Unsane: how film’s portrayal of mental illness is (slowly) improving

Steven Soderbergh: Unretired. The director announced in 2013 that he was quitting because “movies don’t matter any more”. But he has continued to work steadily since – in television and, since last year, film again. The film he made before announcing his “retirement” was Side Effects, a psychological thriller exploring big pharma, that followed a young woman (Rooney Mara) detained in a psychiatric hospital against her will. His new film, Unsane, is a psychological thriller that follows a young woman (Claire Foy) detained in a psychiatric hospital against her will. It is clear, then, that Soderbergh finds mental illness and psychiatry interesting topics to explore.

He’s not alone. But how has the onscreen treatment of mental illness evolved over the years?

One of the screen characters we most associate with mental illness is Jack Nicholson’s Mac McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest who, lest we forget, was not insane, just hoping to avoid a prison sentence. Miloš Forman’s film, based on the Ken Kesey novel, was praised at the time for a sympathetic treatment of the inpatients, its “battle against the system” narrative and the more-or-less accurate portrayals of the often inhumane treatments routine at the time (lobotomies and electroconvulsive therapy without muscle relaxants).  more

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Are Mass Murderers Insane? Usually Not, Researchers Say

It is true that severe mental illnesses are found more often among mass murderers. About one in five are likely psychotic or delusional, according to Dr. Michael Stone, a forensic psychiatrist at Columbia University who maintains a database of 350 mass killers going back more than a century. The figure for the general public is closer to 1 percent.

But the rest of these murderers do not have any severe, diagnosable disorder. Though he was abusive to his wife, Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people in an Orlando nightclub, had no apparent serious mental illness. Neither did Stephen Paddock, who mowed down 58 concertgoers from a hotel window in Las Vegas.

Ditto for Dylann Roof, the racist who murdered nine African-American churchgoers in South Carolina in 2015, and Christopher Harper-Mercer, the angry young man who killed nine people at a community college in Oregon the same year.  more

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14 Insane Stories From People Who Almost Got Murdered And Made It Out Alive

I survived a stabbing

I was stabbed while bouncing at a bar. I’m not sure if that counts. I doubt the guy was really trying to kill me, though he very easily could have. It required emergency surgery to close up an artery and the knife stopped just shy of puncturing my lung. My friend, also bouncing, was stabbed over his heart, but his sternum stopped the blade. That’s probably what caused the stabber to slice his own fingers open, which lead to finding him and the conviction.

He was charged with attempted murder, along with a bunch of other things. He was convicted of at least some of those charges and did 6 years.

All in all, not bad. 10/10, would get stabbed again.  more

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15 Insane Stories From The Bible Everyone Forgets About

The Bible is a very, very strange document – technically, it’s just a WHOLE BUNCH of texts, books, and tomes from many different authors and points in history, which have been altered and edited and translated over and over and over…and still all viewed as a single work. When you have something like that, there’s gonna be a lot of weird stuff in there that people mostly gloss over in favor of the bigger messages and themes (especially when several major religions use it as the Word of God). But did you know HOW weird it gets? As the denizens of r/AskReddit found out – PRETTY WEIRD.

Remember Joseph and his coat of many colors? His siblings did a lot.

A man once slept with/raped one of their sisters. The man then asked Joseph’s family to marry the girl. The brothers agreed, but said that the man and his entire village/tribe would need to get circumcised first.

So all the men in the village get circumcised, which means they’re bedridden for the next couple days. Once that happened, a couple of Joseph’s brothers walked into the village and killed every single man while they were in their beds. more

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What ‘Am I Crazy?’ Really Means

Have you found yourself typing “Am I crazy?” into Google or asking Siri? You probably got back a patchwork of results, from online “sanity tests” to mental health forums.

Fortunately, most people who do such searches aren’t actually going “crazy,” as in developing delusions, paranoia, or hallucinations, says Gerald Goodman, PhD, an emeritus professor of psychology at UCLA.

“Believing that you are going crazy is a good clue that you are sane,” he says.

When someone is developing a serious mental illness with psychosis, such as schizophrenia, they usually don’t know it. “Part of ‘crazy’ is getting away from reality,” Goodman says.  more

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Hospital Addressing Physician Suicide Crisis By Asking Doctors To Wear “Crazy” Socks

Since January, three female medical professionals — two physicians and a medical student — have tragically died by suicide in New York City. Their deaths have been bringing attention to a hidden mental health crisis impacting physicians all across the U.S. — one in which some hospitals are addressing by asking their doctors to wear “crazy” socks.

On May 30, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital — where a young physician leapt to her death in January — sent an email to staff about Crazy Socks 4 Docs, an initiative started by an Australian physician, aimed at bringing awareness to the mental health of doctors worldwide.  more
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Inside a Hospital for the Criminally Insane

Stephen Seager knows he could lose his job, but he doesn’t care. He didn’t ask his employer’s permission to write Behind the Gates of Gomorrahan account of the rampant and unchecked violence that Seager says he’s both witnessed and experienced as a psychiatrist at California’s Napa State Hospital. The forensic facility, the second-largest in the country, houses “the school shooters, the James Holmeses, and Jeffrey Dahmers of the world,” as Seager puts it. Nor did he warn the hospital that the book is being published this week.

“I want their honest response,” he told me over the phone from his home in northwest California. “We’re getting the shit kicked out of us and no one cares. Not just the staff, the patients. And they can’t leave at the end of the day—they have to live there. If this stops one of them from getting beaten, it was all worth it.”

In his book, Seager describes his first year at one of Napa State Hospital’s high-risk units: a fenced-in “secure treatment area,” reminiscent on the outside of a “sprawling prisoner-of-war-camp in a World War II movie,” and on the inside of the fictional Baltimore State hospital depicted in The Silence of the Lambs.  more

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