Tomorrow concludes Mental Health Awareness Week. There is an awful stigma attached to mental illness of all kinds. While awareness has done much to help people appreciate that mental illness is not a sign of weakness or personal failure, receiving treatment is still challenging. We might struggle to identify our own symptoms. We don’t always know who to approach in matters of behavioral health. We don’t often have support systems that will tolerate mental illness. All the while, people still throw around the words “crazy”, “retarded”, or even simply “mental” as insults.
And it used to be worse.
The early 1980s were a time in which electroconvulsive therapy was abused, and homosexuality was still widely regarded as a mental illness. Granted, it wasn’t the era depicted in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” but the third revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) in 1980 was a polarizing publication that pushed more explicit criteria and better description, but still featured terms like “ego-dystonic homosexuality” as a condition, which inspired organizations to “fix the gay” in those at odds with their own sexual orientation.
This is not an exposé. This is not a documentary. This is a dark comedy reflecting on those times: “This is Mental”
The first part of the project will be a short film called “Exercise One” named for a Joy Division song that tosses around imagery of detachment and hopelessness.
It’s written. I have what I feel should be enough money to make it happen. I would like to get this filmed roughly March or April of next year.
That’s what I’m prepared to share for the time being. I’m proud of what I’ve committed from pen to paper, but seeing this through will take more than just my vision. If you’d like to know more, please feel free to contact me.