Two Movies Battling Mental Health Stereotypes Launch Online

The name of a new movie launched online in an effort to counteract popular stereotypes about mental health services and those who receive them, “Schizo,” may not seem like the brightest way of removing such terms from the collective consciousness. But the film, along with a sister flick with the seemingly innocent name of “Kid’s Party,” is aimed at educating the public about the difficulties faced by those diagnosed with a mental health condition like schizophrenia, and the decidedly upfront and strong way in which the knowledge is presented is likely to make a significant impact. The short movies, produced by mental health advocacy group Time to Change, have been released for use with other current media pieces as trailers and short clips, hoping to take advantage of the modern trend in viral videos to reach a wide Internet audience.

In the clip “Schizo,” an atmosphere with distinct borrowings from classic horror films culminates in the opening of a creaky door, on the other side of which stands Stuart, a character far removed from the realm of frightening figures, who explains that while he has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, he is not violent or out to get anybody. Rather, he relates, he appreciates the support of his friends and family, who help him to experience a greater quality of life on a day to day basis. In “Kid’s Party,” Stuart appears again, this time entertaining shrieking children with a large spider made of balloons ant a party. The clip is headlined with the text “Schizophrenic Man Terrorizes Kid’s Party,” a notion that is likely to create a certain stereotype in viewers’ minds, able to be surprised and investigated upon seeing the “normal” nature of Stuart and his activity.

The films may go a long way towards helping to dispel false beliefs and misapprehensions about psychotherapy and those who seek treatment. As a startling percentage of people hold beliefs that those with schizophrenia are violent and that people with mental illness are crazy and/or weak, such efforts in fostering honest and realistic ideas and opinions are especially important.

© Copyright 2009 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • themuse


    September 5th, 2009 at 10:16 AM

    My ex father in law was schizophrenic and I never knew that until after he died. Although I wasn’t around him often, all I ever saw was a reserved man who was a little eccentric. I had the creaky door outlook on schizophrenics and wouldn’t have ever thought he was. It was ignorant and baseless on my part I admit and I’m wiser now having met him. He was about as dangerous as a fly.

  • Fletcher


    September 5th, 2009 at 10:40 AM

    What a clever and creative approach highlighting the fear factor head on. It’s ironic that the very medium that has played a large role in reinforcing a distorted view of schizophrenia is turning that on its head. A round of applause for the makers of Schizo and their supporters!

  • Gabriel


    September 5th, 2009 at 1:14 PM

    Kid’s Party is right on target about how the Press love to sensationalize headlines if a story’s related in any way to mental health issues. You will never read a headline like “Man with ulcer terrorizes party.” Why include that?

  • soldy


    September 5th, 2009 at 1:26 PM

    There’s such a thing as a right to privacy too. How do reporters find sensitive and personal information out with such ease for their twisted headlines?

  • Georgia


    September 7th, 2009 at 1:05 PM

    worth taking a look at though. maybe we can all gain some insight.

  • James


    September 7th, 2009 at 5:11 PM

    Online videos are all the rage and hopefully, these videos are successful in spreading their message. I do agree that many people have stereotypes associated about people with not-so-perfect mental health, and these kind of initiatives are more than welcome.

  • Bethany


    September 8th, 2009 at 12:21 PM

    I saw Schizo and it was amazing. I highly encourage anyone with a family history of this to find it online and view it.

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