Towards a Solution

Many of these problems, including the high costs of mental illness, can be met by greater sharing of experience and knowledge. Better understanding of the nature of mental illness will reduce the destructive effects of stigma at every level. Closer cooperation between families and mental health professionals will help family members cope and result in more efficient and compassionate care for their ill relatives. Improved knowledge about successful and cost-effective mental health programs will save money immediately as well as improve the nation's mental health care.

The Mental Illness Education Project is engaged in the production of video-based educational and support materials for the following specific populations:

People with psychiatric disabilities are badly served by the media. Videotapes and other materials made with the active participation of people recovering from mental illness will provide needed support, information, and encouragement.
Families are a major resource of lifelong
support for the mentally ill. Yet they are
often excluded from the health-care process,
and their own concerns are frequently
ignored. Alienated from their ill relative,
they feel guilty, stigmatized and terrified.
With better understanding of the illness
and of their relative, they can become
knowledgeable and confident members of
the treatment team.
Mental health professionals need to know
more about what families with mentally ill
members face. (Some professionals still
act as though they blame the family.)
Every caregiver who encounters mental
illness needs to learn how to make the family,
the workplace and the contacts of everyday
life part of the treatment and support of
patients. Professionals and students need to
know more about effective treatment
programs in other parts of the country and
Special audiences such as legislators,
educators and health administrators need
to become familiar with the possibilities and
requirements of good mental health care.
Informed decision-makers will allocate
money, personnel and other resources more
effectively, thereby improving care and
saving tax dollars.
The general public is subjected to too many
sensational stories of crazy killers or
talented individuals gone mad. Missing is
the empathy that comes with greater
understanding of what it's like to be ill or to
have an ill family member. The public
needs to know how to deal with the person
screaming in the street or struggling with
hallucinations, and how to respond usefully
when a young employee threatens suicide.
We need the restoration of a sense of
community in which the different, those
with mental illness, have a place.

Back a page The Video Tapes

The Mental Illness Education Project, Inc.
P.O. Box 470813, Brookline Village, MA 02147
(617) 621-9700