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photo Different From You
Unfulfilled Promises to the Mentally Ill
By Milt L. Kogan, MD, MPH, and Demetrio Cuzzocrea

In the 1970's there were 35,000 people in California mental institutions. Today almost all have been 'deinstitutionalized,' or discharged into the community, but the promise of services to help them re-integrate into society has turned out to be an empty one. As elsewhere in the United States, people with psychiatric disorders now make up a majority of the state's homeless.

As a family physician at the City of Angels Hospital in Los Angeles, Milt Kogan is responsible for the medical management of mentally ill patients who are living on the streets or in the city's inadequate 'board and care' facilities. This unflinchingly honest documentary follows his medical rounds as he tends to the needs of clients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other major mental illnesses. Through his compassionate interactions, and through the testimony of the mentally ill homeless themselves, the film vividly illustrates how patients cope with their psychiatric symptoms, as well as with drug abuse and societal hostility — yet still struggle to maintain their self-respect and their hopes and aspirations. Kogan also visits some successful self-help programs as well as a few better financed and staffed board and care facilities. Interviews with concerned mental health professionals offer additional perspective. Different From You will foster understanding of the mentally ill, livingboth on and off the streets, and will stimulate discussion among professionals and students of psychology, sociology, mental health, medicine, and public policy. Dr. Kogan may be available to speak about his work with the mentally ill homeless. He may be reached by email.

60 minutes
© 2002
Purchase $248 DVD
Order No. QA-423
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-803-0

"Editor's Choice. This outstanding and brutally honest documentary exposes the shameful neglect of America's mentally ill homeless population. The afflicted poignantly express the pain, challenge, and frustration of coping with their illnesses, societal prejudices and hostility. Professionals provide perspective, and the program looks at successful self-help programs and well-funded facilities that help patients regain their self-respect and live as independently as possible. Highly Recommended." Video Librarian

"An exceptional film: interesting, authentic, at time heart-rending. I've never seen a more gripping portrayal of Schizophrenia, and I have watched dozens of such films over the years." Gerald C. Davison, PhD, University of Southern California

"Eloquently presents the suffering experienced by the mentally ill in America. All students of medicine, sociology, psychology, and political science, as well as policy makers, should consider how the lessons of this film might effect public policy and attitudes toward the mentally ill." Benjamin Siegel, MD, UCLA Schizophrenia Teaching Clinic

"Gives a voice and a face to the often silent and private struggles of people with mental illness. Hearing their personal stories is an invaluable educational tool for all who wish to learn about or work with people coping with mental illness." Marian Williams, PhD, Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center

"This is what it is really like in the trenches of the fight against mental illness. It presents a clearer picture of what mental illness is than 'A Beautiful Mind'." Mark Powers, MD, Glendale Adventist Hospital

"An eye-opening program. Recommended for community centers, mental health facilities, professionals and layman. It will raise awareness about the plight of our nation's mentally ill patients." Educational Media Reviews Online

Awards & Conference Screenings
San Luis Obispo International Film Festival
Long Beach International Film Festival
Western Psychological Association
National Social Science Association Conference

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Depression: Fighting the Dragon: This compelling documentary explores the growing prevalence of depression, and the research breakthroughs that could finally unlock its secrets.

Introducing TJ: Therapeutic Jurisprudence offers a new approach to meeting the needs of mentally ill people in the judicial system, by focusing on therapy and rehabilitation rather than jail.

Working Like Crazy: Once labeled "unemployable," these psychiatric survivors work and run businesses where they can make a living, rebuild their lives, connect with others, and contribute to society.

The Other Side of Blue: Eight to ten percent of teens may suffer from clinical depression, and many of these young people may attempt suicide. This provocative video focuses on its nature, causes, symptoms, and consequences, and on how the social stigma associated with depression blocks some teens from seeking help.


Awards & Screenings

Related Films

Web Resources

To rent or purchase this film, please visit the Icarus Films website