April 23, 2009
Arlington, VA— The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has launched a new Web site, www.nami.org/soloist, as part of a social action campaign with Participant Media surrounding Friday’s release (April 24) of The Soloist, starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr.
"The movie will help humanize people who live with schizophrenia and are homeless," said NAMI executive director Mike Fitzpatrick. "It will help people look beyond stereotypes and create better understanding of the challenge for treatment and recovery."
"The mental health care system is in crisis. After people exit theaters and leave popcorn behind, we want to translate new awareness into action."
Schizophrenia is a mental illness that affects about 2 million Americans—twice the number living with HIV/AIDS.
The Soloist is based on the true story of the unlikely friendship between Nathaniel Ayers, a street musician living in Skid Row, and Steve Lopez, a columnist with the Los Angeles Times. In a series of columns, Lopez reports on Ayers’ journey as a gifted student from the Julliard School of Music to the streets of Los Angeles, living with schizophrenia.
On NAMI’s special Web site, visitors can: