The feature documentary PIECE OF MIND explores the cognitive and systemic challenges to treatment for persons with serious mental illness.  In August 2008, in the Mission District of San Francisco, Teresa, 56, a Japanese American woman living with schizoaffective disorder was shot 7 times by police, when she picked up a small knife, refusing to leave her single room occupancy (SRO) and go to the hospital for evaluation.  Teresa survived.  The film interweaves Teresa’s trials that go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court told by her sisters Frances and Patricia, Linda in her relentless efforts to get psychiatric care for her adult son, Jesse, with schizophrenia, and Jeff whose bipolar hypomania was “a white tunnel of white light” until he lost his job and attempted suicide.  Their deeply personal stories reveal humane solutions to this public health crisis.

Today in America, an estimated 44 million adults live with a mental illness, yet nearly 60% don’t receive treatment in a given year.  What these numbers don’t take into account is the toll it takes on parents, siblings and children, as they struggle to keep their family intact and get their loved one treatment in a broken mental health care system.  PIECE OF MIND reveals the need for inpatient and Assist Outpatient Treatment for persons living with serious mental illness.  Solutions include increased psychiatric hospital beds and medical staff, wider implementation of Laura’s Law and Kendra’s Law, and the importance of de-escalation training for police officers nationwide.

Support stories of struggle & hope in serious mental illness. Please make a donation in any amount now to help us complete this timely documentary.  With a $100 donation your name, or someone you designate will be in the credits of the film.  For more donation rewards go to our GoFundMe page.  You can make a tax-deductible donation in any amount  here.  Thank you for supporting families, their loved ones and persons living with serious mental illness!

Making PIECE OF MIND comes out of Sheila Ganz’s personal experience.  Her sister lives with schizophrenia.  The agonizing powerlessness Sheila felt, when she was blocked from getting her sister treatment, drove her to support groups at National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) San Francisco.  At meetings she heard many different stories of family members with loved ones living with serious mental illness.  “The issue was staring me in the face. I knew I had to make this film.”


National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) – Helpline – 1-800-950-6264

National Suicide Prevention Hotline:  1-800-273-8255

You can Text 741741 when you are feeling depressed or suicidal.
A crisis worker will text you back immediately and continue to text with you.

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The non-profit fiscal sponsor for this film project is San Francisco Film Society

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© 2018 Sheila Ganz