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Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness

Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness

  • Premiered: 
    June 27, 2022
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: PBS
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Medical
  • Tags:

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Plot Synopsis

HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: YOUTH MENTAL ILLNESS is a two-part documentary about the mental health crisis among youth in America. Ken Burns presents this two-part, four-hour film by Erik Ewers and Christopher Loren Ewers, which is part of Well Beings, a national campaign from public media to demystify and destigmatize our physical and mental health through storytelling. HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: YOUTH MENTAL ILLNESS features first-person accounts from more than 20 young people, ranging in age from 11 to 27, who live with mental health conditions, as well as parents, teachers, friends, healthcare providers in their lives, and independent mental health experts. The film presents an unvarnished window into daily life with mental health challenges, from seemingly insurmountable obstacles to stories of hope and resilience. Through the experiences of these young people, the film confronts the issues of stigma, discrimination, awareness, and silence, and, in doing so, help advance a shift in the public perception of mental health issues today. The film includes the following individuals with lived experience of mental health challenges:

- A teenager who surrenders to addiction at the age of 15
- A young Native American woman who feels so isolated she contemplates suicide
- A transgender teen who goes through periods of profound joylessness and substance abuse
- A high school freshman whose childhood hallucinations intensify after a series of assaults
- A 14-year-old boy who is plagued by intrusive thoughts and withdraws into his own world

"We hope that this film will save lives. As a society, we continue to test the resiliency of youth without truly understanding how the stresses of today, including this unprecedented pandemic, are impacting them," said executive producer Ken Burns. "Erik and Christopher and their team set out to listen and learn from America's young people, documenting their experiences and allowing them to share how they are identifying new ways to address mental health challenges. It is a remarkable journey that captures the unique voices of these young people as they navigate an extraordinarily difficult era in our country's history."

HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: YOUTH MENTAL ILLNESS debuts on consecutive nights from 9-11pm on PBS (check local listings):

"The Storm" (Monday, June 27, 2022): The first installment focuses on the lived experience of more than twenty young people with mental health challenges, along with the observations and insights of families, providers, and advocates.

"Resilience" (Tuesday, June 28, 2022): In the finale, people speak about finding help, inpatient and outpatient therapy, the added stigma of racial or gender discrimination, the criminalization of mental illness, and youth suicide.


Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Florentine Films
  • Produced by Ewers Brothers Productions
  • Produced by WETA