How one grieving father shared his son's struggle with schizophrenia to raise awareness about mental illness

Gabriel Mitchell (Chicago Tribune)Gabriel Thomas Mitchell didn't always find it easy to live in this world – but while he was here, he made a lasting contribution to art.

After Mitchell's death on June 24, 2012, his father wrote a story for the Chicago Tribune, one that's deeply moving – and, for those who have loved ones living with mental illness, perhaps all too familiar. He chronicled his son's struggle with schizophrenia, detailing the highs and lows for both Gabriel and his family, and helping demystify mental illness.

But the story isn't just about schizophrenia. It's also the tale of a creative and driven filmmaker who brought joy not only to his family, but to the friends, fellow artists, and complete strangers who watched his films. Many of those films are available on Mitchell's website,

W.J.T. Mitchell's article about his son can't have been easy to write in the wake of his son’s death. We're grateful to him for sharing his grief, his son's creativity – and for striving to help his readers understand mental illness.

Find information and advice on recognizing and coping with mental illness