Bethel: Community and Schizophrenia in Northern Japan

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Released 2009

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Unknown
Released:
2009
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Japan has 2.6 million people with registered psychiatric disabilities. Of that number, 345,000 are hospitalized in psychiatric wards. Some have been institutionalized their entire adult lives. When they leave the hospital, they find they cannot adjust to life on the outside. In mainstream Japanese society, they face discrimination, ostracism, social isolation, and forced rehospitalization. Located in a small fishing town on the northern island of Hokkaido is a small but vibrant group of people with schizophrenia and other psychosocial disabilities. The Bethel House organization was founded in 1984 to support people with these types of disabilities living in the community. Through various work programs, group homes, and a close relationship with the hospital and town, Bethel's members slowly reintegrate into Japanese society. The film explores how the members of Bethel struggle with their lives, their problems, and the meaning of community.
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