2020 Digital Storytelling Contest, Long, 2nd Prize

A Different Kind of Force – Policing Mental Illness


Ed Ou/Kitra Cahana/NBC News

U.S. law enforcement officers are increasingly the first responders to incidents involving people with mental illness, but often lack the training to appropriately deal with these already-charged situations. In the San Antonio Police Department, a special plainclothes unit is trained specifically to handle mental health calls. Shot over several weeks, A Different Kind of Force — Policing Mental Illness gained incredible access to a 10-person unit responding to mental health related calls. Unflinching, intimate, and visceral, A Different Kind of Force – Policing Mental Illness gives an insight into the complex relationships between those living with mental illness, their loved ones, and the police.

This is part of a longer documentary that was published with NBC Left Field, see the full film here.

Production team

    Director/Cinematographer: Ed Ou

    Director/Cinematographer: Kitra Cahana

    Editor/Story Producer: Jonathan Ade

    Music: William Ryan Fritch

    Managing Editor: Bob Bikel

    Executive Producer: Catherine Kim

    Researcher: Chloe Tsang

    Production Assistant: Julia Lee

    Production Assistant: Emily Fleming