PIECE OF MIND explores internal and external barriers to care for persons living with serious mental illness, the consequences and solutions, told through the stories of a man with bipolar disorder, a mother whose son has schizophrenia, and siblings of a sister with schizoaffective disorder shot by police and survived.
PIECE OF MIND follows three stories of San Francisco Bay Area families and individuals with serious mental illness, SMI, seeking treatment and normalcy. Linda’s son, Jesse, 38, with schizophrenia, is about to be evicted from his unlivable apartment. Frances and Patricia’s sister, Teresa, 56, diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, did not want to be taken to the hospital. When she picked up a small knife, police shot her seven times. She survived. Jeff lives with bipolar disorder and attempts suicide after losing his job at age 53. The compelling narrative interweaves delusions and real world circumstances, and reveals solutions to this public health crisis.
We learn about the first signs of SMI. Jesse and Teresa have anosognosia, a brain disorder that affects 50% of persons with SMI impairing their ability to understand and perceive their mental illness.
Dr. Paul Linde, ER psychiatrist at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, reveals the unwritten priority to save the shrinking number of psychiatric beds for people who are suicidal or violent, leaving the “gravely disabled” to fend for themselves.
Jeff’s plans another suicide attempt. Friends convinced him to go with the police. He gets on medication for the first time.
Teresa sues for compensation under the Americans With Disabilities Act. Her case boomerangs from District Court, to U.S. Supreme Court, back to District Court.
Glimmers of hope emerge. Jesse is hospitalized for court mandated treatment. Jeff becomes the leader of his bipolar support group and tells his story to police officers in Crisis Intervention Trainings
Sheila Ganz is writer, director, producer, editor of the documentary-in-progress PIECE OF MIND. Ganz sister lives with schizophrenia and this along with many stories she heard in support groups inspired Ganz to make the film.
Ganz first documentary UNLOCKING THE HEART OF ADOPTON explores the lifelong process of adoption for adoptees, birthparents and adoptive parents in same race and transracial adoptions with illuminating historical background. The film aired on public television and The Documentary Channel. Recipient of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s Angel in Adoption Award.
Ganz second documentary is the Emmy-nominated ON LIFE’S TERMS: MOTHERS IN RECOVERY. Recipient of City and County of San Francisco Board of Supervisors Certificate of Honor, and California Legislature Assembly Certificate of Recognition for “Outstanding contribution for raising awareness about rehabilitation efforts for women battling substance abuse.”
Ganz was an instructor at Film Arts Foundation and guest-lectured on filmmaking at City College of San Francisco and Academy of Art University. She wrote two stage plays, PRETEND IT DIDN’T HAPPEN, an autobiographical work about relinquishing her daughter for adoption; and, LEAVING JOE, about domestic violence.
Ganz began her artistic career as a painter and sculptor. Her artwork is incorporated into PIECE OF MIND and UNLOCKING THE HEART OF ADOPTION. Ganz documentaries challenge stigma and stereotypes by revealing underlying truths for vulnerable populations. She lives by the ocean in San Francisco.
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