Mysteries of Mental Illness

Who’s Normal?

Season 2021  Episode 2

Traces the dramatic fight in the second half of the 20th century to develop mental illness standards rooted in empirical science rather than dogma, including the evolution of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual). It is today’s so-called “Bible of Psychiatry,” despite what many acknowledge are its deep and fundamental flaws.

Characters include Ryan Mains, a former firefighter and Iraq veteran struggling with PTSD, Mia Yamamoto, born in a Japanese internment camp, who became California’s first openly transgender lawyer, throughout her life resisting being labeled as having a ‘mental illness’; and Michael Walrond, a Harlem based pastor and healer who lives with his own depressive disorder. In this episode, we’ll learn how science and societal factors are deeply entwined with our ever-shifting definitions and diagnoses of mental health and illness.