Must Have Book for Advocates

I began my journey with mental health advocacy by speaking out about my own mental illness, then focusing on the stigma surrounding all mental illnesses. Recently I have become keenly aware of the severity of our broken mental health care system which has abandoned those with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar, and schizoaffective disorder.

The following book will shock you to action and is really required reading for anyone who wants to understand why the Los Angeles County Jail is now the largest mental health “asylum” in the United States. “Asylum” used to mean “safe haven.” There is no such place for most severely mentally ill individuals. This has major financial and public health ramifications that will come to a head in the next few years.

Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness
Pete Earley, 2006
“Former Washington Post reporter Pete Earley had written extensively about the criminal justice system. But it was only when his own son -- in the throes of a manic episode -- broke into a neighbor’s house and took a bath in her tub that he learned the truth about what is happening to mentally ill people who have the misfortune to break the law.

Here, he offers his own family’s emotionally compelling story, as well as a thorough, and troubling, look at the web of bureaucracy, bad judgement, and apathy that results in brutal conditions and little hope of recovery for the countless numbers of people who suffer. Instead of care, they get confinement. Instead of treatment, they get a trip through the ‘revolving doors’ between hospital and jail.

Changing policies, driven by a mix of good intentions and greed, have led to the release of 80 percent of state mental hospital residents. Today, large numbers of them are on the streets -- and in jails, where mentally ill patients endure an experience little better than the horrors of a century ago. This book takes us directly into that experience and into that of a father and award winning journalist trying to fight for a better way.”

[Summary, paperback edition.]

Click HERE to purchase Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness

Note: the word “crazy” refers to the mental health system!