A black man in a baseball cap talks with a white man in a suit behind a desk in a wood paneled office.Psychiatric Interview Films in the Age of Reform: Notes on the Depressive Neurosis Series Filmed by the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 1969

By Linnéa J. Hussein

When one thinks of audio-visual recordings of psychiatric patients in the United States in the 1960s, the distressing images of Frederick Wiseman’s observational documentary Titicut Follies (1967) may come to mind. The Depressive Neurosis series from 1969 bears no resemblance to these films. Instead, the series offers a rare glimpse into the day-to-day world of late 1960s psychiatric practice, in which people with addiction, mental illness, or mental disabilities seek help and are received with an open mind and treated with dignity by the doctors they speak to and the camera crew that films them.

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