone on for an extraordinarily long time. Despite the overwhelming evidence that having a mental illness does not make you violent, there has always been a group of people who feel that locking them away from “normal” society will make the world a better place. Being sick allows society to refuse them their Constitutional rights to a fair trial because their actions make people uncomfortable. This fight is often fought on the ground, as it were, with the police and in the court system.
I wanted to discuss the way pop culture deals with veteran’s mental health, and to my surprise, a number of potential options appeared. Veterans are a common topic on TV procedurals (stereotypically watched by traditional, middle Americans who love apple pie and freedom), and due to the two wars and the influx of baby boomers remembering how Vietnam veterans were treated, the topic comes up a lot. The theme is usually how the government has failed veterans (and how they have!) and how the local community needs to step up and take care of them. Often, one of the main characters of the show is a veteran himself. Shows like NCIS, CSI and Bones have characters that are veterans, and have episodes about veteran’s issues. Recently, the issue has appeared in a more complicated fashion on more complicated cable shows like Justified and Sherlock. One episode about veterans that stuck with me is Criminal Minds’ “Distress,” from its second season.
I’ve been immensely proud to work at Mental Health America for over four years now, and the story of the creation of the organization has always been a source of pride. Clifford Beers, a young man from Connecticut, spent three years in various mental hospitals in the state, and when he got out, he changed the world. He wrote a book called A Mind That Found Itself, published in 1908, and used his experiences to create the National Committee on Mental Hygiene. The Committee was created in 1909, and in 2012, we celebrate 104 years of fighting for what Mr. Beers strove for, openness and lack of stigma for people with mental illnesses. This idea goes back to his time in hospitals, and to the writing of his book.