At thirty-three, Patrick is schizophrenic. He is already in his sixth hospitalization. Magali, 22, suffers A Sobering Look at Mental Illness: A Documentary Review
A recent documentary follows three individuals suffering from severe mental illness and highlights the struggles they face on a daily basis. Patrick, 33, has schizophrenia and is hospitalized for the sixth time. Magali, 22, experiences distressing visual and auditory hallucinations that make normal social interaction nearly impossible. The film also looks at one of France’s few psychiatric emergency services, which sees 7,800 patients annually but struggles with lack of resources and short hospital stays.
These intimate portraits of Patrick, Magali, and others reveal the brutal reality of life with mental illness. Simple tasks most take for granted become monumental challenges, as we see with Magali painstakingly working to overcome her fear of leaving the house. The documentary underscores how mental healthcare systems are failing to adequately support those suffering. With places in psychiatric facilities increasingly limited and stays increasingly brief, many are left with little recourse to alleviate their anguish.
However sobering, this documentary highlights the human stories too often ignored behind the broader mental health crisis. By turns heartbreaking and inspiring, it is a call to action to improve care for society’s most vulnerable members. The stories of Patrick, Magali, and others are difficult to forget and demand attention. One comes away with a deeper appreciation for the daily courage of those battling mental illness as well as a conviction that we must do better to help them. I highly recommend watching this illuminating and moving film.