Educator, clinical psychologist, and documentary filmmaker, Dr. Jan Haaken is partnering with the office of Innovation & Intellectual Property at Portland State University for the DVD release of an extended edition of the documentary film Guilty Except for Insanity. The documentary will be available for institutional and educational use beginning February 25, 2012.
Shot at Oregon State Hospital, site of the filming of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Guilty Except for Insanity follows the journeys of five patients as they enter the hospital and then attempt to reenter their communities. At the heart of the film are questions about the basis of public fears concerning patients who enter state psychiatric facilities.
In a society with an increasingly distressed social safety net, Guilty Except for Insanity takes an unflinching look at the prosecutions, treatments, and community care for people suffering mental health crisis. It is a perspective that, with the help of Portland State University, Dr. Haaken hopes to promote through the release of her documentary. “The problem of reducing the size of institutions is that we haven’t done the corresponding work of building community centers and community support for people in crisis…” Dr. Haaken recently remarked on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Think Out Loud.
Educating the public about these issues may help reduce public anxieties about those judged “criminally insane” by explaining how the mental health and criminal justice systems converge—and often collide—to manage people in crisis. Portland State University’s office of Innovation & Intellectual Property has provided support for distribution of the documentary to hospitals, training centers, colleges, universities, and libraries. Dr. Haaken hopes the film will be useful for educators in a range of disciplines, from psychology and psychiatry, to nursing and criminal justice.
“That’s what the hospitals for,” remarks one of the residents in the film, “we have temporary conditions that are capable of healing” —it is a haunting conviction seared into the very tissue of Dr. Haaken’s film. Guilty Except for Insanity shows how those who enter this system have a great deal to teach others.