MCLEAN HOSPITAL PATIENT STORIES
Patient stories for the annual McLean Hospital gala.
When Erin Collins-Moore called from McLean Hospital, a prestigious psychiatric hospital in the Boston area, and asked us to make films for their annual Gala, we were excited and concerned. This seemed like a rare opportunity to make films on sensitive subjects with both patient and hospital collaboration. Our worry was, could we make honest films and protect patient privacy?
The answers came from the subjects themselves. We've now had the opportunity to work with several different patients from McLean and each has been eager to share their story for the sake of others who might also benefit from help and treatment.
Wayne received treatment for severe alcohol addiction, a problem that troubled him in early life but was made more severe by the working hours at his job as a corrections officer. Along with his therapy at McLean in the LEADER program, Wayne took his training in martial arts and exercise and applied it to recovering from his addiction, throwing himself fully into pulling his life and his health back together.
Sadie has been dealing with issues of anxiety and OCD since she was very young. As she entered high school, these problems manifested themselves into a need to be the "perfect" student. She would often spend 7 to 8 hours a night on homework assignments, generating hundreds of pages of notes on short readings. Her parents sought out help from McLean when they realized that Sadie was heading for a crash.
Sadie went to the McLean Anxiety Mastery Program, a 4-week program for young people with issues like hers. She fully embraced the therapy and graduated with many tools that allow her to manage her anxiety wherever it occurs in her life.
Sadie very generously allowed us to film her at the Ascot Riding Center, where she takes horseback riding lessons and, afterwards, often wanders through the fields, making photographs of the horses and flowers.
Thanks to Trademark Tours , we were also able to recreate one of the pivotal moments in Sadie's therapy. On a Harvard University campus tour, Sadie and her therapist, Kaitlin, engaged in a moment of exposure therapy, putting Sadie in a situation of anxiety, allowing her to see positive results, and come out the other side unscathed and able to manage a situation like it in the future.
Jessica was being treated at McLean for schizoaffective disorder, a condition that is difficult to diagnose and treat. Although she initially had concerns about talking on film, she decided to participate because of her interest in finding ways to lessen the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Jessica made suggestions about what and where we might film and how best to tell her story.
Allen had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. At McLean he was receiving an experimental drug that had slowed down his memory loss. Once diagnosed, Allen began speaking publicly about his illness and encouraging others to seek early treatment.
When we discussed the film with Allen and his wife Jeanne, they saw that participating in the film might be another way to raise awareness about new options for Alzheimer’s patients.
Working with Allen was great fun. He introduced us to his “man-cave,” a basement office where he kept his vast collection of science fiction books. He and Jeanne explained the routines they used to help keep Allen living independently.
Client: Erin Collins-Moore, Development Office, McLean Hospital
Producer: Cary Wolinsky
Director/Editor: Yari Wolinsky
McLean Hospital is dedicated to improving the lives of people and families affected by psychiatric illness.