In February 1997, Edmond Yu (right), a psychiatric survivor who was experiencing a mental health crisis, was shot and killed by Toronto police following an altercation on a city transit bus. Award-winning Toronto producer-director and documentary filmmaker, Laura Sky, created the documentary film Crisis Call on Yu’s case. The film addresses the critical issues facing police, legal experts, mental health workers, the public and psychiatric patients and poses the question: “What can be done to prevent a mental health crisis from escalating into violence?” For answers Sky talked to police, psychiatric survivors, and many others involved in crisis interventions. Crisis Call documents their candid, often compelling stories as they challenge the current system and search for solutions.
The goal of the film is to encourage dialogue and information sharing among everyone involved in crisis interventions. The film presents first-hand experiences of those involved in the shooting of Yu, including Andria Cowan – one of three Toronto police officers who responded to the situation involving Yu. Sky interviews several survivors of psychiatric crises and those involved in dealing with psychiatric patients. There is a stark visit to the Montreal Detention Centre which reveals the disturbing conditions within its psychiatric unit. The filmmaker also meet Sergeant Alan McKenzie, Thunder Bay Emergency Task Unit (ETU), during a tense and vivid ETU training exercise that ends with a successfully negotiated surrender.
Sky will screen her film at York on Jan. 31 at 4:30pm in Stedman Lecture Hall F on the Keele campus. Following the film, Sky will give a presentation about making Crisis Call which will be followed by a short question and answer period.
The screening and presentation are sponsored by Heathy YU, and the Urban Studies, Criminology, Nursing, Critical Disability Studies, Health & Society and Social Science programs at York. For more information on Crisis Call, visit http://www.islandnet.com/mm/events/crisis.htm.