Words That Bite
Watch sample footage.
A portrait of two women struggling with mental illness.
Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Major Depression. Just words. But applied to people, they can brand with shame and build an impenetrable barrier. Too often, they are used to hurt those labeled and to rob them of their hopes and dreams.
Elizabeth and Kathleen have been officially classified as having a mental illness. In this video, they focus on their strengths and resist being defined by others.
Elizabeth Dahle worked as a psychotherapist before her illness became incapacitating. Kathleen Gorman worked as a psychiatric nurse before depression halted her career. However, they discovered that recovery from their diagnostic labels was often more difficult than recovery from the illness itself.
Stigma, they found, is the biggest impediment for people with mental illness to having a normal life.
Words That Bite offers a glimpse behind the wall that separates many people with mental illness from society. With humor and candor, Elizabeth and Kathleen reveal the enormous toll that diagnostic labels can exact.
The video provides insights into a variety of issues: relationships, acceptance, grief and loss, health issues, medication and its side-effects, poverty, work, despair and hope. "On the street" interviews both confirm and contrast with the experiences described by Kathleen and Elizabeth. The result is a compelling and distinctive portrayal of their experiences. (25 minutes)
A co-production between the Family Service Centre of Ottawa-Carleton and Canadian documentary filmmaker, Angele Gagnon.
"This is the best anti-stigma video I have ever seen. It really serves the purpose of putting a human face to mental illness. It also discusses taboo subjects such as sexuality and suicide and the need to be loved, accepted and understood."
Public Education Program Manager
Canadian Mental Health Association