Ride The Tiger: Documentary Aims to Raise Awareness of Bipolar Disorder

The reality of bipolar disorder is hard to fathom: five and a half million Americans have been diagnosed with the disorder and yet so little is known about how the illness manifests itself in our brains. Coming April 13, 2016 from Detroit Public Television (DPTV) and airing on PBS stations nationwide is Ride the Tiger, a one-hour documentary that tells the story of highly accomplished individuals—congressmen, attorneys, pastors, authors, and stay-at-home moms, who have been diagnosed as bipolar.

Narrated by David Ogden Stiers (American Experience), co-written by National Book award-winning author, Andrew Solomon (The Noonday Demon) and directed by duPont-Columbia award-winner, Ed Moore, the documentary seeks to find out where the biological breakdowns occur and how we can possibly pre-empt, fix or rewire our brains back to recovery.

“The popular headline we keep hearing today is ‘Rewire your brain for happiness,” said Ed Moore Executive Producer, National Documentary Unit. And while it’s not that simple for those with severe mental illness, there is some truth to it—that the brain is far more malleable than we ever knew. And researchers are just now starting to understand how that works and how it could be harnessed for future treatments.”

Most importantly, Ride The Tiger is designed to subvert stereotypes about people with mood disorders by raising awareness, reducing stigmas, and improving the lives of those affected by disorders such as bipolar. The film weaves together brave and compelling stories of people with mood disorders with a new narrative of scientists and scholars on the cusp of discovery. It explores questions and connections that are spurring four scientific disciplines of mental health research: genetics, the brain, treatment, and basic science.

Image shows a promo for the show.
Ride the Tiger will be airing on PBS nationwide on April 13th, 2016. Credit: ProSocial Consulting/Detroit Public Television.

Among the people featured in the film are: Patrick Kennedy, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives who most notably fought the battle to end medical and societal discrimination against a variety of mental illnesses; Patty Duke – Oscar and Emmy award winning actress diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the early 1980s; Terri Cheney, former entertainment attorney in Beverly Hills who represented the likes of Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, and major motion picture studios; and Ellen Forney talented cartoonist and award winning author. Several of her books have been New York Times bestsellers including Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me. Kay Redfield Jamison – bestselling author of the groundbreaking book on bipolar disorder, An Unquiet Mind and Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins.

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Experts featured in the film include:

Dr. Thomas Insel
, a neuroscientist and psychiatrist best known for his leadership of the National Institute of Mental Health and prior work as the Director of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience at Emory University in Atlanta; Dr. Paul Keck: A scientist, author, and CEO whose research is greatly focused on bipolar disorder and psychopharmacology and has led to over 500 scientific journals, various text book contributions, and numerous honors; Dr. Karl Deisseroth, a professor, researcher, and technological innovator who is both the D.H. Chen Professor of Bioengineering and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University; and Dr. Helen Mayberg, a well-known neurologist trained at Columbia University’s Neurological Institute whose work as a neurologist led to the first ever study of deep brain stimulation. She began her DBS research at University of Toronto before moving on to Emory.

Ride the Tiger will air on PBS nationwide on April 13th, 2016. Watch the trailer below.

NeuroscienceNews.com would like to thank Hina Syed of ProSocial Consulting and Detroit Public Television for the opportunity of an advanced screening of Ride The Tiger. 

Source: Hina Syed – ProSocial Consulting and Della Cassia – Detroit Public Television
Image Credit: Promotional Image provided by ProSocial Consulting/Detroit Public Television.
Video Source: The trailer video is available at the Detroit Public TV YouTube page.

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