Call Declined

In times of need, who do you turn to? What systems do you believe are there to catch you if you fall? Is there a way to interrupt generations of trauma and family violence? What might the world look like if we decriminalized mental illness, substance use disorder, and poverty?  Call Declined follows the lives of two extraordinary women, Kamisha Thomas and Aimee Wissman, and the captivating story of how they fell through a frayed safety net and how resilience, friendship, and the power of creativity enabled them to survive the grim walls of the Dayton Correctional Institution. It is a story of how art became their north star and inspiration for what was to come when they finally were released from prison.

Call Declined is hosted by Melissa Beck, the executive director of the Sozosei Foundation.

To learn more about our country’s mental health system, check out the episodes in this feed marked Call For Help, hosted by Stephanie Wittels Wachs, which explores the promise and perils of the nationwide rollout of the 988 hotline.

Call Declined is presented by the Sozosei Foundation, a philanthropic arm of Otsuka. The Foundation’s goal is to increase access to mental healthcare in order to eliminate the inappropriate use of jails and prisons for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness in the United States. Learn more at

The Sozosei Foundation extends special thanks to Aimee Wissman and Kamisha Thomas, visionary artists and co-founders of The Returning Artists Guild whose creativity, resilience, and lived experience inspire us to build a world where mental illness is not a crime. To learn more about the Guild visit

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