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Saving Minds

Myriam Anouk gazes nervously across a busy Montreal intersection. The streets are eerily familiar. In the aftermath of her mother’s death twenty years earlier, she had turned to walking four to eight hours a day as a means of coping. When these extreme walks failed to quiet the voices in her head, and her condition worsened, a friend called an ambulance. And so began her long and difficult relationship with the mental health system.

Alo, an up-and-coming comic who lives with several conditions, including bipolar disorder, finds freedom of sorts on the stage telling jokes and anecdotes that over time reveal a deeply troubled self. Although Alo’s and Myriam Anouk’s backgrounds are worlds apart in many ways, both share an unwavering determination to improve their health and long-term outcomes.

Saving Minds captures the intimate stories of Alo and Myriam Anouk as they navigate their way to recovery, and provides insights from experts in the field, presenting a clear picture of mental health care today. The film also features Joanne Greenberg, the internationally acclaimed author of I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1964). Now in her eighties, she takes us back to a much earlier time when her own prognosis was very grim. Greenberg’s candid testimony offers hope to others facing similarly difficult challenges.

Filmed in English and French and shot in Montreal, Boston, Colorado, Chicago, Vermont and England, Saving Minds gives viewers a ringside seat as a new approach to mental health care emerges; one that moves beyond the biological-medical model entrenched in the 1980s towards a more therapeutic and empathetic approach that puts the patient first and uses medication cautiously. The film aims to spark a public debate on why a new vision of care is long overdue.

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