Watch: Waiting for Tearah Spotlights How Our Children Are Languishing in Mental Health Facilities Far From Home

To honor Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 6-12) , Frontline PBS and Firelight Media have partnered with The Root to bring you Waiting for Tearah, a short documentary by Juliana Schatz Preston.

Waiting for Tearah tells the story of one African-American family’s struggle to navigate America’s dysfunctional mental healthcare system. Tearah, then 16 years old and dysregulated, languished in a psychiatric emergency room for months. She was then transferred to another psych facility in another state more than 90 miles away from her home in Hartford, Conn., where there was a perfectly suitable place to meet her needs.

As with most things in healthcare, it comes down to money and who would pay.

On Wednesday, The Root will talk to Shayna Wilson, Tearah’s mother, as well as Preston, the inaugural recipient of the Frontline/Firelight Investigative Journalism Fellowship, which aims to address the need for more diverse perspectives and experiences within the field of investigative journalism.


Until then, please watch Waiting for Tearah and share your thoughts below.

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About the author

Angela Helm

Ms. Bronner Helm is a Contributing Editor at The Root. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.