Carol Marin Report – Phil Donahue Show, February 25th, 1980

Carol Marin @ 11:40:28

0:05Copy video clip URL A vintage commercial for “eagle DISCOUNT SUPERMARKETS.” Some visual static.

0:33Copy video clip URL A campaign commercial for George H.W. Bush’s first Presidential Campaign, with Bush speaking to reporters amid red, white, and blue fanfare in an indoor basketball court, with his supporters sitting in rows of red stadium seats. Some of the supporters can be seen wearing classic, firm, white and flat straw hats with red, white, and blue ribbons around them. Additionally, when Bush is shown speaking to reporters, a stage with a very large American flag prominently mounted behind it can be seen. 

1:05Copy video clip URL WGN TV Chicago station logo and introduction. 

1:16Copy video clip URL Phil Donahue introduces the program then turns to Rae Unzicker, President of the Mental Health Association of South Dakota, and asks her when she “first felt real bad.” 

1:44Copy video clip URL Unzicker discusses having disassociation during her childhood, telling him about her past struggles with mental health that followed her into her collegiate years – including being admitted into a mental health facility and using and abusing prescription drugs. 

3:39Copy video clip URL Unzicker mentions that the mental health facility she was at in her past was in Kansas – and that the only therapy she got was “washing dishes for six hours a day, for one dollar a month”. She also mentions how she was held naked for weeks at a time in solitary confinement, and that she wasn’t allowed to call or write to any family members or friends. She then goes on to state that even with these grim realties – Kansas was held up (at the time of the original broadcast), to be one of the most “progressive” states in the US when it came to mental health treatment. However, she makes it known that she disagrees with this assessment. 

4:05Copy video clip URL Unzicker states with emphasizing hand gestures, that, “Once you get into the mental health system, you don’t get out. It becomes a pattern.” Unzicker discusses how she was “forced to take drugs” when she was in the mental health system – including by her own admission, being “thrown on the floor and given injections” if she refused to take them. Some visual static. 

4:56Copy video clip URL Donahue speaks to Janet Gotkin, who experienced the mental health system in New York City. Janet discusses how she first went into the mental health system when she was in college. 

5:39Copy video clip URL Gotkin continues her story by explaining how she went to New York City to visit her parents, and after almost one year of mental health treatment – she slit her wrists. Gotkin states that “suicide attempts are one of the big ways that people get involved in the (mental health) system.” 

6:19Copy video clip URL Gotkin explains that while the intent of the mental heath hospitalization system is a positive one, the reality of being a patient in within this system is not. She states that what patients undergo in the system are, “drugging, electroshock (electroshock therapy), institutionalization, infantilization, and so that in a very short while, you become a professional mental patient.” 

7:11Copy video clip URL Gotkin on the type of people that work in hospitals: “They vary tremendously. But I think the important thing to realize is that the system promotes perhaps the worst in people – because it sets up a power structure where people are helpless within the institutions, and other people have complete power and control over their lives”. 

7:30Copy video clip URL Gotkin states, “Rae and I are so far from unique that it should stagger everybody’s imagination.”

8:01Copy video clip URL Donahue introduces Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times Reporter Wendell Rawls, Jr., author of the book Cold Storage, based on the investigative reporting he did on at the Fairview Mental Health Institution in Pennsylvania. 

8:41Copy video clip URL Donahue introduces Chris Hansen, attorney for the New York Civil Liberties Union, who deals with legal cases relating to abuse within the mental health system, and Alan Stone, President of the American Psychiatric Association. 9:54Copy video clip URL Commercial break.

10:34Copy video clip URL A “Johnson’s Baby Powder, from Johnson and Johnson” commercial. 

11:06Copy video clip URL A “Sanka Brand Decaffeinated Coffee” commercial. 

11:36Copy video clip URL A commercial for “Mary Kitchem’s Roast Beef Hash” and “Mary Kitchem’s Corn Beef Hash by Hormel.” 

12:07Copy video clip URL A “PEARLE VISION CENTER” commercial.

13:00Copy video clip URL Rawls discusses what he saw at Fairview regarding the treatment of mental patients. He mentions that patients were “beaten, kicked, and often died,” with the hospital then “certifying them as victims of a heart attack.” Rawls states that there were “fourteen-hundred plus” patients at its height, all of them male and half of them Black, with no Black guards or physicians. Out of a total of five hundred employees, the sole Black employee worked in the kitchen. 

14:00Copy video clip URL Rawls states that the White guards commonly and openly used racial slurs against Black patients and that the few Hispanic patients that were there were not offered the option of conversing in Spanish by hospital staff at all, and that no physician there was properly certified. 

14:39Copy video clip URL Rawls discusses an unnamed man who was sentenced to a mental health facility for thirty days for “disturbing the peace” but was kept there for over thirty years. 

15:20Copy video clip URL Rawls states that even after charges against patients based on “suspicion of” crimes, these patients would still be confined to these mental hospitals over twenty years after the charges were dropped. Additionally, Wendell mentions that the state-required regular psychiatric examinations were never in fact performed, causing patients to be held for decades after any and all legal charges agains them were dropped. 

15:36Copy video clip URL Rawls states that outside psychiatrists would be hired by Fairview for $25/day, spending a maximum of five minutes with each patient. 

16:07Copy video clip URL Fairview guards staging “human cockfights,” forcing patients to fight each other. 

16:40Copy video clip URL A back and white photo is shown on screen of the horrendous conditions faced by mental health patients.

16:44Copy video clip URL Hansen discusses a patient he’d witnessed who had been shackled in solitary confinement for thirteen years straight. 

17:15Copy video clip URL More photographs of alarming conditions. Rawls notes that none of the guards wore name tags, so patients could not report the guards. Lax security and “readily-accessible” pills, drugs, and alcohol. 

19:06Copy video clip URL Hansen states that in the State of New York there were countless people confined for long periods of time in mental hospitals who had not committed any crimes, but were there because someone else thought they should be locked up there. Advocating for abolishing “the power of psychiatrists to lock people up.” 

21:45Copy video clip URL Stone confirms these accounts of abuse and neglect at Fairview and other institutions for the “criminally insane.” Stone then states that patients in mental institutions were placed there by judges with the testimony of psychiatrists. 

26:37Copy video clip URL Phil introduces Kenneth Donaldson, who won a U.S. Supreme Court case against the institution at which he was incarcerated, a decision that was key in asserting the rights of mental patients. . 

29:16Copy video clip URL A commercial for “Gorton’s Fish Sticks and Filets.” 

29:46Copy video clip URL A commercial for “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – Live on Stage.” 

30:16Copy video clip URL A commercial for “Two-Thousand Flushes Toilet Cleaner.” 

30:46Copy video clip URL A commercial for a crime show called “Cell Block H.” 



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