Documentary provides glimpse into mental health crisis

Salem’s Historic Grand. (Caleb Wolf/Special to Salem Reporter)

Residents who want to learn more about the mental health crisis and participate in an audience discussion can head to Salem’s Historic Grand Tuesday evening.

“Bedlam,” a documentary that tracks individual stories of mentally ill patients in Los Angeles, starts at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21 on 187 High St. N.E. Tickets cost $5.

The documentary is part of Salem Progressive Film Series, which shows films followed by expert guest speakers and an audience discussion.

Deb Patterson, who was recently elected chair of the Marion County Health Advisory Board, is one of Tuesday’s speakers. She’ll be joined by Tim Murphy, the CEO of Bridgeway Recovery Services, and Tim Black, the CAHOOTS operations coordinator at White Bird Clinic in Eugene.

Patterson said she’s speaking as a community advocate at the event and said the film shows the “need as a society to address the shame often associated with mental illness.”

Patterson said the documentary follows three people with different mental illnesses that she hopes will help bring the issue to light in a personal way.

“I hope that (viewers) take away that we need to talk about mental illness and stop hiding it in the shadows,” she said.

Patterson said while the Affordable Care Act expands mental health , there aren’t enough transitional supportive services.

She said the documentary comes at a good time, as Salem is grappling with homelessness and how to help its homeless residents.

Not everyone who is homeless has a mental illness, she said.

“We need to point out that if people do have mental health issues, we need to help them and we also need to help people who just need housing,” Patterson said. 

Have a tip? Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250 or [email protected].