Sunday, June 13, 2010

Released

This 2009 Frontline program, a sequel to The New Asylums, follows several mentally ill inmates in an Ohio prison as they are released on medication, without obvious symptoms and guardedly optimistic. Due to a lack of mental health services they soon stop taking their medications, reoffend and are confined again.  As a critique of our failure to provide adequate care for the mentally ill in the era of deinstitutionalization it is gives the impression that Ohio offers absolutely no services. This seemed like polemical overkill. [Talking with a former Ohio caseworker I learned that at least some areas of Ohio provide reasonably adequate care.] What made this program worth watching, however, was not the polemic, but the contrast in the clinical state of when they are released and after they stop taking their medications. Even after all the years I have spent working with people suffering from schizophrenia seeing this portrayal of several men losing their minds was very powerful and disturbing. I hope that medical students will get a chance to see this program as a part of their training.

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