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"I love you like crazy"


Being a Parent with Mental Illness
(30 minutes)

"I love you like crazy" introduces eight courageous parents who have experienced mental illness while raising a family. Most of these parents have faced enormous obstacles from homelessness, addictions, legal difficulties and hospitalizations yet have maintained a positive and loving relationship with their children. Excerpts of this tape were shown at the 1999 White House Conference on Mental Illness.

The videotape introduces issues of work, fear, stigma, relationships with children and the rest of the family, with professionals, and with the community at large.

  • What services do these parents need, especially when in crisis?
  • Why do parents face so much stigma? What is the impact of stigma on parents and their children?
  • Parents who have mental illness risk losing their children. What could be done to provide the needed support and legal advice?

About the Participants:
Many of the mothers and fathers featured in "I love you like crazy" had previously met in a peer support group, where they offered support to each other and shared their common concerns about accessing needed services. They hope that their stories will reduce stigma and help people realize that individuals with mental illness can be loving, competent parents.

Production of "I love you like crazy" was supported in part by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.


"These articulate men and women, who have suffered from a wide range of serious disorders, talk about their sense of disempowerment and invisibility at the hands of well-meaning social, legal, and even familial systems.

They poignantly express their grief about how their illnesses have affected their ability to parent. With courage, optimism, humor, and candor they illustrate their love for their children and their commitment to building and rebuilding the important relationships in their lives.

Best of all, these are people - citizens, parents, co-workers - we might like to get to know. By their very example, they help to destigmatize mental illness for all of us."

Kayla F. Bernheim, Ph.D
Psychologist and Author

My test for whether a film "works" is whether I care about the characters. The beauty of this film about people who are parents and have psychiatric illness is that they are likeable and easy to relate to. You get a sense that to be one of their children is to live a typical American family experience, being raised by mortals with strengths as well as weaknesses. That it becomes easy for the viewer to see these people as parents first and as people with psychiatric illnesses, second is a valuable lesson.

I found myself wanting to know more about these families and, in fact, to spend time with their children. This film advances the important work of public education about people who happen to have psychiatric illnesses. Their courage and humility in facing their conditions and striving to become loving parents is compelling. Watch this film and learn.

Ken Duckworth, M.D.
Medical Director, Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Boston, MA

This moving videotape highlights the often-neglected needs of parents with mental illness. These loving and courageous parents describe their experiences with power and eloquence, offering compelling witness to the impact of mental illness on their lives and their parenting. What is needed is a truly comprehensive and humane system of care that acknowledges and supports these parents and their vulnerable children.

Diane T. Marsh, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, Author, Troubled Journey: Coming to Terms with the Mental Illness of a Sibling or Parent and Serious Mental Illness and the Family : The Practitioner's Guide

"I love you like crazy" is a wonderful and wonderfully useful and inspiring videotape. It provides insight, comfort, and reassurance, offering a fresh and welcome portrait of struggles, and triumphs, too often hidden from us all."

Jay Neugeboren
Author, Imagining Robert, My Brother, Madness, and Survival and Transforming Madness: New Lives for People Living with Mental Illness

I fell instantly in love with "I love you like crazy" Being A Parent with Mental Illness because it breaks down the myths and stigma associated with mental illnesses, demonstrating that persons with diagnosed mental illness are caring, responsible parents who must cope with challenges of their own while raising children.

This video shatters stereotypes into smithereens, making their difficulties as parents with mental illness easy to compare to the understood difficulties of parents raising children without a partner, and those faced by two working parents trying to balance raising children with careers, and, of course, those parents challenged with a wide range of socially accepted physical disabilities. This is a must-see for consumers, family members, professionals, but most of all - our vast uneducated public, many of who are living in denial of their menal illnesses and trying to raise children."

Ken Steele
Publisher, New York City Voices:
A Consumer Journal for Mental Health Advocacy

"A thought-provoking glimpse of the issues parents face as they cope with their mental illnesses."

Rosalynn Carter
Former First Lady, Author, Helping Someone with Mental Illness

This tape is very effective and very powerful. It is an amazing piece of work.

Mary Ellen Copeland, MA, MS
Author, The Depression Workbook and Wellness Recovery Action Plan

This tape offers balanced hope. It breaks the stereotype that people with mental illness can't or don't have children. It validates the importance of the connection between parents and between parents and children. These connections thread through our recovery.

LeRoy Spaniol, Ph.D.
Senior Director, Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation

This videotape is touching, candid, and powerful. The topic is tremendously important and brings into the open a piece of the stigma puzzle that is not often discussed.

Jennifer K. Brown
Project Director, The Anti-Stigma Project of On our Own of Maryland, Inc.

Many of the themes that are addressed in the video represent the experiences of our patients/clients... an excellent video.

Mary V. Seeman, M.D.
Professor and Tapscott Chair in Schizophrenia Studies, University of Toronto

VHS format only

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