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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Department of Health and Human Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

Last Updated: 6/22/2012

SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)


Fine Line
San Antonio , Texas

Start Date

Brief Description
Fine Line is a documentary of voices, stories, and portraits that confront stereotypes and reveal the courage and fragility of those living with mental illnesses. The traveling multimedia exhibition, created by photographer Michael Nye, was completed in 2004 and had its debut opening at the Witte Museum in San Antonio, Texas.

Mental illness is too wide, deep, and complex to define. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the standard reference for psychiatry in the United States, includes over 300 different manifestations of mental illnesses. For many, it is painful to be labeled and misunderstood. Today, thousands of individuals with mental illnesses do not have financial support for care and treatment.

Photographer Michael Nye spent 4 years photographing and recording stories. He compiled 55 black-and-white portraits and 55 audio stories. Mounted between each portrait is a wooden box containing an audio player and instructions. The viewer can listen to each story with headphones. The stories range from 4 to 6 minutes each. Fine Line asks each person viewing the exhibit to listen carefully, throw away their old definitions of mental illness, and start over. The exhibit addresses schizophrenia, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, bipolar disorders, and many other illnesses while exploring topics such as family, confusion, pain, abuse, treatment, and healing.

Fine Linehas traveled to over 40 cities. Many sites have used this exhibit as the centerpiece for lectures, school field trips, panel discussions, educational material, fundraising, radio programs and other community activities.

For more information on Fine Line, including rental prices and availability, contact Michael Nye; phone: 210–476–0497; e-mail: ; Web site:

To view the exhibit click here.


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This Web site was developed under contract with the Office of Consumer Affairs in SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. The views, opinions, and content provided on this Web site do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or HHS. The resources listed in this Web site are not all-inclusive and inclusion on this Web site does not constitute an endorsement by SAMHSA or HHS.