Hello! And Welcome to HELP MAKE ME NORMAL
My name is Mitch McCabe, and I’m a Michigan-raised documentary filmmaker. I’ve been making films for over 15 years, screening my work at many festivals including Sundance Film Festival, my last film, YOUTH KNOWS NO PAIN, produced with HBO Documentary Films.
My current film, MAKE ME NORMAL, explores the rise in diagnosis of mental disorders and the boom of psychiatric prescription drugs, all set against the release of the new controversial psychiatric guidelines of the DSM (nick-named the “Psychiatry Bible”). With 1 in 3 Americans diagnosed with a mental disorder and 20% (and rising) on prescription drugs, the film asks, what happened to normal? As my second documentary feature, it is one timely subject matter that affects us all!
We are half way through production, and need you to join our team to finish! Together with veteran indie film producer Jeff Kusama-Hinte ("Kids Are All Right","Thirteen," "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired"), Associate Producers Anita Anthonj and Jeremy Goldstein, we're half way through production, and looking to you for your financial support to raise $50,000 so we can complete shooting. Let's get to 100% and help MAKE ME NORMAL!
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE? THREE THINGS.
1. Are you human? Do you know some humans?
This year 1 in 3 Americans will be diagnosed mentally ill or with a mental disorder. Recent statistics state that 20% of the population is currently taking a psychiatric drug. Almost all experts in the field agree that our society is over-medicated. In fact, more people die from prescription drug use and overdose than from illegal drugs. But somehow, drugs are still handed out for seemingly anything, symptom by isolated symptom often with patients doing most of the diagnosing themselves, just “Ask Your Doctor!” (as the cheery pharmaceutical ads instruct). 85% of psychiatric drugs are given by non-psychiatrists, and yet the Pharmaceutical industry only publishes 60% of its studies, hiding unfavorable results and routinely (and illegally) promoting off-label use. Long-term side effects or drug interactions are largely unknown. Where can one go for independent, trust-worthy information and studies about these medications-- on both the efficacy and risks? Is anyone looking out for us?
2. Are you a parent? Thinking about being one day?
If yes, there’s a 1 in 3 chance you’ll be told your child has a mental or behavioral disorder, whether by a doctor or by a school employee. Most drugs have not been tested on children, particularly for long-term use. And there's a great chance that you’ll be recommended to medicate your child. Is there a true rise in mental disorders in children, or could it be that we're over-pathologizing human behvaior? As the great cultural critics at The Onion, say with their piece “More U.S. Children Being Diagnosed With Youthful Tendency Disorder.”
The DSM (the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders”), often referred to as “The Psychiatry Bible”, the DSM creates and defines mental illness and disorders. The inclusion (or exclusion) of a disorder has broad implications in terms of what treatment a particular insurance will cover, as well as determining public policy and funding. With the new DSM-5 just published in May 2013, a plethora of new disorders have been created. Grieving for more than two weeks after the death of a loved one? You now qualify for Major Depression. Experiencing a lack of self-control when it comes to your favorite food? You may now be given a Binge Eating Disorder diagnosis to chew on. Identify as having “Asperger’s?” You no longer exist.
Labels are a powerful weapon. If, for example, you're mis-diagnosed as "Bipolar II" (a diagnosis created in 1994 by DSM-4), you might not be able to adopt a child. Why have diagnoses and labels skyrocketed: Child Bipolar Disorder has risen by 4,000% in the last 15 years, ADHD diagnoses by over 40%.
3. Do you like documentaries? Has one ever affected you? Changed your life, or helped make change in the world?
Maybe you've seen ground-breaking films like INCOVENIENT TRUTH, the Oscar-winning film which brought climate change to the center stage of public discussion. Or GASLAND, which suddenly made invisible "fracking" a major political topic. Or Oscar-nominated FOOD, INC. and SUPER-SIZE ME, which made us more aware of what's in our food and the practices of companies like (previously unheard of) Monsanto. With MAKE ME NORMAL, we aim to make a similar impact on how we think of mental health and treatment.
OUR GOALS & YOUR PAY-OFF!
Since July 2012 I’ve been traveling across America, filming the stories of regular Americans, families, key experts in the psychiatry field, wellness gurus and mental health policy makers.
We need to raise $50,000 to help cover the rest of production and continue editing. Where does your money go? Your backing will go towards many months of editing, air travel, local car rental, gas, tolls, crew wages, crew meals, editing equipment, camera equipment, and several highly talented animators (it’s going to be awesome!). We may be great at keeping costs low, but we still need your help!
In return for your financially backing this project, we’re offering 12 tiers of awesome rewards, with every level trying to give back to you as much as we can.
For $52... Tickets to a 2-part special evening event, just for you!
- Comedian and Writer Mike Albo will perform various pieces, including segments from "The Underminer" and sneak peak of upcoming new show "The Junket" (which previewed to great buzz in May)
- For the first time since 2010, filmmaker Mitch McCabe will screen her HBO film "Youth Knows No Pain" in NYC. Q&A after w/McCabe and Albo, including discussion of their new collaboration for NORMAL.
CINEMA CARE PACKAGE! For $500, all of the above tiered perks*, plus signed DVD copy of the finished MAKE ME NORMAL, copies of the director's short films, her HBO documentary YOUTH KNOWS NO PAIN, plus choose from an assortment of great movies by producer Jeff Kusama-Hinte: THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, THIRTEEN, SOUL POWER, ROMAN POLANSKI: WANTED AND DESIRED or HIGH ART. (*excludes yoga perk)
We're also featuring a LIMITED NUMBER of signed copies (to you!!) of the much talked about book by Gary Greenberg (featured in film), “Book of Woe,” for a donation of $200.
STAR IN A PHARMA AD WITH COMEDIAN MIKE ALBO!
- For $10, you get the "Head De-Jamming Playlist," an eclectic, diverse online playlist curated by musicians, DJs, wellness professionals and therapists, "Certified" to calm and play in any background. And you get a big warm online THANK YOU, AND our newsletter, which will keep you updated on important mental health news, articles, policy development and wellness tips-- in addition to informing you of the film's progress as it nears completion and starts screening in the world.
- For $25, all of the above plus a MAKE ME NORMAL bumper sticker and pin
- for $40, exclusive digital downloads of the filmmaker's previous Sundance and Oscar-winning short films, and animation stills from the film by Supervising Animator Mary Varn ("Waking Life").
- for $60, fight the labels with the MAKE ME NORMAL T!
FOR MORE INFO ON OUR CAMPAIGNS PERKS, GO HERE on MAKEMENORMAL.COM
THE ROAD THUS FAR
In July 2012 I began tracking the growing in-fighting within the mental health field surrounding the 2013 publication of the new DSM-5. On the eve of its publication, the Head of the National Institute of Mental Health dealt a blow to the APA, announcing they would cease using the DSM-5 for diagnosing mental illness, calling for the development of new scientific and biological testing.
WHY I AM MAKING THIS FILM
I’ve been working in documentary film and reality TV since the 1990s. And I’ve gotten to know a lot of Americans and families across all 50 states. Over the last 15 years I’ve seen families increasingly helpless, trying to find a solution to problems with their kids, their teens, and themselves. They easily get caught in the confusion and pressure of diagnosing and medicating problematic behavior. Like former DSM-4 Chair Dr. Allen Frances frequently states, children and adults alike are far too often over-diagnosed, leading to unnecessary medications that have harmful side effects like diabetes, obesity and even dangerous, worsened behavioral changes and suicidal risk.
A WORLD OF HELP
There could not be a better time for the subject matter of this film. By supporting MAKE ME NORMAL, you are helping bring this discussion out into the open, helping to potentially save lives and improve the efficacy of our mental health system.*
Times not good for you to give right now? Beyond giving financially to the film, there are many ways to help!
- Forward this campaign to friends and family, and anyone you think this strikes a chord with.
- Share on Facebook, Twitter!
- Sign up for our newsltter and keep informed on mental health
- Talk about MAKE ME NORMAL randomly at social gatherings!
*For longer outreach range goals of MAKE ME NORMAL, keep updated via our website.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FILM
We welcome your questions! And will post on our blog on MAKEMENORMAL.COM
Q: ARE YOU ANTI-DRUG?
A: No. This is a more nuanced conversation than "for" or "against."
Q: ARE YOU ANTI-PSYCHIATRY?
A: Nope. There are many, many very concerned psychiatrists who agree that we’re over-pathologizing human behavior, over-diagnosing and over-medicating. In fact, on hearing about the film, we’ve even received anonymous donations from veteran psychiatrists and psychotherapists who are alarmed with how their field has changed.
Update: August 14, 2013, 2:30am EST
Q: DARN. YOUR INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN IS DONE. CAN I STILL MAKE A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION?
A: Yes! Although our Indiegogo was fantastically funded and will enable us to finish shooting, as is the usual course of filmmaking, we are sourcing the majority of our budget from other sources to finish post-prodution and complete the film through final edit. We are fiscally sponsored by the 501C-3, FROM THE HEART PRODUCTIONS. You can make a donation HERE.