New Strategies for Treating Mental Illness

Initiative COMMITTED Documentary Feature Film
Grantee Partner International Documentary Association (serving as fiscal sponsor for Upper East Films)
Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer, is the founder of the New Day Court, the first of its kind in Ohio, that provides a path to recovery for those suffering from severe mental illness

COMMITTED is a new documentary film produced by Ken Rosenberg, MD, and Peter Miller, Emmy and Peabody-winning documentary makers, and directed by Rosenberg, a practicing psychiatrist who experienced the death of a family member from schizophrenia.

COMMITTED brings to life a groundbreaking approach — Assisted Outpatient Treatment — in which judges, doctors, police, and family members urge and, at times, compel people with serious mental illness (SMI) into effective, humane, outpatient care. Set in the rust-belt city of Akron, Ohio, the protagonists are two judges who preside over court programs supporting people with SMI, as well as the patients themselves — those who take the medications, appear before the judges and struggle for both their dignity and their sanity. With extraordinary access to the courts, police, and jail, COMMITTED chronicles one community’s effective and nationally recognized strategy to prevent untreated persons with mental illness from becoming incarcerated, homeless, hospitalized, or dead.

The filmmakers’ previous documentary film about mental illness, BEDLAM, premiered at Sundance, aired on PBS, won a duPont-Columbia Award for journalistic excellence, and was the centerpiece of a multi-year national impact campaign that sparked dialogue and meaningful change.

Distribution plans for COMMITTED include television, theatrical and festival release, streaming, and community screenings across the country in collaboration with national and local stakeholders. Like BEDLAM, it will be a game-changing documentary that draws on the experience of one American community to illuminate possible solutions to one of the Nation’s greatest social crises.

Judge Alison Breaux, Summit County Court of Common Pleas, Akron, OH, developed the first felony mental health court in Summit County.