The UC Mood Disorders Center is combining education with
entertainment, with the goal of stimulating discussion about such conditions as
depression, bipolar and anxiety.
That’s the purpose of a new event, "Psych and the Cinema,”
which will combine the showing of a feature film with a discussion led by a representative
of the Mood Disorders Center. The first movie will be "Mr. Jones,” starring
Richard Gere, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, in Medical Sciences Building Room
The showing is free and open to the public, with
registration encouraged at http://mooddisorders.ucneuroscience.com/events/.
"I think there’s a desire in the community to learn about
mental health, and movies are among the media that most people are interested
in,” says Cal Adler, MD, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience
and member of the Mood Disorders Center team. The Mood Disorders Center is one
of 13 centers or programs of the UC Neuroscience Institute, one of four
institutes of the UC College of Medicine and UC Health.
"This is a way to use movies as a springboard to overall
education about mood disorders and also to address people’s questions and talk
about what’s right with the movies and what’s wrong with them.”
In "Mr. Jones” (1993), directed by Mike Figgis, Gere plays a
man with bipolar spectrum disorder who is arrested after a manic incident and
enters a psychiatric hospital. Lena Olin plays a psychiatrist at the hospital
who has a sexual relationship with Gere’s character (definitely a "wrong,”
Adler, who will lead the discussion following "Mr. Jones,”
says he hopes to make the evening a regular event, with subsequent movies
exploring other mood disorders and led
by other Mood Disorders Center specialists.
"We’ll see what the reception is,” he says, "but I could
easily see doing it once a month.”
If that happens, there will be no shortage of movies to choose
from. Mood disorders are a favorite Hollywood topic, and the list of Oscar
nominees from the category is a long one. (Nicolas Cage won the Best Actor
Oscar in 1995 for "Leaving Las Vegas,” also directed by Figgis.)
"It’s the human condition—mood disorders are common,” says
Adler. "If we don’t have them, we know people who do—family members, friends,
loved ones. And they bring drama to a movie.”
As for Hollywood’s depiction of psychiatry and
psychiatrists, it leaves a lot to be desired, in Adler’s view.
"A lot of it has been troublesome,” he says. "Frequently, a
mood disorder is treated as a character failing. At the same time, I’ve seen
some excellent movies that have treated it very seriously.
"As for psychiatrists, they are typically not treated well in
the movies and are often depicted as having inappropriate relationships with
That’s all on the table for discussion, of course, and Adler
looks forward to hearing what people have to say. He also is looking for
suggestions for future movies.
"The point of doing this is to be fun and educational,” he