By Kenneth Paul Rosenberg, M.D.
To get to the bottom of the current mental health crisis in the U.S., psychiatrist and documentarian Kenneth Paul Rosenberg, M.D. chronicles the personal, poignant stories of those suffering from serious mental illness, including his own family, to bring to light to this epidemic and possible solutions. Shot over the course of five years, BEDLAM takes viewers inside Los Angeles County’s overwhelmed and vastly under-resourced psych ER, a nearby jail warehousing thousands of psychiatric patients, and the homes — and homeless encampments — of people affected by severe mental illness, where silence and shame often worsen the suffering.
Rosenberg follows the lives of three patients in particular who find themselves with a chronic lack of institutional support while weaving in his own story of how the system failed his late sister, Merle, and her battle with schizophrenia. Featuring interviews with experts, activists, individuals living with a mental illness, and their families, Bedlam builds on historical footage and commentary related to mental health, exploring the rise of this issue on a national scale in the mid- and late 20th century.