Bipolarised: Rethinking Mental Illness (2014)


Bipolarised: Rethinking Mental Illness is a 2014 documentary by director Rita Kotzia.

Challenges conventional wisdom about mental illness and drug therapy through the raw personal journey of a man diagnosed as bipolar.


This documentary is about one man’s personal journey to heal. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Ross’ psychiatrist told him he would live with the disorder for the rest of his life and that he would have to take lithium to control symptoms. To Ross, taking the drug daily felt like a chemical lobotomy, leaving him in a foggy, drug-induced haze. Ross ultimately decided to resolve his symptoms outside of conventional medicine. He progressively reduced his use of the psychotropic drug lithium, at an experimental clinic in Costa Rica. What ensued was a self-exploration into alternative treatments to treat his condition and a journey delving into the root cause of his mental breakdown. The film uses Ross’ personal experiences to tell a larger story about medication. It will reveal how we are labelling more and more people with mental illnesses and how, in tandem, we are prescribing more and more toxic psychotropic drugs to treat these illnesses. It weaves together a series of interviews with activists, psychiatrists and other psychiatric survivors who have challenged the status quo as well as recounts some of the alternative therapies Ross uses to maintain his mental, emotional and physical health.


  • Ross McKenzie … Self.
  • David Goldbloom … Self / Professor of Psychiatry.
  • Peter Levine … Self / Writer.
  • Gwen Olsen … Self / Pharmaceutical rep.
  • Charles Whitfield … Self / Psychotherapist.
  • Robert Whittaker … Self / Journalist.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Rita Kotzia.
  • Producer(s):
    • Noelle Kim Chalifoux … producer.
    • Gordon Henderson … producer.
    • Rita Kotzia … producer.
  • Writer(s):
    • Gordon Henderson … (writer).
    • Rita Kotzia … (writer).
  • Music:
  • Cinematography:
  • Editor(s):
  • Production:
  • Distributor(s):
  • Release Date: April 2014.
  • Running Time: 77 minutes.
  • Rating: TV-MA.
  • Country: Canada.
  • Language: English.

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