The experiences of young people living with mental health conditions in “Hiding in Plain Sight” – continues June 28 at 9 pm

Posted on:

< < Back to


Premieres June 27 and 28 at 9 p.m. on PBS

Ken Burns Presents a Film by Erik Ewers and Christopher Loren Ewers Exploring Today’s Youth Mental Health Crisis Through First-Person Stories of Young People

Two-Part Film is a Cornerstone of Public Media’s Well Beings Campaign to

Demystify and Destigmatize our Physical and Mental Health

Through Storytelling


KEN BURNS PRESENTS HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: YOUTH MENTAL ILLNESS A FILM BY ERIK EWERS AND CHRISTOPHER LOREN EWERS. The documentary about the mental health crisis among youth in America, will premiere on PBS stations nationwide on June 27 and 28, 2022 at 9:00 p.m. on PBS, and the PBS Video app. The two-part, four-hour film is part of Well Beings, a national campaign from public media to demystify and destigmatize our physical and mental health through storytelling. A preview of the film, with a special message from executive producer Ken Burns, is available at

native american teen girl sitting in living room
Alexis is a college student from the Chippewa tribe in North Dakota.

HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: YOUTH MENTAL ILLNESS features first-person accounts from more than 20 young people, ranging in age from 11 to 27, who live with mental health conditions, as well as parents, teachers, friends, healthcare providers in their lives, and independent mental health experts. The film presents an unvarnished window into daily life with mental health challenges, from seemingly insurmountable obstacles to stories of hope and resilience. Through the experiences of these young people, the film confronts the issues of stigma, discrimination, awareness, and silence, and, in doing so, help advance a shift in the public perception of mental health issues today.

“We interviewed a diverse group of courageous young people from across the country with a range of diagnoses who spoke openly with us, and shared intimate, and often painful, details of their mental health journeys,” said directors and co-producers Erik Ewers and Christopher Loren Ewers. “We hope that by bringing these experiences to a broadcast and online audience, our film will help shed light on how commonplace — how truly universal — mental health challenges are, and encourage other young people who are struggling to seek help. As the pandemic has made clear, caring for the mental health of kids, teenagers, and young adults is more vital than ever.”

The film includes the following individuals with lived experience of mental health challenges:

  • A teenager who surrenders to addiction at the age of 15
  • A young Native American woman who feels so isolated she contemplates suicide
  • A transgender teen who goes through periods of profound joylessness and substance abuse
  • A high school freshman whose childhood hallucinations intensify after a series of assaults
  • A 14-year-old boy who is plagued by intrusive thoughts and withdraws into his own world
a clinical therapist sitting on couch
Kee Dunning is a licensed clinical mental-health therapist in Billings, Montana.

“We hope that this film will save lives. As a society, we continue to test the resiliency of youth without truly understanding how the stresses of today, including this unprecedented pandemic, are impacting them,” said executive producer Ken Burns. “Erik and Christopher and their team set out to listen and learn from America’s young people, documenting their experiences and allowing them to share how they are identifying new ways to address mental health challenges. It is a remarkable journey that captures the unique voices of these young people as they navigate an extraordinarily difficult era in our country’s history.”

The documentary HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: YOUTH MENTAL ILLNESS is a central part of Well Beings, the multi-year, multiplatform health campaign including other feature-length documentaries, short-form original digital content, user-generated storytelling, a digital and social media campaign, community events, and educational curriculum created by WETA with support from a broad coalition of national and local partners. The public can join the conversation on youth mental health by using #PlainSightPBS and #WellBeings, visiting, or following @WellBeingsOrg on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: YOUTH MENTAL ILLNESS will be available for streaming concurrent with broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including and the PBS Video app, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. PBS station members can view many series, documentaries and specials via PBS Passport. For more information about PBS Passport, visit the PBS Passport FAQ website.