Wednesday, February 27, 2013


My friend Pat sent this to me, just when I needed to hear it.  I think many of you who are moms might need to hear it too.  

From "The Upper Room" magazine 

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases."  Lamentations 3:22
My older son was diagnosed several years ago with schizophrenia and alcohol dependence.  The complexities of his dual diagnosis include drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness, paranoia, delusional thinking and angry outbursts.  We have come close to despair on many occasions.  Repeatedly we have tried to help him because we love him, but we have been forced to back away.  At times I have felt anger at the choices he makes that worsen his condition.
Because I am his Mother, each time I back away I feel like a failure.  I have to live with the shame and guilt that I feel because his severe mental illness is more than I can handle.  My heart breaks when I think of his suffering.  The sadness and sorrow of the situation at times seem too much for me to bear.
During these times, I remind myself that God is greater than my son's mental illness, my family's grief, and my own helplessness and pain.  I am able to get up, go to work, and live with the situation another day.  I know that whatever the future holds, God's love and grace are greater than any human trial.  I am able to look for today's blessings waiting for me from a God who loves my family, my son, and me.
Prayer:  Loving God, bless and comfort those who struggle with mental illness.  Help those who love them to cope with the trials that come with caring.  Amen      
S.L. Ashbrooke (Virginia)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

School Safety Commission Eyes Kendra's Law

At least one school system in Oklahoma understands the root of the school safety issue:

OKLAHOMA CITY — As the Oklahoma Commission on School Safety narrows down the program it will present to the Legislature next month, a 1999 New York statute — Kendra’s Law — is getting a lot of attention. 
“I think that’s something we absolutely ought to pursue and look at,” Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, chairman of the commission, said recently. 
Read the entire article here:  Oklahoma School safety commission eyes Kendra's Law

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chattanooga NAMI - Advocates for Mandatory Assisted Outpatient Treatment in Tennessee!

Last month I was invited to attend a very informative advocacy training session hosted by Chattanooga NAMI.  A group of four of us headed down from Knoxville for the day.  It was there we met Steve Daugherty, president.  I appreciate this group granting me permission to reprint their newsletters on this blog.  If you live in the Chattanooga area and in need of resources or support, I urge you to check these nice folks out.  

Here are a few excerpts from February's newsletter:

Let's try our new advocacy skills. Tennessee is one of six of the fifty states that don't have provisions for court ordered Assisted Outpatient Treatment. Sita Diehl has a good list of who you should contact to push this legislation. 

Case Study of Frustration in Chattanooga Area  Today, January 26th , is the 62nd consecutive day of trying to get a family some help. A loving father has been trying for two years to get help for his adult son who was formerly a nationally ranked athlete. He has a history of hospitalization, and he has been arrested twice in the past month. As this is written, he sits in the Hamilton County Jail. He is actively psychotic, without his meds for almost two weeks. We spent several hours in Judge Statom's court yesterday with the DA and Public Defender.  No one can do anything, The father believes that he is a threat, but the police disagree. The father is “... a prisoner in his own house.”  With stronger civil commitment laws, we could address this family's problems today. We desperately need mandatory out-patient treatment programs too.

Great Resource!!  -  biweekly e-newsletter from the Treatment Advocacy Center. (

Read more here:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dr. E. Fuller Torrey on C-SPAN today

Dr. E. Fuller Torrey discusses his recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about the de-institutionalization of psychiatric patients about a half-century ago in the Kennedy administration– and how that policy is impacting the mentally ill in America today.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Georgia Senate passes mental health bill

The Senate backed legislation Monday to allow licensed professional counselors to involuntarily commit to an institution for 72 hours patients who appear to be mentally ill and a danger.

Senate passes mental health bill

Monday, February 4, 2013

Leaders of Faith on Civil Commitment Law: ‘Let’s Find a Way to Fix It’

(Jan. 31, 2013) “Realizing that most clergy and faith leaders do not have much extra time to explore issues around mental illness,” a team of clergy and mental health professionals has launched the “Caring Clergy Project,” complete with a website and blog that is already sounding calls for policy change we all can get behind.
faith_leaders“Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has made a proposal to update our civil commitment laws; make it easier to identify people with mental illnesses who are a danger to themselves and others; and provide safer, more-humane treatment,” writes Joanne Kelly, co-founder and treasurer of the Interfaith Network on Mental Illness, sponsor of the Caring Clergy Project.” I believe it is a step in the right direction. It should make it easier to prevent another tragedy.”
Kelly, also a past president of NAMI Colorado, tells her own harrowing story as the mother of a son with schizophrenia she has struggled to get into treatment.
“Here’s the question: Why did I have to work so hard to get my son help when he was unquestionably profoundly ill?” she writes. “I know the standard answer is about protecting his civil rights. But I maintain that his mental illness is what restricts his civil liberties – not insisting that he get treatment for it.”
Though conceived to provide “resources on mental illness for clergy of all Faiths,” the Caring Clergy Project is publishing messages all of us who live and work with severe mental illness may find helpful as family members or advocates.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Treat the 1 percent: our mental-health system is failing those most at risk

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there are in the United States 7.7 million people who suffer from the most severe mental illnesses--schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder. Among these, approximately 1 percent--77,000 individuals--are responsible for most of the problems associated with untreated mental illness.

Read Dr. E. Fuller Torrey's article here:  Gale Power Search - Document

ADHD Outcome Data in Adults Show Value of Early Treatment

When men diagnosed with ADHD in childhood were followed up several decades later, some were found to have very poor outcomes. Most, however, were leading productive lives.

Read here:  PsychiatryOnline | Psychiatric News | News Article

For many homeless people, substance abuse co-occurs with mental illness. Often, people with untreated mental illnesses use street drugs as an inappropriate form of self-medication. Homeless people with both substance disorders and mental illness experience additional obstacles to recovery, such as increased risk for violence and victimization and frequent cycling between the streets, jails, and emergency rooms (Fisher and Roget, 2009). Sadly, these people are often unable to find treatment facilities that will help them. Many programs for homeless people with mental illnesses do not accept people with substance abuse disorders, and many programs for homeless substance abusers do not treat people with mental illnesses.