Listen to Us: Black Survivors in the Mental Health Care System

In few days the Black History Month will finish and Spectacle is contributing to this important event by republishing an old and powerful documentary about institutionalized racism in mental health care. The documentary “Listen to Us: Black Survivors of the Mental Health Care System“, collects experiences of mental illness and the impact of institutional treatment on black people’s lives.

The trailer:

Unfortunately the experience of unlawful detention in mental health care institutions and the effects of the stereotype of being “black and dangerous” is still relevant today. We hope this document from the ’90, will raise awareness and contribute to make mental health care better.

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Listen to Us: Black Survivors of the Mental Health Care System

This powerful and emotionally distressing documentary tells the story of black former mental health patients caught up in a psychiatric system reputed to be institutionally racist. These black patients became increasingly vulnerable to unlawful treatment and discrimination once The Mental Health Act (1983) permitted patients to be detained against their will.

 

These brave survivors speak out about their personal experiences and describe what it means to be black and mentally ill. You get the feeling that these people were misunderstood, misdiagnosed and racially stereotyped as “black and dangerous”. Furthermore, the disturbingly low lack of patient support for black patients also denied them the comfort and security of which they were entitled.

Their stories examine the harsher side of a typical mental health institution, in relation to the measures of control used upon patients. This includes factors concerning higher doses of medication, seclusion, control, and constraint.

In this documentary, former patients speak out about their life before, during, and after their incarceration. You follow them through their journeys of confusion and turmoil. Firstly, their struggles to understand their illnesses, and how they cope with the side effects of medication. Then secondly, their attempt to rebuild their lives and overcome their dreadful experiences that they suffered.

Listen to Us, filmed in the late 90s is an insightful and important viewing, and its a topic still widely relevant today. Little has changed within the last decade which indicates that the problem hasn’t gone away. However in spite of this, treatment received by various black ethnicities is continually less widely reported.

Statistically black people are more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health problem, and are three to five times more likely to be diagnosed or admitted to hospital for schizophrenia than any other group. Also when it comes the populations of prisons and secure units, black people are again over-represented.

There is still a way to go before this group can get the support and understanding they need to secure successful treatment. This documentary highlights these points and demonstrates that their voices still need to be heard, as the title Listen to Us indicates.

Buy Listen to Us on DVD click here

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Olympic regeneration exposed in the Journal for Northeast Issues

Journal for North EastFrom this week the new issue of the Journal For Northeast Issues edited by Projekgruppe, will be on sale. The specialised periodical features a reprint of an article by Mark Saunders  Fish and Freedom Fries on London’s Olympic regeneration myths and realities.

In July 2006, London rejoiced at winning the bid to 2012 Olympic Games. But who is really celebrating? Mostly urban planners, who have carte blanche to carry through a programme of urban reconstruction otherwise beyond their wildest hopes.

In London, Olympic visions tie in nicely with existing policies of regeneration. Made digestible using labels such as “mixed tenure” and “social diversity”, regeneration is effectively a policy of interference with existing social structures.

Documentary filmmaker Mark Saunders describes, how in East London, the structures being replaced are precisely those that do not coincide with the private interests behind the Olympic bid.

The Journal For Northeast has been published by Hamburg based Revolver Publishing since November 2007, under the label “For now, let’s make our paper as a living magazine!”

A release event will take place on 9 December in Hamburg. In early 2011, related journal events will take place in Budapest, Vienna and Copenhagen.

Click London Olympics for more blogs
See our Olympics project pages for more information and videos.
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.

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