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Holliswood Hospital CEO aims to debunk mental health myths

While care for individuals with psychiatric conditions has become better in recent decades, public attitudes toward people with mental disorders remain unhealthy. Jeffrey Borenstein, the CEO of Holliswood Hospital, a psychiatric facility in Jamaica Estates, hopes to change that.

Borenstein said a pervasive culture of fear surrounds mental health disorders and he aims to debunk the stigma of such psychiatric conditions as schizophrenia, eating disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder through “Healthy Minds,” the television show he will host on WLIW, a public television channel, beginning Nov. 2 at 9:30 a.m.

“There are a lot of misconceptions among the general public, and television is an extraordinary way to reach out to the public and share important information,” said Borenstein, also the medical director at Holliswood.

“On the show, we have experts in the field who share cutting−edge information about treatment and research, and we also have people who are recovering from various psychiatric conditions share their experiences,” he said. “The combination of those two aspects really helps to inform people about psychiatric conditions.”

Now in its second season, the show will air weekly Sundays at 9:30 a.m. Borenstein will launch the show with a two−part program on autism, during which five families with children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder will share their experiences from the time they learned of the diagnoses to early intervention and treatment.

“Autism is such an important topic and it affects so many families,” Borenstein said of the developmental disorder, which affects about two to six individuals per 1,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Following the piece on autism, the rest of the episodes in the 13−part series will cover schizophrenia, recovery from abuse, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, chemical dependency, post−traumatic stress disorder, neurogenesis and troubled teens.

Guests such as NY1 report Dominic Carter, a victim of child abuse, and Eric Kandel, who won a Nobel Prize in 2000 for physiology and medicine, will make appearances on the show.

A slew of other individuals will appear on the show, from journalist Bill Moyers’ son, William Moyers, who struggled to cope with alcoholism, to Karen Simmons, author of “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Children with Special Needs,” who has a son with autism.

“The show has opened up conversations among family members that they might have otherwise not had,” Borenstein said. “My hope is that people who may be experiencing a psychiatric condition don’t suffer in silence, that they seek help. With help, there’s hope.”

All episodes will stream in their entirety at wliw.org⁄healthyminds.

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