Shattered Families
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United States
Release Year & TMFF Edition:
2016 - July-August 2016
50 minutes
TMFF Awards:
July-August Nominee - Best Feature Film
Stephen Seager


Original Title: Shattered Families: the Collapse of America’s Mental Health System

“Shattered Families” is my family’s attempt to change America’s national mental health disaster. Congress seems unable to fix it. Neither do the states. So my wife, son and I, decided to do something ourselves. We decided to make this movie. Here’s the premise: In 1959 there were 350,000 Americans with serious mental illness all getting treatment in hospitals. The word “homeless mentally ill” didn’t exist. No mentally ill persons were in jail or prison. There had been one mass shooting in the past decade. Move forward to the 21at century. In America today there are 350,000 sick persons rotting on our urban streets. 1.2 million mentally sick people languish in our jails and prisons. There is a mass shooting every day. What happened? Our movie “Shattered Families” tells that story. It tells the story of our national mental health system nightmare through the eyes of the families that have been devastated by our national failings. Know this: the system of total neglect we have today, was planned. This disaster was done on purpose. As one mother says, “The system was planned to fail and it does. So your child either ends up in the gutter or the morgue.” We offer solutions to the problem as well.



  • Janet

    Oh how I can relate. Thank you.

  • Suzanne Jensen

    Powerful, insightful, incredibly and painfully accurate portrayal of the truly fractured and shattered families of seriously mentally ill loved ones….this is what TOTAL “System” FAILURE looks and feels like……kudos to Dr. Seagar for telling our stories so truthfully and honestly! Long may it stay in circulation and may it be shown far and wide…..#hopingitbringsgreatchangetoSMI

  • Suzanne Jensen

    Sorry…..should be Dr. Seager and not Dr. Seagar!

  • Joanie Springer

    Such an important movie…..which needs to be widely distributed and viewed. If our current culture of mass killings and rampant homelessness doesn’t move the human heart to respond, then we are a lost civilization. As Dr. Seager states in his movie, it will take a grassroots movement – bottom up – to make the changes that are desperately needed. No one chooses to be mentally ill, it is deeply hidden within a person, and thus deeply misunderstood and mistreated. It is way past time to make medical help available to those afflicted.

  • Robin Duffey

    The truth and nothing but the truth! As the mother of a man with paranoid schizophrenia I relate to this film in a very deep way. I must say it’s about time someone as caring and knowledgeable as Dr. Seager told the truth. What is wrong with our law makers in the US, and what is it going to take to make an everlasting change to help our very sick children? The facts and the truth were told in this amazing film.

  • DJ Jaffe

    Terrific film that really touches all the bases beautifully.

  • Janet Hays

    5 stars!!! Great documentary film that describes the broken mental health care system perfectly and what needs to happen to fix it.
    Captivating, really informative and well done.

  • Anthony hernandez

    Such a tragedy..our county is in a crisis.
    We need mental health reform now… TTT

  • Amy Yannello

    This should be required viewing for all elected officials: county, state, and federal, who deal in mental health policy, as well as sheriffs and police chiefs across the country, imo, as well as shared in and among our church circles and community groups.

    To acknowledge where we are, we must acknowledge from whence we came and see the two are one and the same. Dr. Seager brings this home for us in vivid detail and unassailable facts: The “system of care” as it is today is purposeful and determined indifference and neglect. The results are death, homelessness, and incarceration of the seriously ill the likes of which is seen in no other industrialized nation. We know we can do better; the imperative is that we must.
    The question is: How many more “shattered families” are we willing to sacrifice to the “system” of the status quo?
    Dr. Seager and his speakers’ stories urge changemakers and policychangers into bold action.
    Let everyone heed their call.

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