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Stream or tune in Tuesday, June 22 & Wednesday, June 23, 2021 from 9 - 11 p.m. on KPBS TV


Credit: Courtesy of Pangloss Films

Above: Virginia "Ginny" Fuchs trains for the Olympics. Captain of the US Boxing team, Ginny has been living with severe OCD for most of her life.

The four-part series, MYSTERIES OF MENTAL ILLNESS, examines the story of mental illness in science and society.

Explore the evolution in understanding, and the dramatic attempts across generations to unravel the difficult questions surrounding mental illness people have grappled with throughout history: What causes it? And how is it best treated?


MYSTERIES OF MENTAL ILLNESS, airing on PBS in June 2021, explores the story of mental illness in science and society. The four-part series traces the evolution of this complex topic from its earliest days to present times. It explores dramatic attempts across generations to unravel the mysteries of mental illness and gives voice to contemporary Americans across a spectrum of experiences.

Virtual Screening Events June 17 and 28

Two virtual panels are coming for MYSTERIES OF MENTAL ILLNESS and the companion digital series, DECOLONIZING MENTAL HEALTH.

JUNE 17: Decolonizing Mental Health:

BIPOC mental health experts and advocates will come together in a virtual panel to screen and discuss clips from Decolonizing Mental Health. Stream from WORLD Channel's Facebook page or on YouTube.

JUNE 28: MYSTERIES OF MENTAL ILLNESS Discussion: Monday, June 28, 2021 at 4 p.m. Who is “normal?” Who gets to decide? How can our changing perception of normality help address stigma? Industry experts and personalities featured in PBS’s series will engage in a live virtual panel discussion exploring the topic of America’s stigma surrounding mental illness and field questions from social media viewers. The event will stream live on GBH's Facebook and YouTube Channel.


Episode 1: “Evil Or Illness?” premieres Tuesday, June 22 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV - Examine ancient conceptions of mental illness and the establishment of psychiatry. Hear the stories of modern-day people living with mental illness, including an aspiring astrophysicist with schizophrenia and an Olympics-bound boxer with OCD.

Episode 2: “Who's Normal?“ premieres Tuesday, June 22 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV - Trace the fight to develop mental illness standards rooted in empirical science rather than dogma. Learn how science and societal factors are deeply entwined with our ever-shifting definitions and diagnoses of mental health and illness.

What's Your Normal?

This video is a call to action to invite discussion, through social media platforms, on the topic of mental health. We hear from five people appearing in the series MYSTERIES OF MENTAL ILLNESS, who each give a brief description of the struggles they face. In an effort to de-stigmatize mental illness, we ask the question 'What is Your Normal?', understanding that it is different for everyone.

Episode 3: “Rise And Fall Of The Asylum” premieres Wednesday, June 23 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV - Follow the rise and fall of mental asylums in the United States. Visit the nation's largest de-facto mental health facility, meet the detainees whose lives hang in the balance, and discover the harsh realities of care both inside and outside.

Episode 4: “The New Frontiers” premieres Wednesday, June 23 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV - Look at today's most cutting-edge treatments, based on the latest understanding of mental illness, with profiles of patients undergoing deep brain stimulation surgery, infusions of ketamine and modern electro-convulsive therapy.

Decolonizing Mental Health | Overview

Like other healthcare industrial complexes, the mental health field operates around a centre defined by a whiteness of theory and practice. It’s a colonization that has rarely ever been questioned and the need to dismantle it has never been more urgent. Mental health practitioners serving racialized groups come together to shed light on the racism that undercuts their progressive practices.

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