KINGS PARK: Stories from an American Mental Institution captures the rapidly vanishing history of our public mental health care system and the legacy of deinstitutionalization, asking “how do our past decisions concerning the treatment of people with mental health conditions influence and shape policy and practice today and into the future?”
On June 21, 1967, at the age of 17, award-winning filmmaker Lucy Winer was committed to the female violent ward of Kings Park State Hospital following a series of failed suicide attempts. Over 30 years later, Lucy returns to Kings Park for the first time since her discharge. Her journey back sparks a decade-long effort to face her past and learn the story of the now abandoned institution that once held her captive. Her meetings with other former “patients,” their families, and the hospital staff, reveal the painful legacy of our state hospital system and the crisis left by its demise.