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The Bonnie Tapes

Conversations about one woman's struggle with schizophrenia --- as seen by her, by her parents, and by her sister.

What happens when mental illness enters the life of a family?
How does the person struck by the illness feel?
What are some of the steps on the road to recovery?

Mental Illness in the Family
(26 minutes)

Bonnie and members of her family talk about her illness and its impact on all of them. They recall their helplessness and confusion when she became ill, and their emotions and reactions in the years that followed.

Topics include:

  • Keeping the illness a secret
  • "Could I have done something to prevent her illness?"
  • Bonnie's anger, paranoia, delusions--and guilt
  • The threat to the marriage
  • Special problems that affect siblings

Recovering from Mental Illness
(27 minutes)

What does it feel like to have schizophrenia? Bonnie talks about learning to cope with her illness, and she and her family discuss her progress with Andrea Blodgett, M.S.W., of McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass.

Topics include:

  • The devastation of realizing you're ill
  • Being written off
  • The reality of the voices
  • Not wanting to take medications
  • The difficulty of deciding how much to expect
  • Recognizing recovery

My Sister Is Mentally Ill
(22 minutes)

Bonnie's sister Kathy talks candidly about her emotions and the problems she has faced having a sister with schizophrenia. A unique tape on sibling issues that will interest other family members as well as professionals. With Linda Husar, M.S.W. (Includes some scenes from "Mental Illness in the Family.")

Topics include:

  • Being afraid but not talking about it
  • Guilt
  • Trying to be perfect
  • Concerns about marriage, having children, estate planning, the future


With The Bonnie Tapes, families can begin to share their experiences with others. They can learn and take courage from the responses of another real family.

Seeing that improvement is possible is an important step in helping a family member move toward recovery.

Too often what everyone learns about mental illness is negative and hopeless.

A major message of the tapes is: Never give up hope!

The ability of Bonnie's family to communicate, to discuss their emotions with each other, is inspiring. Viewing and talking about The Bonnie Tapes can be a life-changing phenomenon for many people.


In today's managed care environment, professionals are increasingly dependent on the support and help of families. The Bonnie Tapes will help this process by providing a compelling introduction to the issues faced by all the members of a family when mental illness strikes.

Professionals-in-training will gain specific knowledge about what families-and their ill family members-have faced. And still face.

Bonnie describes schizophrenia with remarkable clarity, giving voice to the concerns and feelings of others less able to talk about it.

A rare opportunity to meet someone who is articulate about the illness and the recovery process.


Bonnie's account of coping with schizophrenia will be a revelation to people whose view of mental illness has been shaped by the popular media. She and her family provide an intimate view of a frequently feared, often misrepresented and much stigmatized illness - and of the human side of learning to live with a psychiatric disability.

PRAISE FOR: The Bonnie Tapes

"These are wonderful videotapes! They're must-see for any families with mentally ill loved ones."

--Lynne M. Shuster
Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Buffalo and Erie County, Buffalo, NY

"The Bonnie Tapes deserve a niche on the shelf of every family support group, every psychosocial club, and every professional who works with individuals with serious mental illness. They have something to teach each of us."

--Kayla F. Bernheim, Ph.D.,
Psychologist and Author

"As a person with a psychiatric condition, I just can't tell you how impressed I am ... It's just such a refreshing change to see what we can do rather than what's wrong with us. Or how to get right what's wrong with us."

--Moe Armstrong, MBA, MA
Director of Family and Consumer Affairs
Vinfen Corporation

"This collection is a beautifully edited portrayal of a family's journey with mental illness. Bonnie and her family sensitively touch upon many subjects which families with mental illness commonly cope with. I recommend this collection for all individuals interested in better understanding mental illness and the often unspoken impact these disorders have on family dynamics."

--Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D.
Department of Psychiatry, Harvard University

A breakthrough production and a beautiful tape! Excellent for teaching people about the many sides of schizophrenia.

-Frederick J. Frese, Ph.D.
Coordinator of the Summit County Recovery Project
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

"Mental Illness in the Family introduces us to a family which has had to face the serious mental illness of a daughter and found the strength to come to terms with it. It is an inspiration to other families that they too can surmount the enormous difficulties that mental illness presents and go on with their lives.

Recovering from Mental Illness is an exceptionally well-developed videotape from which we learn about the personal experience of mental illness from the perspective of a young woman who suffers from it. There is no better way for families and providers to know what mental illness is really like."

--Agnes B. Hatfield, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland
Founding member and former president of the
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill

"The Bonnie Tapes" are a wonderful orientation to the experience of living with a major mental illness. Recommended for family members, consumers and practitioners."

--Ruth Hughes, Ph.D.
Executive Director
International Association of Psyshosocial Rehabilitation Services

VHS format only

Mental Illness in the Family $99.95 [Add to Cart]  [View Cart]
My Sister is Mentally Ill $99.95 [Add to Cart]  [View Cart]
Recovering from Mental Illness $99.95 [Add to Cart]  [View Cart]

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