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WCSU film screening, discussion looks at mental health care in United States

Image from 'Dorothea's Tears'DANBURY, Conn. — The Western Connecticut State University Alumni Nursing Society and Alumni Association will host a screening of the documentary by Keith Maciog and Geer Teng, “Dorothea’s Tears: The State of Mental Health Care in America,” at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, in the Student Center Theater on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. A question-and-answer session will follow with Maciog, Gene Rosen and Chris Beaudoin APRN, a WCSU Nursing alumna who formerly worked at Fairfield Hills State Hospital.  WCSU Associate Professor of Nursing Dr. Bozena Padykula will moderate. The screening, discussion and reception that follow are free and open to the public; please RSVP at or by calling (203) 837-8298.

The film focuses on the ever-growing trend to shut down state mental hospitals. It was conceived and produced by Vision Project, an organization dedicated to the development of documentary photography, investigative journalism and education. Vision Project is housed at the Sacred Heart University School of Communication & Media Arts.

According to the film’s promotional materials, “the movement to shut down state mental hospitals is known as ‘deinstitutionalization.’ It was intended to normalize the mentally ill and integrate them into the community. However, while once they were cared for by the states, the severely mentally ill are ending up in our nation’s prisons, on city streets and in county morgues. Few small towns in our nation better symbolize the problems with the mental health system than Newtown, site of the former Fairfield Hills State Hospital and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

Completed in August 2017, the film documents those who work or have worked in the trenches of the mental health system, feeling the impact of a system that many have dubbed a ‘failure.’ Those interviewed include former Fairfield Hills employees, state officials, Sandy Hook parents and therapy professionals.”

The film’s title, “Dorothea’s Tears,” refers to Dorothea Lynde Dix, who lived from 1802-1887. Dix was an American author, teacher and mental health care reformer. Her crusade to create new institutions across the U.S. and Europe changed people’s perceptions about the mentally ill.

“Dorothea’s Tears” was an official selection of the 2018 New Haven International Film Festival and the 2018 Connecticut Film Fest 52.



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