Understanding Mental Illness

Queens Public Television's award-winning original series.

QPTV Presents: Understanding Mental Illness “What Is Mental Illness?” took first place honors in the Diversity Empowerment category. This is the first in a series of programs produced to encourage a better understanding of mental illness. Often using schizophrenia as an example, this program explores what we now know may be some of the causes of mental illness, the latest treatments, and the future of care for the mentally ill.

QPTV Presents: Understanding Mental Illness “Community Based Treatment” tied for first place in the Science, Health and Spirituality category. This program, part of a series about mental illness, explores how modern therapies and medications can enable people to remain at home, with family and friends nearby, as they journey toward recovery. For too long, people feared that a diagnosis of mental illness meant a life sentence in an institution. Today, community based treatment offers an effective alternative to hospitalization for many who suffer from a mental illness.

This episode follows two recovering patients at Creedmoor as they struggle with serious mental illness and prepare to transition back into their communities. Their efforts help them regain the self respect which results from doing productive work as they learn valuable skills while employed in the "Big Nosh" program.

Occasionally, mental illness results in unfortunate consequences. Journeys introduces us to several patients in varying stages of recovery from serious mental disorders. We also explore the unique Living Museum, an "asylum" for artists who have some unique stories and backgrounds. Dr. Janos Marton explains his thinking on how to combat the self-stigmatizing which often accompanies mental illness.

Transitions explains the processes which enable patients and clients to rejoin their communities. Evaluation of their readiness is a team effort, and so is the creation of a plan for continued support, housing, and medical care as they move toward independence. Programs such as those at Transitional Services of New York provide the scaffolding for their new lives. Erin, a previous patient, re-visits Creedmoor and reflects on her past, her present occupation as Peer Bridger to other patients, and the future after her recent marriage.

Mental illness can strike anyone at any age. This program concerns itself with typical onsets and the related issues for various population groups. Young children may need help dealing with loss and grief. Pre-teens and teens today are at an increased risk of self-destructive behaviors. The extraordinary physical changes that occur as a woman brings a child into the world can also have an effect on mental well-being. Military personnel and others may suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The aging face possible dementia and depression but an older treatment, now improved, offers help.

QPTV Presents