ABOUT

THE STORY

Richard Ruston was afflicted with paranoid schizophrenia before his daughter Delaney Ruston’s birth. After many years of shame, frustration, and fear, she decided to hide from her father and keep her phone number and address unlisted. But now, 10 years later, Richard is more stable on a newer medicine and Delaney, given her experiences as a doctor and a mother, decides to reconnect with her father. What new understanding and acceptance of her dad and his illness can she now find? What obstacles to getting her dad treatment will she now face? Knowing that her earlier failed attempts to get needed treatment to her dad is a common occurrence in today’s starved mental health system, Delaney decides to bring her camera with her during this journey of reconciliation.

As the story unfolds, Delaney finds that the wall she has created between her and her dad starts to slowly crumble as she applies her medical understanding of her dad’s illness to their tormented past. By meeting with people involved in her father’s life, past and present, and by referring to her father’s autobiographically based novel that he wrote during the onset of his schizophrenia, Delaney begins to better understand her father’s world and how she can now be a part of it.But this journey is not without strain as Delaney faces the conflicts around caring for her father that have existed since her youth. Delaney must confront family members who each hold strong opinions about her responsibility to her dad and she must face the constant tension of her dad wanting to go off treatment. When he finally does, Delaney finds herself on a race against time that is a matter of life and death.
Sharing touching and at times painful details about the personal toll of mental illness, Unlisted: A Story of Schizophrenia is a soul-searching examination into the nature of responsibility—of parents and children, of physicians and patients, of society and citizens towards those afflicted with severe mental illness.
"This is an outstanding film that should be seen by anyone who has a loved one, friend or relative with mental illness. In other words, just about everyone."
Amnon Shoenfeld
Director of King County's Mental Health Services
"Unflinching in its candor, Unlisted, reminds me of the incredible power that one compelling story can have in shaping the way we think about major societal issues."
Helene Gayle
former President of CARE

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THE FILMMAKER

Delaney Ruston is a filmmaker, Stanford trained physician and mother of two. Through her company, MyDoc Productions, Delaney has made other award-winning documentaries on mental health along with UNLISTED, such as HIDDEN PICTURES, about global mental health. HIDDEN PICTURES was filmed in China, India, France, South Africa and the US and was screened in multiple film festivals, by 141 organizations on World Mental Health Day and aired nationally on PBS. Delaney went on to create the award-wining film SCREENAGERS: Growing Up In The Digital Age. The film has thus far brought together over 4 million kids and adults in community screenings in 70 countries. In 2019 she released Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER: Uncovering Skills For Stress Resilience.

Throughout her education at Cornell University, Stanford Medical School and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) for residency, Ruston studied many aspects of filmmaking, with a particular focus on film as a vehicle for social change. She made her first award-winning short film while she was doing her medicine residency at UCSF. She continued on at UCSF as a Fellow in Ethics and Communication. While on the faculty at the University of Washington in Seattle, Delaney participated in a National Endowment for The Arts funded filmmaking program. Later she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to make films in India about community mental health workers.

Recently she was faculty at Stony Brook Medicine in the Center for Medical Humanities, Bioethics and Compassionate Care. Currently Ruston lives in Seattle where she splits her time between providing care to the underserved, filmmaking and advocacy, including writing her weekly blog, Tech Talk Tuesday.

Ruston has been invited to speak and screen these and other films to hundreds of audiences in diverse settings around the world–such as at schools, conferences, medical centers, universities, the United Nations, Google, TED stages and the World Health Organization. For her work in using film in launching advocacy movements, Delaney has won several awards, including from Mental Health America, Fountain House in New York, and Harvard’s Mclean Hospital. 

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