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Evil or Illness

Treatment of mental illness over history has been trial and error.

Premiered Tuesday, June 22, at 9pm 

An examination of ancient conceptions of mental illness and the establishment of psychiatry with the rise of Sigmund Freud. For much of history, people living with schizophrenia, like aspiring astrophysicist turned mental health activist Cecilia McGough, would have been seen as either prophet or devil. Yet today, despite struggling with persistent hallucinations and delusions, Cecilia helps hundreds around the world find support and community through her organization “Students with Psychosis.” 

Other current-day profiles include Lorina Gutierrez, who was committed to a psychiatric hospital until her psychosis was revealed to be a result of an ovarian tumor, and Virginia Fuchs, an Olympics-bound boxer living with OCD.


Who’s Normal?

Science and societal factors shape ever-shifting definitions of mental health and illness.

Premiered Tuesday, June 22, at 10pm

Traces the dramatic fight in the second half of the 20th century to develop mental illness standards rooted in empirical science rather than dogma, including the evolution of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual). It is today’s so-called “Bible of Psychiatry,” despite what many acknowledge are its deep and fundamental flaws. 

Characters include Ryan Mains, a former firefighter and Iraq veteran struggling with PTSD,  Mia Yamamoto, born in a Japanese internment camp, who became California’s first openly transgender lawyer, throughout her life resisting being labeled as having a ‘mental illness’; and Michael Walrond, a Harlem based pastor and healer who lives with his own depressive disorder. In this episode, we’ll learn how science and societal factors are deeply entwined with our ever-shifting definitions and diagnoses of mental health and illness.


The Rise and Fall of the Asylum

The fascinating story behind the rise and fall of the mental asylum in the United States.

Premiered Wednesday, June 23, at 9pm

Mass confinement in mental asylums and extreme treatments – from lobotomy to coma therapy – were the standard for treating mental illness in the United States until a few decades ago. Today, one of the largest de-facto mental health facilities in the United States is Cook County Jail in Chicago, where more than one-third of inmates have a mental health diagnosis. 

As Sheriff Tom Dart attempts to tackle this crisis head-on through a range of mental health treatments and programs, we’ll meet the detainees whose lives hang in the balance and discover the harsh realities of care both in and out of jail.


New Frontiers

Today, with cutting-edge treatments for mental illness, the biggest battle is inclusion.

Premiered Wednesday, June 23, at 10pm

A look at today’s most cutting-edge treatments, based on the latest scientific understanding of the biological underpinnings of mental illness, with profiles of patients undergoing a variety of vanguard treatments. These include Deep Brain Stimulation surgery, modern electro-convulsive therapy, and MDMA-assisted therapy, also known as ecstasy or molly to treat PTSD. 

Alongside cutting-edge treatments, one of the most urgent fronts on the battle against mental illness is the fight for inclusion – a society more open to all kinds of minds and behavior, free from stigma, based on the understanding that mental health exists on a spectrum, and on respect for each individual’s right to choose what’s right for them.