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McLean Hospital, the largest psychiatric affiliate of Harvard Medical School, is featured in the new documentary “Running From Crazy,” starring Academy-nominated actress, author and mental health advocate Mariel Hemingway. The film, which premiered in New York City on Nov. 1, examines the personal journey of Hemingway, the granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, as she explores her family history of suicide and mental illness.
“The Hemingway family has fascinated America and the world for generations,” said Barbara Kopple, the two-time Academy Award winner who directed the film. “We are telling the story of finding light through dark periods, with Mariel confronting her family’s history of mental illness as she explores the path she has taken to manage her own issues.”
Hemingway, who in addition to acting is an author, athlete, health & wellness expert and co-founder of The WillingWay Ranch, LLC, filmed several scenes at McLean Hospital in the fall of 2011, including her participation in a support group for families who lost loved ones to suicide. McLean clinicians Maureen Smith, LICSW, and George Smith, LICSW, facilitated the group of volunteers from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Boston chapter, who willingly shared their stories in an effort to heighten awareness of suicide prevention.
“Participating in this support group and having it filmed was emotional for all of us, but we believed it was a valuable endeavor in that it could encourage a larger, nationwide conversation about mental health and suicide,” explained Maureen Smith. “We can help people with mental illness and help prevent suicide by openly talking about these issues and encouraging our friends and loved ones to get the support they need. They are not alone. ‘Running From Crazy’ delivers that important message.”
“Running From Crazy” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year to rave reviews and has become a catalyst for public dialogue about mental illness and suicide. In addition to its theatrical release in select cities across the United States this month, it debut on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in 2014.