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NAMI Dane County to host drive-in screening of “Bedlam,” documentary on America’s mental health crisis


NAMI Dane County will host a drive-in outdoor film screening featuring the documentary “Bedlam” at the Mallards Duck Pond at Warner Park at 7 pm, Wednesday, August 19, to provide “awareness about the institutionalization of mental illness and America’s mental health crisis, as well as give insight into the conditions of psychiatric services such as emergency rooms and homeless encampments,” according to a press release. 

“Viewers will explore the historical, political and economic components that have contributed to the mental health crisis faced in the twenty-first century,” the press release reads.

NAMI Dane County has adapted to the current pandemic, which prevented the organization from hosting in-person events, support groups, and educational classes. Now, all of the organization’s programming is available online and they have found ways to host events despite barriers. Seeing the need for a sense of community and a way to educate the public on the current mental health crisis, the organization decided to host a film screening outdoors for free to the public, with a limited capacity. 

“Mental illness and the experiences of people enduring its challenges are often overlooked and stigmatized, so it’s critical to understand factors that impact mental health and develop solutions to support individuals and families within our community,” NAMI Dane County executive director Anna Moffit said in a statement. “The drive-in screening of Bedlam is a way to inform, educate and connect with our community to create meaningful and effective solutions and conversations around mental health while maintaining the health and safety of our community during the current pandemic.”

The event is in partnership with Downtown Madison, Inc., Tellurian, Journey Mental Health Center, Rogers Behavioral Health and RISE Wisconsin. Charles Tubbs, Director of the Dane County Emergency Management Department, and Cynthia Tubbs will give opening remarks before the film screening. Social distancing will be enforced, as attendees will be required to stay in their cars. There will be emotional support available for attendees as needed throughout the event by mental health providers from Journey Mental Health Center and Tellurian.

“Bedlam is a powerful, and often personal, story of America’s struggling mental health and criminal justice systems.  Downtown Madison, like many center cities across our country, face many of the same challenges seen in the movie,” Downtown Madison, Inc President Jason Ilstrup said in a statement. “Our hope is that this showing of Bedlam will help everyone realize the terrible realities of our current system, start a new dialogue and find ways to improve both systems so everyone receives that help they so badly need.”

Through featuring this film, NAMI Dane County hopes to advocate for equitable, meaningful and effective care and services. “Bedlam” serves as a platform to advocate for the decriminalization of mental illness and creation of improved and advanced mental health treatment and aftercare, according to the press release.