Many of you may be aware that I am co-producing a film with PJ Moynihan entitled “Healing Voices.” You may not be aware of all that has led up to this and why I think this type of film is so important for our movement, which is the purpose of this post.
When I first encountered the mental health system 13 years ago after attempting to fly my car, I was shocked to see how people were treated. I basically felt I was thrown out of the human race. I had just been through an amazing, spiritual experience, an emergence really, yet nobody wanted to talk about what led up that moment. I was just a collection of symptoms, a diagnosis, that’s it. Nobody cared about my story. At least in the hospital they didn’t.
I believe that the wider public does care about our stories. In doing this work for over a decade, I have come to the realization that, in my opinion, a paradigm shift in mental health will not come until public attitudes shift. How will this happen? The most powerful medium today is video, whether on Facebook, YouTube, Video on Demand, or the big screen, video is where it’s at.
That’s why I’m so passionate about Healing Voices. It is films like these that have the potential to reach beyond the choir, to shift public attitudes and ultimately influence policy and lead to drastic social change. A paradigm shift. A paradigm shift we need so the next teenager who experiences an altered state after leaving home for college gets the support they need and is not labeled and medicated for life. A paradigm shift we need as a society as we need to listen to people in extreme states because they have so much to teach us.
Which brings me to the title of our film: Healing Voices. Healing Voices has multiple meanings. Some of the characters in the film hear voices, and they are proof that not all voices are negative. Many voices are positive and even healing for folks, and most people that hear voices do not have the goal of getting rid of their voices entirely, just improving their relationship with them. Also, we can be healing voices for each other. A large part of the film focuses on the power of storytelling. That is why as a part of the film and our current Kickstarter campaign we are collecting stories from around the world as a part of our “Healing Voices from Around the World Oral History Project.” A few of these collected stories will be featured in the actual film. Lastly, we believe that our voices can be healing for the rest of society. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The salvation of the world lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.”
Hopefully this film will be one of many in our movement to really make a big splash with the general public. If you would like to help us, you can check us out on Kickstarter. For those of you who don’t know about Kickstarter, it is a crowd funding website that helps raise money for creative projects. Our goal is to raise $15,000 for production of the film by October 19th. These campaigns are all or nothing so any contribution helps. To learn more about our current Kickstarter campaign, which includes an opportunity to submit your own story and other rewards, go to:
See you on the red carpet!
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.