Friday, November 30, 2012

My Christmas Wish List

The need is great, the resources are few.

Men's and Women's CASUAL CLOTHING items 
sizes S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL
heavy socks
shoes & boots (*all sizes, esp men's 12, 13, 14)

underwear includ. thermal, bottoms & tops
sweatshirts & sweatpants
hooded sweatshirts (*huge demand)
toboggans, gloves, scarves
Hot Hands (hand warmers)
travel size hygiene products

Note to Santa's: 

Items may be delivered (the earlier the better) to:

Lost Sheep Ministry warehouse, 1444 Breda Drive in Knoxville

M-F 865 688-9636

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Emergence of the Recovery Movement: Are medications taking a back seat to recovery?

In his article in today's Huffington Post, Mr. Marvin Ross refers to a recently recent report by mental health advocate Lembi Buchanan of Victoria, B.C. called Emergence of the Recovery Movement: Are medications taking a back seat to recovery? 

She points out that the popular recovery model threatens to take center stage at the expense of the urgent needs of the people diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. 

What sounds like a logical approach to the treatment of mental illness, recovery, is actually regressive because it does not focus on the evidence-based neuroscience of these brain disorders.

An excerpt of her report:
"Far more troublesome is what you can read between the lines of the proposed strategy. There is far too much emphasis on the “recovery model” – the notion that everyone will get better with support – and not enough emphasis on brain science. It’s a legitimate approach for those with mild and moderate mental health problems but not those with severe conditions such as schizophrenia.
In fact, reading the draft strategy, one is left with an unpleasant aftertaste: the distinct feeling that psychiatry and medications have no place in Canada’s approach to tackling mental illness.
There are distinct – and sometimes clashing – views in the mental health field. But the strategy gives too much credence to social science and not enough to neuroscience.
It also pays far too much attention to the views of “psychiatric survivors” who hide their vehemently anti-treatment views in the promotion of “peer support” and the language of “rights.”
But hope – and false hope – cannot be allowed to take the place of care. Where in the strategy, for example, is the call for investment in brain research, psychiatric beds and more addiction treatment facilities?
The draft also gives short shrift to the sickest of the sick, those with severe (and often intractable) cases of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, who often suffer from anosognosia (where people don’t even recognize they have a mental illness).
This group, while small (less than 1 per cent of those with mental illness), are those who populate our streets and prisons. They don’t need the right to refuse treatment, they need the right to be well. And their families need to be empowered to help them, not cast aside."
I happen to agree wholeheartedly.

Marvin Ross: For some with mental illness, there is no recovery

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Could not have said this any better ...

"Had Jared Loughner been able to get treatment when he was showing signs, Jan. 8 might never have happened"

Barber: Treatment could have prevented crimes

"I guess my first thought was: Oh, dear God, thank you for letting him not kill anyone and maybe now he'll get the help that he needs," Lana Hunt told reporters.

(Nov. 15, 2012) Raulie Casteel, 43, is a husband, father, geologist and former company president. He is also currently behind bars in Michigan, accused of two dozen random shootings along a 100-mile stretch of the state’s I-96 corridor.
rauliecasteelNobody was killed, but one person was injured, and thousands were terrorized during the shooting spree. Casteel has been charged with 60 criminal counts and is being held on $2 million bond.
After Casteel’s arrest, his mother told the Detroit Free Press she started worrying that he was mentally ill a year ago when he began expressing paranoid thoughts.
"I guess my first thought was: Oh, dear God, thank you for letting him not kill anyone and maybe now he'll get the help that he needs," Lana Hunt told reporters (“Wixom man, 43, arraigned on weapons charges in Howell shooting,” Nov. 7). 
Incidents like this one – in which someone appears to “snap” midway through a stable, successful life – inevitably raise a number of questions. Here are three of them and their answers.
  • “If he was so sick, why didn’t he get help?” If it turns out that Casteel is suffering a psychotic disorder, there’s about a 50% chance he also was experiencing anosognosia – lack of  awareness of his illness. Anosognosia is the leading reason people with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia don’t seek treatment.
  • “How could someone be this ill after a lifetime without mental illness?” Though psychotic disorders usually first present in the later teens and early adulthood, they can strike at any time in life. Research suggests that violence occurs more commonly with a first psychotic break than with subsequent ones (“Comparison of first-episode and previously treated persons with psychosis found NGMI for a violent offense,” Psychiatric Services, july 2011). 
  • “What could have been done to prevent this?” Michigan has progressive mental illness treatment laws and standards that could have applied if Casteel met the criteria for civil commitment, but there have been no public disclosures that he did. Sometimes families are successful in persuading a family member to seek treatment voluntarily. Tragically, when neither voluntary treatment nor spontaneous recovery occurs, individuals simply continue to unravel until they attract attention by committing a crime, becoming homeless or reaching such an acute stage that involuntary treatment becomes a clear imperative. In cases where an individual cannot or will not seek voluntary treatment, families, community members or mental health professionals might need to intervene by invoking the state’s mental health treatment laws.
If you or someone you know has a loved one whose behavior suggests the onset of mental illness, visit Be Prepared for an Emergency on our website for suggestions.
For essential information about getting an emergency evaluation wherever you live, see "Emergency Hospitalization for Evaluation: Assisted Psychiatric Treatment Standards by State."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Great American Smokeout includes people with serious mental illness, five tips for your practice

KUDOS to The Center for Evidence-Based Practices at Case Western Reserve University for using the Great American Smokeout to remind health and behavioral health professionals (e.g., doctors, nurses, social workers, addictions counselors, housing specialists) to encourage people with serious mental illness and substance use disorders to consider reducing and eliminating the use of tobacco products.

Go here for story:  Great American Smokeout includes people with serious mental illness, five tips for your practice

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Schizophrenia could take Fred Frese far away, but it also gives him a niche in life

Dr. Fred Frese, keynote speaker at the 15th Fall Psychiatric Symposium at the Knoxville Marriott on December 6-7.  Registration information available on-line at ~ you don't want to miss him!    fred-frese.JPGPsychologist Frederick Frese accepted that he was schizophrenic and learned to control the disease with medication after he'd already experienced several psychotic breaks. One-third of the nation's estimated 400,000 homeless people suffer from schizophrenia, but refuse to take medication because they don't think they're ill, Frese said.
fred-frese-hand.JPGView full sizeWords take on added meaning during a schizoid break, Frese said, as he teaches medical students about the disease. “And we look for patterns.” During a conversation with John Nash, the subject of the movie, “A Beautiful Mind,” Nash said he counts people wearing red ties. “For me,” Frese said, “it's colors and numbers. Red, white and blue are really big ones.”
By Fran Henry, The Plain Dealer

Saturday, Nov. 10, 2007

On a business trip in 1967, Frederick Frese cracked the code of the universe – a labyrinth of concepts and beliefs related to the number three. He suspected as much on his way to church, faithfully heeding traffic lights although he was on foot.

At red lights, he'd stop walking, no matter where he was on the block.
When he got to church, he knelt by the priest, and when the priest asked him to leave after Mass, Frese felt a change come over him. He barked like a dog, then grunted like an ape. He fell to the floor and writhed like a snake. A few life forms later, he became a tritium atom – the kind used to build a hydrogen bomb – and knew he was going to be split, triggering a nuclear blast to start World War III.
God, he believed, had chosen him for the mission.
“I was the instrument that would wipe out the universe,” Frese said dryly, slouched in a lawn chair on the patio of his Hudson home.
He remembered blacking out at the altar. When he came to, he thought he'd triggered Armageddon and was in heaven.
In fact, he was strapped to a table in a psychiatric hospital. His elaborate delusions were born of schizophrenia, a brain disease characterized by the loss of contact with reality. The cause of schizophrenia is unknown, but thought to be an interaction of genetics with life experiences. The disease is treated with medication.
It wasn't Frese's first psychotic break, nor was it his last. He cycled in and out of mental hospitals for 10 years, escorted by men in white coats. And the respected professional would like everyone to know.
“I refuse to hide in the shadows and be ashamed,” he said, a bit of his Texas childhood in his voice. “There's tremendous discrimination against [the mentally ill]. You can't put us in 'the back of the bus' in mental hospitals.”
The mental health industry is built on confidentiality, he said, and secrecy only reinforces the stigma.
“It's so obvious to me that the people who say they are protecting us are perpetuating the shame. . . . The professionals shouldn't assume the patient is ashamed of the illness.”
He speaks from the perspective of both patient and mental health professional.
Frese, 66, was unemployed for a year after his psychotic break in Milwaukee, his master's in international management useless with his medical history. When a friend suggested he could help him get a job in the state mental health system, he took the state test to be a certified psychologist. It was 1968, when a psychology degree was not required to take the test. He began working with the mentally ill in prison.
The work agreed with him, and he decided he'd need a doctorate in psychology to gain credibility in the field. He earned the degree in 1978, and was director of psychology at Western Reserve State Hospital, a now-defunct psychiatric hospital, for 15 years before he retired.
“I was able to keep a job,” he said, ripping apart an onion bagel. “Isn't that amazing?” He buttered a bit, and chewed it thoughtfully. “If they hadn't come up with these wonderful pills, I'd still be hospitalized.”
Frese is certain his illness gives him a better understanding of people with schizophrenia, and that his openness makes him a role model for others with the disease. He travels about half the year, giving speeches nationwide – more than 2,000 so far. He's testified at congressional hearings and appeared on ABC's “Nightline” four times “when they needed a schizophrenic with a Ph.D.,” he said, quite amused.
Changing attitudes, about illness
Frese's speeches benefit mental health professionals, too, said Nancy Little, training director of Thresholds Institute, Chicago's largest mental health agency. “We were amazed that this person had an advanced degree and a high position in mental health. He totally changed our view of what people with schizophrenia could do.”
And he has a one-of-a-kind ability to convey the experience of schizophrenia with humor, said Mark Munetz, chief of the Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services board, where Frese works half-time coordinating recovery groups.
In fact, Frese delights in calling himself a stand-up schizophrenic.
“That's my gig!” he said. “When I started speaking, people couldn't believe a schizophrenic could talk.”
Actually, people thought schizophrenics could talk, but only to themselves on street corners. Fresewas delighted when the 2001 film, “A Beautiful Mind,” challenged that tired stereotype with the story of John F. Nash Jr. Nash, a mathematician with schizophrenia, won the Nobel Foundation's Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in 1994.
“The movie resonated,” Frese said. “We weren't portrayed as monsters like Hannibal Lecter or Norman Bates. I thought, 'Heh-heh, we schizophrenics aren't all useless after all.' ”
Finding love,building a life
He hasn't been hospitalized since he met a Franciscan Sister of Penance and Christian Charity in 1976 at a meeting of Charismatic Catholics at Ohio University.
“I thought he seemed awkward and uncomfortable, so I went up to say hello,” Penny Freserecalled. A close friendship developed, but he was slippery about his background, she said. Then one afternoon, during a walk in the woods, he revealed his psychiatric history.
“Honest to God, I felt like I couldn't breathe,” she said. “I'd just walked an hour into the woods with a man who's insane. I asked, 'Are you violent?' ”
She researched schizophrenia, and found that the best predictor of recovery, according to one source, “is a long-term loving relationship.” And she took that to include a close friendship. But she soon realized she couldn't envision life without Frese. “I went to him and said, 'I was thinking of marrying you, and he said, 'I've been thinking that, too.' And he proposed.”
She left the convent, but before their wedding day, he had a psychotic break and insisted they stay in a hotel three days to evade “people” looking for him. “I thought, 'OK, I can handle this,' ” she said. Marrying him, she said, was a leap of faith she never regretted. “I was so in love with him and still am.”
They have four grown children, and each has a 10 percent chance of developing schizophrenia. Typical onset is late teens to early 20s for males, and as much as 10 years later for females. TheFreses don't worry about the odds. “What if John Nash hadn't been born?” Penny Frese wondered.
Although her husband hasn't been hospitalized since their marriage 31 years ago, he has short periods of two days when he lives on another plane, connecting ideas and concepts, finding extreme significance in certain words, and researching arcane interests until “it all fits in a grand scheme,” she said.
She sheltered the children from the episodes when they were small, said son Joe Frese, 29. “Mom would keep him in the bedroom and we weren't allowed to talk to him,” he said. That changed after their father took his disease public. “Then he'd be dancing and singing in the kitchen,” Joe Fresesaid.
“It was fun,” Penny Frese said.
While the episodes don't reach the level of the psychotic break he experienced in Milwaukee, FredFrese said they can signal that his mind is going places it might have trouble leaving.
Munetz, of the Summit mental health board, can tell when Frese is entering an episode. “His thinking gets disorganized. It's more grandiose than usual, or he starts wearing a hat.”
The hat is what Ray Gonzalez remembers from the late '70s when he and Frese were colleagues at the mental hospital. Executive director of Planned Lifetime Assistance Network of Northeastern Ohio, a social service agency for people with mental illness, Gonzalez said Frese would slouch in the corner at staff meetings, a wool hat pulled down on his head.
“I didn't know he was ill,” he said.
The only thing that separates Frese from the homeless people with schizophrenia is medication. “They don't take their meds because they don't think they're sick,” Frese said.
And he knows for sure that he is. He'd like you to pass it on.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

New Support Group Begins Tonight in Knoxville

Grace for the Afflicted: A new weekly support group for family and friends of those dealing with mental illness will begin tonight, November 7th from 7:00 to 8:30 pm at Faith Lutheran Church in Farragut, 239 Jamestown Blvd. This will be a safe, caring time for Bible Study, prayer, sharing of resources and encouragement. Please contact Dawn Willis at 405-1463 or Della Morrow at 924-5311 if you have questions, or just show up! We will begin with a study of “Grace for the Afflicted” by Matthew S. Stanford, PhD.

The Fall 2012 Catalyst is on-line and in the mail!

Read here:  Fall 2012 Catalyst - Treatment Advocacy Center

Monday, November 5, 2012

"The net unfortunately is going to be criminal justice. It's not something that I like seeing. We're not equipped to be able to handle mental issues”

Study says mental illness is a big problem among women inmates

ISU study says mental illness is a big problem among women inmates.

"Because Maryland lacks an assisted outpatient commitment law, Simmons could not order Cobbold to take medication for her mental illnesses without holding her in a state facility, Davis said."

Published: Friday, November 2, 2012

Virginia woman to stand trial for Walter Reed hit-and-run despite mental health history by Jeremy Arias Staff writer

The Virginia woman who was shot at after almost running over a security guard at the Walter Reed National Military Center in Bethesda last week was found competent to stand trial by a Montgomery County District Court judge Wednesday despite her extensive history of mental illness.

Angela A. Cobbold, a 27-year-old Manassas resident, was released from a psychiatric ward on Oct. 19 — just four days before police said she crashed into several cars on the medical center campus and had a confrontation with security — said Montgomery County State’s Attorney Peter Feeney during Cobbold’s bond review hearing last week.

In spite of this, along with evidence of what Feeney called Cobbold’s “significant psychiatric history,” Judge William G. Simmons found her mentally competent to face the first-degree assault and reckless endangerment charges made against her.

Officer Scott Davis, the county police department’s Crisis Intervention Team coordinator and mental health expert, said Cobbold appeared more stable in her second court appearance Wednesday following an evaluation last week by corrections department psychiatric specialists. While Simmons’ decision means Cobbold will go to trial, Davis was not sure if she will ultimately be found criminally responsible for her actions.

“The whole thing about competency is the ability to understand court proceedings and her ability to understand the role a public defender or defense attorney would play in her trial, so if she is able to understand the charges against her, she is competent,” he said.

Simmons assigned Cobbold a $50,000 bail after Wednesday’s hearing, increasing the original $20,000 bail assigned to her case after her initial appearance Oct. 23. Cobbold was ordered held without bond at a review hearing Oct. 24 until after her psychiatric evaluation.

Cobbold’s brother-in-law also spoke at the hearing, telling Simmons that she had been staying with family members in the months leading up to her arrest, but she had moved out when family members started to feel unsafe around her, Davis said. Her brother-in-law also told the judge that Cobbold had refused to take her medication for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Davis said.

In the wake of Cobbold’s arrest, some mental health advocates are calling for the implementation of new laws granting judges more power in mental health cases. Brian Stettin, the policy director for the Treatment Advocacy Center, a Virginia-based mental health nonprofit, believes that situations like the shooting at Walter Reed can be avoided if judges take advantage of what he called ‘assisted outpatient commitment.’

“It’s the idea of a judge being able to commit a person to comply with an outpatient treatment plan as a requirement for them being allowed to stay out in the community,” he explained. “It’s a court order saying you need to take your medication.”

Under Maryland Civil Commitment law, people with a mental illnesses can be committed to a treatment facility against their will if they are found to pose a threat to themselves or others, but those individuals are committed in an inpatient capacity to a mental health facility. Even though a judge can require mentally ill individuals to seek treatment, no law exists to compel mentally ill individuals to seek treatment as a requirement for release without them first having been committed to a facility.

“Maryland is one of only six states where that is not possible,” Stettin said. “Most states have these laws on the books but they aren’t used nearly enough; what we’re doing is waiting around for the inevitable to happen and hoping that, when it does, someone won’t be seriously hurt or killed.”

While Virginia does have an outpatient compulsory treatment law for individuals who both understand the treatment plan assigned to them and are willing to be monitored by a community services board, Cobbold was arrested and will remain in custody in Maryland. Because Maryland lacks an assisted outpatient commitment law, Simmons could not order Cobbold to take medication for her mental illnesses without holding her in a state facility, Davis said.

Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, said his office will continue to monitor Cobbold’s case closely and take proactive steps to ensure she receives any treatment she needs while also ensuring the public’s safety.

“It is always in the best interest of the state, the residents of the county and the subject of any mental health evaluation to receive treatment, if needed. We will take the appropriate steps to ensure the public is kept safe at each stage of this matter,” he said.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

"I would say in 9 out of 10 cases the family was there screaming for help prior to these tragedies, and they could not get any help due to the mental health laws as they stand today," Lankford said.

Mother hopes mentally ill son finally gets help | - Local news

By Diana Hefley, Herald Writer

EVERETT, WA -- Suzanne Lankford breathes a little easier these days knowing that her son isn't out on the streets or in a jail cell, left alone with the paranoia and cruel hallucinations that terrorize him.

She is grateful that finally her son is locked up at Western State Hospital, the region's mental health hospital. Lankford hopes that her boy is getting the help he needs to be safe, and for others around him to stay safe. Maybe with enough help, her son will someday get his life back.

Joshua Rockwell, 27, is living with paranoid schizophrenia. Recently, he told his mom that he was worried that someone had stolen his body. He said there's no way to get it back because a device had been destroyed. He's convinced that he's a few seconds behind everyone else on the planet.

Lankford has been through too much with her son, seen too many gaps in the criminal and mental health systems to believe that Rockwell's stay at Western State Hospital is the end of a long journey.

She's witnessed first-hand how a mentally ill young man can slip through the cracks and how a family can be left feeling powerless to rescue their loved one or protect those in his path when the disease robs him of logic and compassion for others.

"There's so much juggling, so many twists and turns, and no accountability on anyone's part," Lankford said of the treatment of mental illnesses.

She is convinced that many tragedies involving those living with mental illness could have been prevented if there were more avenues to get people help sooner.

"I would say in 9 out of 10 cases the family was there screaming for help prior to these tragedies, and they could not get any help due to the mental health laws as they stand today," Lankford said.

Despite years of trying to get her son meaningful help, he became entangled in the criminal justice system more than two years ago.

He held a terrified couple at knifepoint outside Alderwood, robbing them of a wallet. The dangerous robbery was caught on video surveillance and Rockwell was quickly arrested.

His family believes Rockwell wasn't taking his medication when he threatened the couple.

Prosecutors in August 2010 charged Rockwell with robbery. That marked the beginning of a two-year stretch in which Rockwell was shuttled between jail, Western State Hospital and courtrooms.

Lankford believes once Rockwell was arrested, the focus shifted from treating his illness to making him stable enough to face prosecution.

Mental health professionals spent more than a year trying to restore his competency. Doctors, however, concluded that Rockwell remained too sick to assist with his own defense.

The robbery charge finally was dropped in February when experts concluded that Rockwell's competency could not be restored despite months in the hospital's forensic unit.

The court then ordered that Rockwell be evaluated for civil commitment at Western State Hospital.

Lankford was hopeful that doctors would see that Rockwell needed to be held at the hospital and treated.

State officials, however, concluded that Rockwell didn't meet the criteria to be hospitalized against his will, despite a doctor's report that Rockwell presented a higher-than-average risk to commit future criminal acts.

To hold a patient against his will, a mental health professional must find that the person, because of a mental disorder, is an imminent threat to others or himself, or is gravely disabled.

Rockwell refused to stay at the hospital. He was released with two weeks of medication, $40, and orders to go to a shelter.

He never made it to the shelter. Seattle paramedics took Rockwell to a hospital after he told them he was hearing voices and he was confused. Rockwell was later moved to an evaluation and treatment center in Mukilteo.

Meanwhile, prosecutors were alerted that Rockwell could be released back into the community again without a safety net. In March they filed a new charge against him. He was arrested as soon as he was released from the Mukilteo clinic, which also couldn't keep him against his will.

Rockwell was once again sent to Western State Hospital in an effort to get him ready for prosecution. Doctors said he still wasn't competent to assist with his own defense or to understand the new charge against him. They noted that Rockwell's symptoms are resistant to treatment. Nevertheless, they recommended that Rockwell be prescribed a different medication, one he'd responded to in the past.

Rockwell reportedly agreed to take the medication, but refused to have his blood drawn. Doctors wouldn't prescribe the medication unless they could monitor the dosage through blood tests.

Prosecutors refiled the robbery charge in August and attempted to persuade a judge to order that Rockwell be forced to take the medication and have his blood drawn. A Snohomish County Superior Court judge refused to sign the order, saying she wasn't provided enough evidence to prove that there was a substantial likelihood that the medication would help restore Rockwell's competency.

Once again prosecutors dropped the criminal charges. And once again a judge found that Rockwell was a potential candidate for civil commitment at the state hospital. He was ordered back to the hospital for another evaluation.

In late September, Lankford learned that her son finally had been civilly committed to the hospital.

She knows little else about what is happening because the law also protects her son's medical privacy.

Officials with the state Attorney General's Office refused to confirm for The Herald that they had filed a petition to have Rockwell committed or to discuss what had changed in his case this time around.

They said privacy laws prevent them from discussing the status of any patient admitted to the hospital. There are no documents in the criminal court file that indicate that Rockwell is being held at the hospital.

Dr. Marylouise Jones, the clinical operations director for the hospital, couldn't speak specifically about Rockwell's treatment. However, she said in general once people are admitted staff immediately begin preparing a plan for the patient's return to the community. That's important because once a person doesn't meet the criteria to be held in the hospital, the law requires their release, she said. Many patients will need assistance with housing and medical treatment. Jones said it is important that hospital staff work with the regional support networks, which administer the mental health services in the community.

Lankford said she's spoken to her son. He said he's going to be held for six months, but told her he wasn't being moved to the civil commitment ward. Getting concrete answers from him is difficult, though. Most of the time his thoughts are scattered by his illness. Sometimes, though, there are glimmers. He asks about his daughters. He wants to talk with his mom about her dog.

Lankford has written letters to hospital officials to get more answers.

She wants her son to get treatment, not just medication. She wants there to be a plan for him when he's released. Lankford wants lawmakers and decision makers to take notice that more needs to be done for her son and people like him.

She points to a model law drafted by Treatment Advocacy Center, a national nonprofit that works toward providing timely and effective treatment for those living with mental illnesses. The center's model law sets forth criteria for holding a person for court-ordered treatment while still maintaining his civil rights.

Lankford notes that the criteria addresses not only when a person is a danger to himself or others or is gravely disabled but there are provisions for those who are stuck in the "revolving door" of jail stays and hospitalizations. The model law also expands the role family members can take in seeking to help their loved one, she said.

Lankford is hopeful that her son's story will inspire more dialogue and changes that will prevent needless tragedies.

"I only hope we can begin to speak of it, to debate the subject, to reason through it, shine some light on it, and in the end give Josh and others the help they need and deserve, so that they may find their own voice again," Lankford said.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463;