BY LUIS GRONDA
A Queens-based television station is shining a light on mental health with hopes to defeat stereotypes surrounding the issue.
Queens Public Television has been running its series on mental health, called “Understanding Mental Illness,” since the beginning of December. It is scheduled to run through Dec. 31.
The series is split into six episodes covering different topics within mental health, airing six separate times as well.
John Collins, the producer and director of the series, said there are three main ideas to producing and running the series: to fight ignorance and misunderstanding many people may have about mental health, to say that mental illness is a disease like any common sickness that you will find and should be treated as such and to encourage people to get immediate help if they are feeling any symptoms.
Series topics include “What is Mental Illness?” which explains the facts of mental illness, what its causes are and the impact it has on daily life; “Journeys” follows several people at various stages of recovery from mental illness; and “Profiles” discusses how mental illness affects various age groups and how each group deals with the effects and their recovery.
Collins said that many residents see tragedies like the mass shootings in Newtown, Conn. and Aurora, Col. and may not understand that people with a mental illness need help, just like if they were physically injured.
“Unfortunately, people see that and figure that they are people to be feared,” he said. “They are more likely to be victims than perpetrators.”
QPTV worked on the series for two years before its release earlier this month, Collins said. He noted he did not want the show to be a “talk-umentary,” so they set out not only to inform people about mental illness but to find stories of Queens residents going through the struggle of having a mental illness.
As mental health is vast topic, Collins said, they were not able to cover everything they wanted in the six-part series, but they feel people will get plenty of information from the series overall.
Previously-aired episodes are available in their entirety on QPTV’s website, qptv.org. Once the remaining episodes air, those will also be posted online. The fifth episode, titled “Transitions,” will hit the airwaves Dec. 20 and will be shown once a day until Dec. 25. The “Profiles” episode will air after that.
QPTV airs on channels 34/1995, 56/1996, 57/1997 and 79/1998 on Time Warner Cable, channels 82, 83, 84 and 85 on RCN, and channels 34, 35, 36 and 37 on Verizon FiOS.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @luisgronda.