Tuesday, October 21, 2014

On Saving Superman and the importance of seeking help

Saving Superman

Last night, I had the pleasure of meeting author, Kathleen Sales, and look forward to reading her book "Saving Superman". 
The story is set in East Tennessee, where Sales and her family have lived for 33 years. She said the book progressed quickly when she sat down to write, and the result is an easily read, emotionally gripping tale of young Pete, 10 years old, the son of a World War II veteran with PTSD and a mother who attempts suicide and ends up in an asylum. Pete runs away from his family, and while seeking shelter from a big storm, he meets Jake, a homeless veteran who at first begrudgingly allows Pete to escape the storm in the shed where he stays. As the two become better acquainted and learn more about each other’s struggles, they form a special bond and start down a path that leads to forgiveness and recovery.
“When people read the book, I would like them to see the importance of seeking help, talking to other people, letting other people help you,” Sales said. “It’s relationships that pull everybody back together again. It’s love, it’s compassion, it’s forgiveness. That’s what allows the family to pull back together at the end. A lot of that is instigated by Jake, who has been through a lot and kind of knows how it works.”
Sales said the book is intended to be a good, enjoyable read, and also something for book clubs, church groups and therapy groups to use to raise awareness of mental illness.
“Also to encourage people to talk to each other, to ask for help,” Sales said. “Listening is everything. Jake is the person who listens in this book. He asks questions, and he listens. That’s how you really get people to talk. Anybody can listen if they just will shut their own mouth long enough to do it.”
‘Saving Superman:’ Kathleen Sales releases first novel - The Daily Times: Community

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Murder. Jail. Release. Continued Violence against Parents. More Arrests. Where is COURT ORDERED mandatory assisted outpatient treatment for Kenny Bartley? Treatment Before Tragedy. #Tb4T

CAMPBELL COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Campbell County High School shooter Kenny Bartley turned himself in to officers Saturday after being on the run.  Police were searching for Bartley after responding to a domestic call from his mother's house Thursday night. Bartley's mom says her son had become violent with her and she was scared for her life.

Officers say Bartley had been drinking and demanded $70 from his mom for a cab ride. They say he put his arm around her neck and threatened to make her pass out if she didn't give him the money.

Read the latest incident here: Kenny Bartley turns himself in to officers

Earlier on this blog:  
Shooter vows to "get help", do the right thing after physically attacking his father. 

Read about the June 23, 2014 incident where Kenny Bartley attacked his father here: 
Kenny Bartley assaults father

And the 2005 school shooting that started it all: 

A 15-year-old accused of shooting an assistant principal to death and wounding two other administrators should be tried as an adult, the district attorney said Wednesday, adding that the victims performed heroically to keep the shootings from becoming even worse.

Treatment Before Tragedy for Kenny Bartley

Sunday, October 12, 2014

No One Should Have to Wait for Disaster #Tb4T

Read more here: http://www.wxyz.com/news/waiting-for-disaster-how-michigan-is-failing-the-mentally-ill

Saturday, October 11, 2014

"We need to help those who don't realize they need a treatment plan. The point is to prevent crisis before it occurs."

"We don't yet know how much it's going to cost, but simple logic tells me that when you have people who are already being cycled in and out of courts, in and out of jails, in and out of hospitals, there have to be some cost savings."

Read here: http://www.contracostatimes.com/barnidge/ci_26688879/barnidge-helping-severely-mentally-ill-who-dont-realize

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Childhood Trauma: A public health emergency

Childhood exposure to victimization has been shown to contribute to long term psychological distress and functional impairment. Children exposed to interpersonal victimization often meet criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  A past history of trauma is critical and necessary information for an accurate psychiatric assessment and diagnosis, even in adulthood.

Go to http://gucchdtacenter.georgetown.edu/TraumaInformedCare.html
or to http://trauma.jbsinternational.com/traumatool

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Recent White House Perimeter Breaches Shine Spotlight on Broken Mental Health System

cid:image001.gif@01CE6085.30391FD0Tim Murphy
U.S. Congressman for the 18th District of Pennsylvania

 Secret Service Director Admits: 
“We are limited by the laws”

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Contact: Murphy Press, 202.225.2301 
(PITTSBURGH, PA) – When an Army veteran with post-traumatic stress who had been living out of his car scaled the White House fence and entered the building’s front door to warn the President that “the atmosphere was collapsing,” the public and Members of Congress expressed alarm over lax security, prompting a congressional oversight panel to convene a hearing to examine the breach. Just weeks prior, a similar breach of White House security occurred when a young man with a known history of mental illness jumped over the White House fence.

Rep. Tim Murphy noted these incidents raise a more fundamental question than the Secret Service’s ability to protect the President.

“Each of these cases could have ended in fatalities because of our failed mental health system. These incidents are not just breakdowns in Secret Service efforts to protect the President, but back-to-back examples showing what happens when patients with serious mental illness do not get treatment before tragedy.”
Appearing yesterday before the House Government Reform & Oversight Committee, Secret Service Director Julia Pierson acknowledged the same: “We all are outraged at how this situation came to pass ... it is obvious that mistakes were made. We don’t take it lightly [but] there is not a lot we can do with mentally ill individuals who do not commit a crime. We are limited by the laws.”

Dr. Murphy is the author of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 3717), which has been described as the most comprehensive overhaul of the mental health system since the Kennedy Administration. With a focus on delivering acute psychiatric care to the most challenging cases of serious mental illness, it includes provisions to expand access to inpatient and outpatient psychiatric treatment. Murphy’s bill also encourages states to adopt a commitment standard allowing intervention before a person becomes imminently dangerous. The bill also breaks down convoluted legal barriers that prevent family members from helping a loved one with a serious mental illness get treatment. In both cases, family members were aware the individuals needed help.

“We need more treatment not just higher fences,” said Murphy.
He continued, “These incidents aren’t just happening at the White House. Each day the failures of our nation’s mental health system become headline news, yet Congress and the White House take no real meaningful action to respond or deliver treatment until after a tragedy occurs.” 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

We Must Focus Resources on the Most Seriously Ill, Urge Prominent Members of the APA

From the Treatment Advocacy Center's blog
(Sept. 29, 2014) Two prominent members of the American Psychiatric Association called for major reforms to the mental illness treatment system in an editorial in JAMA Psychiatry (“Fixing the troubled mental health system,” Sept. 24).
sharfstein“The first step in reform is to focus attention and resources on the most severely ill, high-need, high-cost patients,” wrote Lloyd Sederer, MD, and Steven Sharfstein, MD. “We have to have the right structure for the delivery of care.”

Sederer is medical director of the New York State Office of Mental Health and was director of APA’s Division of Clinical Services from 2000 to 2002. Sharfstein is CEO and medical director of the Sheppard Pratt Health System and was president of APA from 2005 to 2006.

“Federal and state governments should prioritize the move of patients from the criminal justice system to the treatment system,” they urged. “Some of the neediest people who would have been institutionalized are now in the criminal justice system. This is an absolute disgrace. We need to provide incentives for people to be treated in the community and to avoid jail and prison.”

In an interview with Psychiatric News, Sharfstein argued that the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 3717) has the potential to offer some relief to the suffering of the most severely ill, their families and their communities. “In my view it tackles head-on some of the major impediments to access to care for a critical subset of individuals who are high cost and very difficult to retain in treatment, in large part because they don’t recognize they are sick,” he said.

Even though the some of the nation’s leading psychiatrists are calling for more resources and attention for the most high-need patients, the plan put forth by the leading federal agency dedicated to improving mental health efforts, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, falls short, said the current president of the APA, Paul Summergrad, MD, in this month’s issue of Psychiatric News (“SAMHSA strategic plan falls short on serious mental illness,” September).

The plan leaves out “a focus on the appropriate medical care of patients with serious mental illness,” Summergrad said.

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