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  • Still from When Medicine Got It Wrong

    Still from When Medicine Got It Wrong

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The Film

In 1974 a small group of parents became the first in the nation to publicly refuse to accept blame for causing their children to have schizophrenia. They formed Parents of Adult Schizophrenics and their activism led to parents around the nation demanding changes in how the disease is understood and treated.

When Medicine Got it Wrong shows how these families launched one of the fastest growing grassroots movements the nation had ever seen, ushering in an era of dramatic advances in understanding, treatment, and brain research.

Parents of Adult Schizophrenics waged its battles in an era when mental hospitals were shutting down and the most severely ill patients were turned over for “community care.” Yet that community care — a social safety net for the mentally ill — rarely materialized, and what had been available was all but eliminated in the 1980s by the Reagan Administration.

Medicine now knows that recovery from schizophrenia is possible, and happens for the vast majority who receive treatment. Most communities, however, still wrestle with mental healthcare policies based on debunked theories from the 1960s and 1970s — pushing many with severe mental illness directly into homelessness or incarceration.

The Filmmakers

  1. Katherine CadiganProducer/Director
  2. Laura MurrayProducer/Director

Collaborators for more than a decade, Katie Cadigan and Laura Murray began making films together while teaching at Stanford University. The duo are currently finishing Predator House, a verité documentary on sex offenders first showcased at the Independent Feature Project’s work-in-progress market.