How Mad Are You? On Documentary Channel.

I saw the advert for this briefly the other night. I am sure I caught a glimpse of Richard Bentall there?

It looks very interesting. Here is an excerpt for the program from the Documentary Channels website

‘In 1973, Dr David Rosenhan conducted a seminal experiment (Being Sane in Insane Places) in the USA, during which sane patients faked symptoms to gain admission to psychiatric hospitals and were diagnosed as such; some of them were kept in hospital for up to 52 days. He proved that psychiatry, the science of the mind, couldn’t tell the difference between sanity and insanity. It was an experiment which transformed how mental illness was diagnosed.

Based on some of the ideas behind that experiment, How Mad Are You has brought together 10 volunteers for five days to work through a new series of tasks, conducted by psychologist Professor Peter Kinderman. Five of the volunteers are normal, and five have a history of psychiatric disorders.

The question is simple: which is which?

During the five days, the volunteers are not allowed to discuss their histories as they live and work through the challenges together, facing stressful situations and confronting their fears. The tests are designed to explore the character traits of mental illness and ask whether the symptoms might be within all of us. They include performing stand-up comedy to mucking out cows.

Who will cope best? Will the individuals who have been affected by mental illness reveal themselves? Or will the ‘normal’ but shy volunteer exhibit the oddest behaviour of all?

Mental Illness affects 450 million people worldwide. It preys on all ages, all sexes and all cultures. The path to health can be long and difficult, but for many simply being called ‘mentally ill’ is a heavier burden to carry than the illness itself. Being labelled with a psychiatric disorder brings profound social stigma, leaving some people outcast all their lives.’

It is showing Tuesday 27th April at 8.30pm at Wednesday 28th April 2010 at 4.30pm and 12.30pm.

A friend told me about the experiment that was conducted back then. I will have to see if I can find more details about it and post it here.

Man experiences Life Changing Moment in Prison

Campbell Live on Tv3 news interviewed this man, who saw a Tupuna( ancestor) come through the roof and touch him.

Steve Hikaiti has done a lot of bad things in his life, and spent a lot of time in jail – 29 years in and out.

But something happened to him while he was in Mt Eden prison that changed his life forever.

From that point on, he became an artist, and he has been quite successful.

So much so that an Auckland gallery has taken him on and is holding an exhibition for him on Saturday.

Mr Hikaiti says his calling came when he was in Mt Eden prison in 1987.

“I donno if it was a mental breakdown or anything like that, but I felt like I needed to talk to the staff because I thought I was going looney,” he says.

“What happened was this tupuna came through the roof, and just touched me on the nose, and when I woke up the next day I could actually draw his face – the detail.”

But as quickly as that detail came, it was lost again, until recently when he began to draw full time.

He got the bug at school but that landed him in trouble.

“I used to get kicked out because I’d be drawing in the books and on the desk,” he says.

“My mind would not be with the class, it’d be outside the window, day dreaming, creating things in my mind. It was my own safe place.”

Mr Hikaiti is no angel – he has a criminal record for burglary, assault and aggravated robbery, for which he served nine years inside.

He was kicked out of home when he was nine because he was too much trouble.

When he was not in jail, he roamed the streets.

“Jail became home, in a way,” he says.

“Jail was my life, was my home.”

Now his home – and workspace – is an Auckland apartment.

When he is not drawing, he is pacing around waiting for the ideas to flow.

“I don’t know if it is the right process because I’m self-taught.”

His work has struck a chord with the art community. Gallery owner Clayton Smith liked what he saw, and has been showing and selling Mr Hikaiti’s work for four months.

“He is now an active member of society,” says Mr Clayton.

“He is producing beautiful pieces of art and that is his passion, he has found his way through his art.”

Mr Hikaiti’s first series of limited edition prints are now on display in galleries around the North Island, and on Saturday he will have his first exhibition.

“We’re selling a few a week actually so people are actually seeing it, loving it, and want it on their walls.”

See the video on this link above.