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New Drama on TVONE Addresses Mental Illness

TVONE has taken on the task of putting the spotlight on mental illness in families. With it’s new drama “The Secret She Kept” (TVONE July 10, 7pm ET), the network uses author ReShonda Tate Billingsley’s novel to shine a spotlight on the effects on mental illness that many families merely brush aside.

SSK_768x432Kyla Pratt (Recovery Road, One on One, The Proud Family, Dr Dolittle) Stars as beautiful, high-powered attorney Tia Jiles.,  who has been married to the man of her dreams, successful magazine executive Lance Kingston ( Gavin Houston, The Haves and the Have Nots, Guiding Light), and is on the brink of launching a major political campaign when a pattern of erratic behavior uncovers a secret: she is suffering from Bi-polar disorder, a mental illness.

The movie follows Tia(Pratt) and how the effects that this illness has not only on her life, but the lives of those connected to her. It touches on a subject that man families brush under the rug. It is a subject that African American families tend to keep behind closed doors.

“I Wanted to put the focus on mental illness in families.” says Billingsley. “We’ll go get treated for diabetes, but we won’t get treated if our mind is sick. If someone in our family has cancer, the family rallies around them, but if someone has mental illness, he or she is shunned, put in the back room and trivialized as just “crazy”.

“I am grateful ‘The Secret She Kept’ has been turned into a movie.” she continues. “While the book did exceptionally well, the platform TV One provides will hopefully get more people talking about what so many people see as a dirty little secret.”

The movie provides a thought- provoking and inspirational story which addresses how far to go to save a loved one when they’ve kept a dangerous secret for years. It’s a question facing Lance (Houston) whose recent marriage to Tia (Pratt) seemed to promise a bright future for both of them. But under the surface, a fierce and frightening storm was brewing. That’s because Tia never revealed to Lance what she and her family, especially her mother Virginia Scroggins Jiles played by Kellita Smith (Z Nation, The Bernie Mac Show, The First Family), have known since Tia was seventeen: she has an illness that takes over her mind, transforming her into a woman struggling with bi-polar and schizoaffective disorder both privately and publicly.

The movie is coming out during the Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (July) which was announced in May 2008 by the U.S. House of Representatives to enhance public awareness of mental illness and mental illness among minorities.

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