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Voices In The Family

October 2010

The Camera on Mental Illness

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Two new documentary films by independent producers tell extremely compelling personal accounts of mental illness. On the next Voices in the Family meet the creators of OC87 which will be shown this month during the Philadelphia Film Festival. It's the autobiographical story of Bud Clayman who suffers from a number of social illnesses, including Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Asperger's Syndrome. Bud has a background in radio, television and film and helped produce and direct the movie along with Glenn Holsten and Scott Johnston. And we'll hear from director/producer Delaney Ruston. Her documentary Unlisted: A Story of Schizophrenia depicts her own struggle, as both a doctor and daughter, to bring her schizophrenic father back into her life. The film airs on WHYY-TV on October 7.

Life in the Face of Death

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The Big C is a new comedy-drama on Showtime that uses the story of a woman's battle with cancer to point out that in the face of death, we may find a greater appreciation of life, enjoying it to its fullest. Certainly, there's no time like the present when diagnosed with a terminal illness. And sorting out life with a limited future has its challenges. But isn't that the reality for all of us? Perhaps our values come into clear focus when our lives become more fragile. Join Dan Gottlieb on the next Voices in the Family for a discussion about living life in the face of death, with Jenny Bicks, Dr. Irv Yalom, and Dr. Mark Cato. Bicks is the executive producer of The Big C whose own experience with breast cancer has helped inform her work. Yalom is a psychiatrist and professor at Stanford University who wrote about coping with death anxiety in Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death, and Cato blogs about his life with Lou Gehrig's Disease. The blog is called Dying to Live.

Parenting Teens

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Many parents hold the fantasy that if they're wholesome, ethical, and virtuous, they won't have defiant, risk-taking teens. Not so, says psychologist Dr. Laura Kastner. On the next Voices in the Family, Dan Gottlieb talks to Kastner about the science behind teen behavior and why parents must stay calm in order to cope. Kastner is the co-author of Getting to Calm: Cool-headed Strategies for Parenting Tweens and Teens.

The Bully Remedy

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Research shows that compared with their peers, kids who are bullied are five times more likely to be depressed...on average, bullied boys and girls are six times more likely to be suicidal. That said, half or more of all bullying can be prevented. A recent spate of teen suicides has led to public outcry for action. Celebrity pleas, public vigils, and hotlines open lines of communication, but more needs to be done. Dan Gottlieb and his guests look at what it takes to foster tolerance in schools and communities at large.

Guests are Susan Wheeler, Maureen Costello, and Michael Fowlin:

Susan Wheeler's son Jim's suicide spotlights the dangers of bullying. His story was depicted in the documentary Jim in Bold (2003)

Maureen Costello is the Director of Tolerance at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama, where they've just released the film Bullied: A Student, a School and a Case that Made History for use in schools.

Michael Fowlin (a.k.a. MyKee) is an actor/psychologist whose one-man show is designed to created empathy for marginalized children.

Special Link: In response to mounting reports of vicious anti-gay bullying and student suicides, the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance project is making a new documentary film and educational kit available - free of charge - to every school in the country. More information