CINCINNATI—Mental illnesses can affect anyone, they are not
the result of personal weakness, and they’re treatable. Still, people with a mental illness are often
told it’s "all in your head,” with no recognition of the biological mechanisms
underlying the diseases.
A prime example is bipolar disorder, which the National
Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) defines as a chronic illness with recurring
episodes of mania and depression that can last from one day to months. More than 10 million Americans have bipolar
disorder, which affects men and women equally.
"Through extensive research, we now know that genetics and
neurodevelopment are biological aspects that contribute to the onset of
illnesses such as bipolar disorder,” says Melissa DelBello, MD, a professor of
psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati (UC)
College of Medicine and member of the UC Mood Disorders Center team.
"Our goal, ultimately, is to figure out what combination of
biological, environmental and genetic risk factors contribute to the onset of
The Mood Disorders Center , one of 13 centers or programs of
the UC Neuroscience Institute, one of four institutes of the UC College of
Medicine and UC Health, is sponsoring a new event, "Psych and the Cinema,” with
the goal of stimulating discussion about mental illness. It will combine the
showing of a feature film with a discussion led by a representative of the Mood
The first movie will be "Mr. Jones,” starring Richard Gere
as a man with bipolar disorder, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, in Medical
Sciences Building Room 5051. Cal Adler, MD, a professor of psychiatry and
behavioral neuroscience and member of the Mood Disorders Center team, will lead
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,” Adler says. "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 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 notes).
Adler says he hopes to make the evening a regular event,
with subsequent movies exploring other mood disorders and led by other Mood Disorders Center
"The point of doing
this is to have fun while learning about mood disorders,” he says.