“Heather: Forensic Mental Health Success Stories” is a short and lovely video telling the story of a woman who was involved in the mental health forensic care system in Canada.
With beautifully rendered drawings illustrating Heather’s tale in a storybook titled “Dear Sam,” she reads her tale aloud to her son, with the saga unfolding page by page.
Heather begins to have hallucinations and hear voices, and at first doctors can’t help her. One day a voice tells her to walk too close to a senior woman, and ends up knocking her to the ground. Police attend and arrest Heather.
She is taken to a forensic psychiatric hospital, where at first she feels lost and scared, but eventually she confides in a peer. Her story continues with custody issues – one of her sons stays with his father while the other goes to foster care, and she is unable to get him back.
After a year she is released and moved to a halfway home and begins visitations with her son, and in time they move into an apartment together and smiles return. She talks about her mental health recovery process, but mostly focuses on her love for her son, in a touching end to the story.
Heather’s story is part of a series of Forensic Mental Health Success Stories produced by Principal Investigator Dr. Jamie Livingston and videographer Stephanie Young, aiming to educate people about those who have achieved recovery and success after being found “Not Criminally Responsible” in court due to a mental disorder.