Friday, May 3, 2013

Careerists in 9th Annual NYC Mental Health Film Festival

WITH a detached eloquence, Stephen Fry recounts a suicide attempt after several performances of a play in London’s West End.

The British actor-comedian discloses this incident in the documentary, Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive. The 2006 Emmy-winning film and three others that address aspects of mental disorders are part of the 9th Annual NYC Mental Health Film Festival. The one-day Brooklyn festival is Sunday (5 May).

SF, perhaps best known in the United States for his role as valet Jeeves in PBS’ “Masterpiece Theater” comedy (and British import with Hugh Laurie of “House” fame), “Jeeves and Wooster,” suffers from manic depression. The disorder is commonly known as bi-polar disorder. SF, 55, was not diagnosed until he was in his late 30s. (See "Jeeves and Wooster" video below).

Amanda Wang at work. Photo provided by Mental Health Film Festival.

Manic depression affects millions of people around the world. Most people know someone or has lived with or near someone who has manic depression. That is in part because there is less of a stigma associated with it and other mental disorders, the recent insertion of mental health in the gun control debate, notwithstanding.

In “Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive,” viewers learn that Carrie Fisher and Richard Dreyfuss are living with it. It is believed that manic depression contributed to the premature demise of singer Amy Winehouse. (See Stephen Fry video at top).

The theme of the 9th Annual NYC Mental Health Film Festival is “Mental Health Recipients Who Have Excelled in Their Careers and Lives.” That includes amateur boxer Amanda Wang in “Rethink BPD.” She is thriving despite her Borderline Personality Disorder.

In “Three Voices,” a trio of young adults with mental health issues tells it like it is about their struggles. Despite their difficulties they have hope. Various stories of recovery are told in “Heart and Soul,” featuring Ted Williams. (See video).

Also a part of the festival, co-sponsored by Community Access and the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS), is an audience discussion and filmmaker Q&A.

Visit to learn more about the 9th Annual NYC Mental Health Film Festival. Rx

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