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Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness
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Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness

Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Monday, June 27, and Tuesday, June 28, at 9 PM

Tuesday, June 28 and Wednesday, June 29, at 2 AM


Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2):

Saturday, July 2, from noon-4 PM


Mental illness is a significant global health crisis—as pervasive as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease—but it often exists in secret and is endured in isolation. It’s the place where sadness leaves off and depression begins; where anticipation becomes anxiety, enthusiasm becomes mania, and habit becomes addiction; the place where simply living becomes painful. There are people struggling with mental illness all over the world: in remote rural communities, small towns, and major cities; in schools, the workplace, and in our homes. It is, in fact, a disease—a complicated one that has been a part of the human condition for thousands of years. Left undiagnosed, mental illness can last a lifetime. Left untreated, it can lead to addiction, homelessness, prison, or even death.

The issues surrounding mental illness are extraordinarily complex; the risk factors are daunting, the economics bewildering, the politics contentious. Public policy, research, and education can help. But the most important step—and often the most difficult one—is to start talking about it. HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT, a two-part, four-hour film, will begin that conversation. Through first-person accounts, the film will present an unvarnished window into the issues associated with mental illness and the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that those who live with it face daily. The film will confront the issues of stigma, discrimination, awareness, and silence, and, in doing so, help advance a major shift in the public perception of mental illness today.

Executive produced by Ken Burns, co-directed by Erik Ewers and Christopher Loren Ewers, produced by Julie Coffman, and written by David Blistein.


The Storm focuses on more than twenty young people who provide an intimate look at what it’s like to experience the symptoms of mental illness, from depression to addiction to suicide ideation. The film includes insights from families, providers, and advocates and explores the impact of childhood trauma, stigma, and social media.

Young people and their family and friends talk about how they came to acknowledge and accept the reality of their mental illnesses and, most importantly, start talking about them. They describe their work with providers to determine a diagnosis and the treatments they received, and the added stigma of racial or gender discrimination. Throughout, the young people inspire with their resilience and hope.

If you are in crisis, or experiencing thoughts of suicide, please text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741), or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Well Beings
The Well Beings campaign addresses the critical health needs of Americans through broadcast content, original digital content and impactful events. The multi-year campaign, created by WETA Washington, D.C., brings together partners from across the country, including patients, families, caregivers, teachers, medical and mental health professionals, social service agencies, private foundations, filmmakers, corporations and media sponsors, to create awareness and resources for better health for all.

Well Beings Mental Health Language Guide (
The Well Beings Mental Health Language Guide is designed to equip adults, regardless of experience, with the language tools that is needed to discuss mental health concerns with youth. In addition to the guide, you will find a glossary, a list of other resources, and a calendar with important days, weeks, and months relative to mental health.

Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness



The experiences of young people who struggle with mental health challenges.