The Open Door is a public information film from the 1960s encouraging the use of mental health services in the region of Derry. It is empathetically told from the point of view of a fictional character, burdened with the stresses of modern life, who checks himself into the Gransha Psychiatric Hospital, and emerges after six weeks of treatment with renewed optimism about returning to his regular life.
Written and directed by John Hume, new hospitals such as the Gransha are shown as modern and comfortable facilities, far removed from the days when patients were incarcerated in cells. The staff are trained in all relevant aspects of modern healthcare, using occupational, industrial and recreational therapies to improve the confidence and communication skills of their patients, as well as religion, sport and entertainment to lift their spirits.
The man playing the patient is in fact an ambulance driver named William Jarvis, and the other patients on screen were played by staff members of the Gransha hospital with entertainment officer of the facility Roger O’Doherty on the crew as production supervisor.
This film is part of The Terence McDonald Collection. To watch more of the collection click here.