Mental Breakdown

One in five New Zealanders suffer from some form of mental illness. Since the 1970’s there has been a movement away from institutional care in favour of treatment in the community. Gone are the days when mental illness was regarded as a stigma and the mentally ill were kept locked away and treated as second class citizens.

These days mental health reforms and changes in attitude mean that the vast majority of mental health patients are able to enjoy a relatively normal life. But is community care the answer for everyone suffering from mental illness?
What about the small but very significant percentage of patients whose mental illness is so severe that they are a danger to themselves and or others? Decisions are made to release them into the community, sometimes with tragic and catastrophic consequences.
Mental Breakdown focuses on three such cases asking how and why these dangerously ill people were released. Were they good at fooling the people in charge of their care? Were the warning signs simply ignored or trivialised? Were these outcomes predictable and therefore preventable? If they were, who, if anyone, should be held accountable?

Director Damien Comerford
Producer Laurie Clarke
Executive Producer Vincent Burke
Duration 1 x 44'
Rights Top Shelf Productions Limited

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