When Medicine Got it Wrong

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 7:30 pm
USA 2009. Directors: Katie Cadigan, Laura Murray

When Medicine Got it Wrong

VANCOUVER PREMIERE! Director Katie Cadigan’s name will be familiar to long-time “Frames of Mind” patrons from People Say I’m Crazy, a film about her brother’s struggle with schizophrenia, which we presented in 2004. Her heartbreaking encounters with elderly parents after screenings of that earlier film prompted Katie to make When Medicine Got It Wrong, a hard-hitting documentary providing historical context for our contemporary mental health care crisis. In 1974, when it was still accepted medical practice to blame parents for their children’s schizophrenia, a small group of parents in California were the first to publicly challenge this belief. They formed Parents of Adult Schizophrenics (a forerunner to the National Alliance on Mental Illness), and openly challenged the medical establishment to recognize the medical nature of the ailment. Their committed activism led to increased research into the physiological origins of mental illness and significant changes in how schizophrenia is understood and treated. These battles were waged during a time of deinstitutionalization; mental hospitals all over North America were being closed, but the community care meant to replace them never materialized. Many of the severely ill ended up on the streets or in jails. Although these activist parents helped build an important new awareness of mental illness, a visit to Vancouver’s own Downtown Eastside serves as a strong reminder that government and society have yet to fully catch up. Colour, Digibeta video. 53 mins.

Post-screening discussion with Joan Nazif and Susan Inman, members of the Family Advisory Committee of Vancouver Community Mental Health Services, and Dr. William MacEwan, Clinical Professor and Director, Schizophrenia Program, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.

Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.

Co-sponsored by the Family Advisory Committee, Vancouver Community Mental Health Services.


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