Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Documentary: Filmmaker Delaney Ruston shares her personal experiences of her father's mental illness


Note: Sorry if previously posted. I couldn’t find it though.

Published on Jan 13, 2014
Silence around mental illness is common around the world, especially in impoverished countries. Documentary filmmaker Delaney Ruston shares her personal experiences of her father’s mental illness, and the discovery that sharing personal stories have the power to inspire compassion and break the silence to create collaboration and action.

Break the silence around mental illness: Delaney Ruston at TEDxRainier

Documenting a troubled mind
Movie helps filmmaker forge connection with mentally ill father

Published 10:00 pm, Sunday, March 1, 2009

The cyclists rolling by on their way to Green Lake don’t seem to notice the man sitting vigil under the Ravenna Boulevard overpass. The man wears a bicycle helmet over his baseball cap and dark glasses on a dark day. Though he camps in plain sight, it’s easy to overlook those such as Leon Barker, whose minds have long since abandoned them.

Delaney Ruston parks near Barker’s encampment on a recent freezing afternoon. The filmmaker first noticed him a few years ago. The doctor in her made her stop to check on him. But it’s another role from her life that keeps her coming back to visit.

Ruston, 42, is the daughter of a man who had paranoid schizophrenia. His illness caused her so much shame and frustration as a teenager and young adult that she unlisted her phone number and hid from him for a decade while she built a career in medicine and started a family.

When her own son started asking questions about his grandfather, however, she realized she was the one who needed answers.


Sorry, I managed to watch 7 minutes of her raving narcissism - she could coldly reject her father for as long as it suited her, feel shame about him, in spite of being a medical student, and only “reconnect” with him when it became useful to her career as a film maker, then move onto to use mentally ill people in developing countries also to pursue her own career. She says, people could see her father for “who he really is, an English graduate who wrote a novel.” Are only the “prestigious” things we do “really us”? What about other qualities, like the ability to forgive an obnoxious, self-serving daughter, while we are enduring great suffering? Loathsome woman, simply loathsome.


Personally I applaud her for admitting her own faults (we all have them) and even though it was too late for her and her father it is never to late to speak out.


No, if there should be any shame, it should be about her own continuing behaviour. She did absolutely NOTHING to help her father, and her father made it clear that he knew that when he was asked what she was doing and he said, “She’s searching for an identity.” In other words it was all always all about her, and she was using him. It seems to me that it may have been precisely that which precipitated her father’s suicide. And yet she continues to build her “career” on other people’s suffering. Not as a healer, a doctor, but as a "story teller. " Well, she’s not needed. She should shut up, go home and be very ashamed. She DOESN’T acknowledge her faults. She perpetuates and skims over them.