SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)
1 in 5: Overcoming the Stigma of Mental Illness
1 in 5: Overcoming the Stigma of Mental Illness is an educational anti-stigma documentary produced in 2006 by the Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority in Michigan. The documentary, featuring mental health consumers, provides an opportunity for the general public to learn about the lives of these individuals and to learn about the misconceptions, myths, and stigma associated with mental illnesses.
Past consumer contact activities completed by the Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority have been successful in addressing the stigma that is associated with mental illnesses. With the receipt of mental health block grant monies through the Michigan Department of Community Health, the County Authority took the opportunity to educate a larger audience by developing and producing an anti-stigma educational documentary that could be accessed easily by community members.
The projects intent was to put real faces and real life stories in front of viewers to help them better understand the challenges and discrimination experienced by individuals with mental illnesses, and the obstacles that stigma presents to the path of recovery, community inclusion, and the ability to seek appropriate help.
The project included the production of the 30-minute documentary and copies of the DVD for distribution to State and national advocacy organizations. Additional Beta copies of the DVD were created for use by local PBS television stations.
The production of the documentary spanned 12 months. Marketing of the production to PBS stations in Michigan continues through 2007. Advice about script content, and tone of the final production, came about through extensive conversations with consumer leaders involved in various local leadership and advocacy initiatives, including the Michigan Recovery Council and the Public Relations Workgroup of the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards.
The project also included the creation of an accompanying workbook and resource guide, 1 in 5: Overcoming the Stigma of Mental Illness, to assist users in leading discussions, providing more information about mental illnesses, and finding additional resources and information.
The documentary premiered in September 2006, followed by a panel discussion with local Saginaw county consumers who appeared in the production.
Since the production and premier of the documentary, Beta copies have been distributed to PBS stations across Michigan.
DVD copies of the documentary also were provided to 45 public mental health organizations in Michigan and to a wide variety of stakeholder and advocacy agencies at both a State and national level in fall 2006.
Additional demand for copies of the documentary necessitated the production of another 200 DVD copies. Of those additional copies, 100 were included in the orientation packets for each member of the Michigan legislature.
The documentary also is available in local library branches and plays several times each month on the local government access channel, Saginaw Government Television. It also is being offered to other access channels throughout the State.
Those involved with the documentary development and marketing continue to celebrate the success of the production and related projects. All aspects of the project have received promotional support and coverage by both print and electronic media locally and throughout the region. The Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority continues to receive requests for DVD copies and e-mail congratulations from national mental health and consumer advocates.
For more information on the documentary and workbook, or to request a copy of the documentary, please contact Mark Leffler at 1-800-258-8678 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to the Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority, 500 Hancock, Saginaw, MI 48602-4224.
You also may access the Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority's Web site to view the documentary at www.sccmha.org/Anti-Stigma.