Welcome to The New Social Worker's Blog

The New Social Worker is the quarterly magazine for social work students and recent graduates, focusing on social work careers for those new to the profession. This blog is a companion to the free online magazine at http://www.socialworker.com.

Monday, May 4, 2009

NAMI and The Soloist

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 the release of the movie 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."

I saw the movie a week ago, when it first came out. It is an important story of homelessness, mental illness, friendship, and music, and I thought the actors did an incredible job of portraying the two main characters, Nathaniel Ayers and Steve Lopez. Also, I read that many of the people in the movie were people who are homeless in real life, playing themselves. I noticed this in the credits--that the characters' names were the same as the actors'.

I learned after seeing the movie that some of it was fictionalized. I also learned that there is a foundation in his name, with the mission to "support arts programs at mental health and arts organizations that serve the mentally ill."

I want to know more about Nathaniel Anthony Ayers' story (he once was a promising young Juilliard student) and the relationship between him and LA Times writer Steve Lopez. I am planning to read the book. Anybody want to read it with me?


  1. I would LOVE to read it with you. I'm a new SW - just finished my MSW yesterday! Email me. jen@candela.us :)

  2. Jen, congrats on your graduation! I'll e-mail you. For anyone who wants to read The Soloist, we are starting "The New Social Worker Book Club," and this is our first selection. I'll post more about this later.