CRAZYWISE: Rethinking Madness – A Documentary Film

There’s a great film coming to our screens next year. CRAZYWISE, directed by Phil Borges and Kevin Tomlinson, is a feature documentary exploring alternative treatments for mental illness.

You can learn more about the film and support its production – PLEASE do – by going to the film’s Kickstarter page. I’m really excited by the film. Here’s what is written by Phil and Kevin:

‘About the Film:
CRAZYWISE centers around Adam, 29, a former wakeboard champion who struggles with his sanity following a psychotic break. Desperate and feeling shame from being labeled with a potential lifelong disease, Adam embraces meditation.

Later, after revealing his mental diagnosis, Adam is turned away from future meditation retreats. He becomes homeless, alienated from his family and is living alone out of a friend’s car.

A 20-year fascination with shamanism leads photographer and filmmaker Phil Borges to question how Western culture defines and treats severe mental disorders. While documenting Adam’s story, Phil becomes increasingly aware of the severity of the mental health crisis in America.

He discovers an emerging, survivor-led movement supported by a passionate group of renowned mental health professionals, activists and scholars who are advocating for alternatives to the biomedical based standards by which most mental illness is currently defined and treated.

Why Crazywise? Why Now?
Most of us know someone affected by mental illness, whether through a family member, friend or our own personal experience. According to The National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 5 Americans will suffer from a mental health crisis in their lifetime. Most will occur before the age of 24.

It’s no secret that the vast majority of these friends, neighbors and relatives will never find effective, lasting treatment. It’s a sobering fact that more than half of U.S. prisoners and a quarter of America’s homeless suffer from mental health issues.

To counter this trend, survivor-led activists and advocates are emerging to challenge the current system. These movements include successful treatment approaches like Open Dialogue in Northern Finland.

In addition to Open Dialogue, the film explores new organizations and programs including: Peer-to Peer counseling, the National Empowerment Center, Stand Up for Mental Health, the Hearing Voices Network, Patients Like Me and Mad Pride. These programs emphasize hope for recovery, acceptance, mentorship and relationships.

It struck Phil that this was the same model of mentor-based relationships he’d witnessed and photographed in Africa, Asia and South America among indigenous cultures. He found some of these insights buried deep in the timeless shamanic traditions of remote indigenous cultures around the world.

Few people are aware that alternative treatments exist due to a lack of mainstream media coverage. This film will present successful options that show how the mentally ill can recover without lifelong medication and stigmatization…’

Please go on reading about the film and give it your financial support if you can.