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November 29, 2005

NAMI Applauds ABC-TV Network Affiliates Broadcasting "Shadow Voices" Documentary
Presented by National Council of Churches, USA  

Arlington, VA— The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) applauds ABC-TV affiliate stations, which at their discretion will broadcast the documentary, Shadow Voices: Finding Hope in Mental Illness, beginning Sunday, December 4th and running through February 4th.

The program includes interviews with former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, who issued the landmark Report on Mental Health in 1999, as well as interviews with individuals living with mental illness and family members.

Produced by Mennonite Media as a special presentation of the National Council of Churches, it includes discussion of the need for a greater role by faith communities in eliminating stigma and providing support for treatment and recovery. 

"This is an important documentary," said NAMI executive director Michael J. Fitzpatrick. "Its broadcast is a public service. It connects on a very human level and makes a unique contribution to public education. The ABC-TV network is to be congratulated for distributing the program to its affiliates. We encourage all stations to air it and all churches and community organizations to publicize it."

"Unfortunately, a significant number of our churches still see mental illness as a result of a moral or spiritual failure. Some see it as having to do with demonic possession," says Reverend Susan Gregg-Schroeder, of the California Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church, who is interviewed in the film. "People are encouraged to stop taking their medications, often with disastrous results. And churches are not educated about mental illness, that it is an illness of the brain."

NAMI leaders featured in the film include:

  • Dr. Joyce Burland, founder of the national NAMI Family-to Family education program, whose daughter lives with schizophrenia.
  • Ramiro Guevara, director of the federal government’s STAR technical assistance center, who lives with bipolar disorder.
  • National Board member Risdon Slate, a Florida professor of criminal justice and former corrections officer, who once was jailed during a bipolar episode.
  • Reverend Chet Watson of NAMI’s California-based Faithnet. 

For more information, including a list of ABC-TV stations that have scheduled the program to date, visit:

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