In 2015, in the midst of widespread defunding of community mental health care programs across the country, in Chicago, the Cook County Jail has become a default treatment center for people living with mental illness.
While investigating the treatment of detainees, filmmaker Margaret Byrne befriends Angela, Dimitar and Daniel, participants in a mental health court probation program. Their friendship gives each of them the courage to be seen at their most vulnerable. In turn, Margaret begins to confront one of the most difficult periods of her life, culminating in a hospitalization for depression.
What begins as a heartfelt desire to accurately portray the lives of Angela, Dimitar and Daniel, forces Margaret to reckon with her own history of mental illness. Margaret’s own hospitalization that occurs during the making of the film, becomes an inspiration to weave her own story into the film. Byrne’s intimate observations of the three, captures the hard-fought triumphs and struggles of living at the intersection of mental illness, poverty, and addiction.
Filmed over five years, their stories expose a system designed for punishment, yet used as a replacement for mental health care. The absence of support takes a toll on family members and friends whom Angela, Dimitar and Daniel provide for and depend on. The resulting stigma and isolation keep them caught in cycles of victory and defeat.
Any Given Day provides deeply personal insight into the necessity of caring relationships, especially when life is at its most difficult.