Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mr. Jones (1993)

Realistic portrayal of a person coping with mental illness

Far too often, the various facets of the media misrepresent mental illness, thereby reinforcing stereotypes and strengthening stigma. As a mental health professional, this is infuriating to me! I've been a Social Worker for several years and the individuals with whom I work teach me at least as much, if not more, than I ever do them. We all deal with issues and problems in our lives, but they have the usual problems compounded by a mental illness! They are truly amazing people and this film depicts an example of one such endearing person. I will be the first to admit that the symptoms exemplified in the movie are to an extreme. For instance, in my experience, many persons with Bipolar Disorder having a Manic Episode will be up for two or three days straight working and cleaning their house over and over again. Yet, despite the fact that the movie depicts several outrageously obvious episodes of mania, likely for dramatic effect, the things that happen are very real possibilities. This film covers a number of issues, albeit briefly, with which a person coping with mental illness has to contend. To draw them to your attention they are things such as: overcrowding in/lack of access to appropriate care, misdiagnosis, medication side effects, continuity of care, minimal work opportunities, lack of access to housing, and cultural differences in mental health care. An additional note I'd like to make is in reference to the inappropriate behavior of the psychiatrist. While such extreme unethical behavior does, in fact, occur it is a rare exception and not the rule! By Michelle L. Webb


Mr. Jones (Richard Gere) Movie Trailer

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