Segments in this Video

A Dangerous Son: Introduction (03:40)


One out of ten children suffers from severe emotional disturbance. Liza Long and Senator Creigh Deeds describe the difficulty of obtaining psychiatric help. (Credits)

Anger Issues and Violent Tendencies (03:31)

Stacy Shapiro is frustrated with the constant lectures she receives about her son. Ethan cannot control his anger. In Los Angeles, Vontae writes about his desire to be violent against himself and others.

Sandy Hook Elementary (03:48)

Liza Long wrote a blog post called "I am Adam Lanza's Mother," expressing fear about her child. Andrew Solomon describes how raising an emotionally disturbed child could happen to anyone. Shapiro takes her children to visit her sister.

Uncontrollable Rages (03:41)

Eric Long goes into psychotic rages and does not remember what occurs. Shapiro describes how Ethan will threaten to kill others. The state deems Ethan "in crisis" and places him on a waiting list for residential treatment.

Residential Treatment (07:03)

In the 1960s, reform led to the state closing mental hospitals; there are less than 60,000 beds available for severe mental illness. In Aurora, Colorado, Brian Tallent treats William, a child on the autism spectrum and afflicted with schizoaffective disorder. Edie will be entering a residential treatment facility.

L.A. County Regulations (04:42)

Long states that some parents need to sign their children over to the state for them to receive care. Vontae threatens to shoot a teacher. Dr. Tony Beliz describes the protocol for the Psychiatric Mobile Response Team.

Seeking Mental Health Treatment (06:04)

Dr. Beliz brainstorms with other supervisors how to get help for Vontae. William does not want to enter residential treatment and acts uncontrollably; Edie calls the police.

Facility Placement (04:25)

After a four-month wait, Community Crisis Stabilization Services offers a place to Ethan. Doctors diagnosed him with ADHD, ADD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and placed him on the autism spectrum. Shapiro tells her son he will be living at CCSS.

Entering Residential Treatment (05:55)

William processes his residential treatment experience by role-playing with a stuffed animal. Shapiro drives Ethan to Lakewood. Edie says goodbye to William.

Mental Illness Is Taboo (04:45)

Parents describe how communities rally around families who have children afflicted with cancer. Vontae's mother struggles with getting him adequate help. After three months at CCSS, the staff determines Ethan should remain there for another 90 days.

Behavioral Changes (05:13)

Deeds describes his son's behavior. Vontae lives in a group home after he was caught lighting fires in the hallway of his apartment building. His mother must pay for the damages.

Family Dynamics (05:23)

Shapiro calls Ethan to see how he is doing at the residential treatment center. Siblings of mentally ill children discuss their relationships with their parents.

Leaving Residential Treatment (03:49)

Shapiro prepares for Ethan to arrive and wants the family to have a fresh start. Elexa hopes her brother does not beat her up. Ethan arrives home and reads new rules for the house.

Declining Stability (05:20)

William started off well-behaved but gradually became more uncontrollable. Deeds' son stabbed him and then killed himself. He blames the hospital for not finding him a bed after he became suicidal.

Behavioral Outburst (05:45)

Ethan threatens to kill his mother after being home for six hours. Vontae runs away from the group home and gets apprehended by police.

Improving Behavior (03:47)

William believes he will one day be incarcerated. Ethan's behavior improved after learning his mother was pregnant.

Family Welfare (06:47)

Cora sent Vontae to live with his aunt because social services determined he was a threat to her other children. Edie worries about William committing suicide but is cautiously hopeful. Experts discuss the need for treatment to become a reality; hear an update on the children.

Credits: A Dangerous Son (01:58)

Credits: A Dangerous Son

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A Dangerous Son

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One in 10 American children suffers from a serious emotional disturbance and over 17 million have experienced a psychiatric disorder. Directed by award-winning filmmaker Liz Garbus, A Dangerous Son focuses primarily on three families in crisis, each struggling with a child’s severe mental illness and desperately seeking treatment in the face of limited resources and support. Interspersed with interviews with mental-health experts and advocates—including Dr. Thomas Insel, former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, and Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree—the film highlights the cycle of counselor visits, medications, hospitalizations and encounters with law enforcement (calling the police is too often a heart-wrenching last resort for parents). The guilt and isolation parents feel can be overwhelming, as is the constant worry that their child may harm themselves or others. And while treatment can greatly improve outcomes, appropriate care is a luxury only for those who can afford it, or who happen to live in states with free or affordable treatment. An intimate look at childhood psychiatric disorders, A Dangerous Son exposes the cracks in a system that fails too many families, with potentially devastating consequences.

Length: 86 minutes

Item#: BVL150690

Copyright date: ©2018

Closed Captioned

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