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Documentary chronicles psych ward stay

A new documentary about a former patient’s return to the now-closed Kings Park state psychiatric hospital is scheduled to screen Monday at the Stony Brook Film Festival.

In “Kings Park: Stories from an American Mental Institution,” director Lucy Winer interviews former patients and staff, and she visits the ward where she spent a total of six months in 1967 and 1969 following several suicide attempts. The hospital closed in 1996.

In an interview, Winer, of Manhattan, called her time at the hospital “harrowing” and said making the film “was deeply healing.”

“I felt like I’d left a part of myself when I left, and it felt like -- I got to rescue that part of myself by going back and making this film,” Winer said.

Winer will attend the 7 p.m. screening at Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts. It is sold out, but $9 standby tickets are available.

Winer said she hopes to show the film on television and make it available to mental-health programs, in hopes of raising awareness about treatment of the mentally ill.

“I think this film can do a lot to lessen the stigma that exists,” Winer said.
 

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