Kings Park: Stories from an American Mental Institution

Lucy DVD Cover M3.inddA film by Lucy Winer & Karen Eaton
108 minutes, Color, DVD
Close Captioned
Detailed Instructor’s Guide & Suggested List of Readings available

KINGS PARK: Stories from an American Mental Institution captures the rapidly vanishing history of our public mental health care system and the legacy of deinstitutionalization, asking “how do our past decisions concerning the treatment of people with mental health conditions influence and shape policy and practice today and into the future?”

On June 21, 1967, at the age of 17, award-winning filmmaker Lucy Winer was committed to the female violent ward of Kings Park State Hospital following a series of failed suicide attempts. Over 30 years later, Lucy returns to Kings Park for the first time since her discharge. Her journey back sparks a decade-long effort to face her past and learn the story of the now abandoned institution that once held her captive. Her meetings with other former “patients,” their families, and the hospital staff, reveal the painful legacy of our state hospital system and the crisis left by its demise.



Mad In America International Film Festival, Grand Prize Winner

New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS), Public Education Media Award

  •  Woodstock International Film Festival
  •  Stony Brook International Film Festival
  •  Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  •  Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
  •  The American Psychiatric Association, (APA) National Conference
  •  National Association of Social Workers, National Conference
  •  National Alliance for Mental Illness, (N.A.M.I.) National Conference
  •  International Association of Peer Specialists, National Conference
  •  Alternatives, National Conference
  •  National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), National Conference
  •  National Council for Community Behavioral Health Care, National Conference

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“KINGS PARK is a brave, compelling look at the life of a state mental hospital and those whose lives it has touched. Lucy Winer has thought long and hard about the subject, and brings to her film an admirable balance and depth, combined with sensitivity and even some humor. A brilliant exploration of a difficult and complex issue.”
– Oliver Sacks, M.D., Best Selling Author & Professor of Neurology, NYU School of Medicine

“When the credits ended and the house lights came on the audience sat in stunned silence.  After a few seconds there was a scattered applause, which grew into a thunderous roar.  KING PARK is an extraordinarily powerful film — or three films — superbly tiered with each poignant and insightful.”
– Stewart Nusbaumer, Filmmaker Magazine

“a deeply moving and disturbing new documentary … If you’ve got plans cancel them. Go see this incredible account of the history of Long Island’s Kings Park State Hospital…this is a heartrending film.”
– Michael Yudell, The Philadelphia Inquirer

KINGS PARK touches a nerve…a prizewinning film that shines a light into the dark corners of US psychiatric care.”
– Amy Maxmen, Science Magazine

 “KINGS PARK is a powerful film…a vehicle for broad public education. Looking to the future as well as the past, KINGS PARK provides an astute historical perspective. Fifty years from now, will we condemn the present, while measuring progress with the same objectivity? I hope so.”
– Bob Carolla, Director of Media Relations, NAMI 

 “A tour de force.  I have not seen anything as well made, as sensitive, nor as thoughtful.  It is beautiful cinematically and in terms of its emotional tone…a real masterpiece of personal storytelling and documentary filmmaking.”
Howard H. Goldman, MD PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine

“Lucy Winer produced a film that required tremendous courage… It should be seen by all those who work with and care for the mentally ill and by all those who care about their future.”
– Benjamin Sadock, MD, Menas S. Gregory Professor of Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine

“What a beautiful, haunting and important film! In the course of my work I find it hugely important to offer some context for why things are as they are and not as they were supposed to be.  Your film looks to be right on the mark.”
– Robert Bernstein, PhD, President & CEO, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

“Lucy Winer gave an absolutely unique Grand Rounds lecture-film clip at Stony Brook University that was articulate, intelligent and thought-provoking. She gave the audience insights into the complex issues embodied in both past and current public mental hospital care through the special lens of her personal experience, her expertise as a superb documentary film maker, and her depth of knowledge about the history of mental health care in America. Our audience, like all of the audiences who attend a Lucy Winer presentation, was transfixed.
– Evelyn J. Bromet, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, Stony Brook University

“… an illuminating and wonderful story of an institution and a person. This is a documentary with a message that both the public and mental health professions can learn from and appreciate.”
– Gerald N. Grob, Henry E. Sigerist Professor of the History of Medicine Emeritus, Rutgers University
Author The Mad Among Us: A History of the Care of America’s Mentally Ill

“Part personal memoir, part historical documentary, KINGS PARK is a brilliant exploration of the life and death of the state mental hospital. Lucy Winer treats a difficult subject with sensitivity, grace, and compassion.”
– Nancy Tomes, Ph.D. President, American Association of the History of Medicine
Professor, Department of History, Stony Brook University

“Rarely are we able to change attitudes through education; I believe this video has the potential to do so…I cannot recall ever using an educational video that holds student interest like this documentary does.”
– Susan D. Bassett, RN, MS, CNE, South Dakota State University, College of Nursing

 “An excellent forum for social workers to consider the progress and failures of mental health services in our country and the implications for practice and social policies in the future.”
– Jeane W. Anastas, Ph.D., LMSW, Past President, NASW (National Association of Social Workers); Professor, Silver School of Social Work, New York University

“KINGS PARK is one of the most important teaching tools I have encountered.  It helps our psychiatry residents and medical students to see the relevance of their work within our mental health system. Patients are also inspired by it: members of our Stories in Recovery therapy group are filming their own experiences with housing and psychiatric services.”
Helena Hansen, MD, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Anthropology, New York University
Research Psychiatrist, Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research

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