Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mental-health reinforcement needed for the grief brigade | Editorials | The Seattle Times

Lawmakers should listen to the grief brigade, families who have lost loved ones to untreated mental health crises. Columnist Jonathan Martin is not so sure they will.

READ HERE:  Mental-health reinforcement needed for the grief brigade | Editorials | The Seattle Times

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Family of beaten mentally ill inmate speaks out (video)

"I had a lot of respect for the Police Department," Flack said. "But this right here? I don't know if I can trust them, you know? Because if you're going to do somebody that's disabled like that, who else are you going to hurt?"

Sister said her brother needs treatment, not jail & certainly not a beating!

The sister of the Knox County inmate at the center of a beating investigation said her brother took a swing at officers but suffers from mental illness and needs treatment, not jail.

Rosa Flack said Saturday she was shocked when she saw video of her brother, Louis Warren Flack, 52, being subdued the morning of Nov. 28 at the Roger D. Wilson Detention Facility. The footage from a jail security camera led to an internal investigation that resulted in one officer being fired, another quitting and two others being suspended.

“That hurt me so bad to see them beat my brother down like this,” the sister said.
The video released by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office shows officers punching and kneeing Flack, who was jailed on a charge of aggravated assault, while another officer shoots video. Authorities haven’t released that video and have refused to say whether the officers involved will face criminal charges.
Flack’s sister said she believes he tried to hit one of the officers but says that’s no excuse for how he was treated.
He “swung at them one time, and they beat hell out of him,” she said.
Flack said her brother developed mental and emotional problems when their mother died in 1993. After serving in the military, he worked as a roofer and then went on disability because of his mental problems, she said.
“He feels like there is three different voices in him,” she said.
She said her younger brother tried and failed to get treatment for Flack, who refused to take medication. That same day, Flack beat the brother with a shovel and went to jail, she said.
“I told police several times he has got bipolar disorder where you hear different voices,” she said.
Knox County Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones wouldn’t respond to the sister’s claims Saturday.
“I’m unable to comment at this time with the possibility of litigation pending,” he said.
He didn’t give specifics.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

TB4T Crowdsourcing Congress Project!

Please help us help Rep. Tim Murphy educate lawmakers to support policy change to fix our broken mental healthcare system by joining our Crowdsourcing Congress Project! 1) Please look up at your legislator.; 2) Add your name to the column for Tb4T members in your representative's district. 3) Write, email, phone, FB message and tweet your representative, and put what you've done and what you've heard by your name. 4) Please share!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Homeless Woman Missing 2 Years Last Seen in Knoxville

The Knoxville Police Department is seeking the public’s help in locating a missing person. Sharon Leinart, also known on the street as Angela, has been homeless in the Knoxville area for about the last eleven to thirteen years and has not ventured away from this area. It is abnormal not to see her around the Knoxville area. Sharon gets a disability check that is direct-deposited into an account, but there has been no activity recorded on the account. Sharon has not been seen since January 23, 2013, and at that time it was indicated that Sharon made the statement "a man offered her a nice warm room." Ms. Leinart was reported missing by her sister in Indiana.

Sharon Leinart
DOB: 10-28-54
Originally from Indiana
Race: White
Sex: Female
Height: 5’7”
Weight: 135 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Dyed Strawberry Blond (originally brown)
Hair: Shoulder Length and straight
Complexion: Medium

Sharon typically wears several layers of clothing which usually consists of any kind of hat, waist-length or long jackets and coats, blue jeans, and sunglasses. She also wears a lot of blue eye shadow and red blush on her face. Sharon typically wears rings and red nail polish. She smokes Marlboro cigarettes and will buy different color of boxes.

Anyone with information on Ms. Leinart or her whereabouts is asked to contact the Knoxville Police Department’s crime information line at 865-215-7212.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Rockwood officers rescue disabled man lost in the woods for more than two days

Officers rescue disabled man lost in the woods for more than two days

4 Things Leaders Need to Know About Mental Health

Contrary to common perception, mental illness is a problem that is neither new nor unique to the developed world ...

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Mayor cites mental illness as factor in Albuquerque police shootings, calls for legislation.

The Associated Press
Demonstrators gather in front of Albuquerque police headquarters Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015 to protest a police shooting that happened Tuesday that left a suspect dead. Albuquerque police shot and killed a suspect Tuesday they say was dressed in body armor and pulled a gun on them after a foot chase, an incident that follows a string of shootings that have prompted public protests, federal scrutiny and even charges from a local prosecutor. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras) 


County Committee Wants To Have A Say In Greene Valley Property If Facility Closes - The Greeneville Sun: Local News

County Committee Wants To Have A Say In Greene Valley Property If Facility Closes - The Greeneville Sun: Local News

Greene Valley: Once Lauded, Now At Risk - The Greeneville Sun: Local News

Greene Valley: Once Lauded, Now At Risk - The Greeneville Sun: Local News

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Kudos to the Rockwood,Tennessee Police Department: Looking Out for Vulnerable Citizens, including the Homeless, in Extreme Weather Conditions


R U Safe is a volunteer program citizens may participate in if they meet certain qualifications. The program is a joint cooperative effort between the Rockwood Police and Fire Departments to provide welfare checks on those qualifying. You must meet one of the following qualifications to qualify:

1. Reside within the Rockwood City Limits

2. Be 65 years of age or older

3. Disabled

4. Be referred by an assistance agency such as Adult Protective Services, Child Protective Services, a Licensed Physician, or your clergy.

This program will provide us with the knowledge of those individuals who in extreme weather conditions (below 15 degrees or above 100 degrees or information about you from a loved one or someone requesting a welfare check). We will also check on you from time to time (there is no timetable) as part of our community policing initiative. We only conduct checks to make sure you are safe and, if we feel the situation warrants further assistance, may refer you to agencies equipped to provide such assistance. We will also provide you with information to get you help. We do not perform routine maintenance or household chores.

If wish to participate you can clink on the “R U Safe” form link below then complete and print it. Mail the completed form to Rockwood Police, 115 N. Front Street, Rockwood, TN 37854. You may also email the completed form to

R U Safe

If you wish to participate you can click on the link below to view and print the R U Safe form. Once you have completed it, you may mail it to the Rockwood Police department, 110 N. Front Street, Rockwood, TN 37854

Rockwood Police and Fire-working to keep YOU safe!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Officials Scrambling To Save Greene Valley

Families need to have a choice of care. Greene Valley is a strong, viable choice of care for our most vulnerable Tennesseeans.

Southerland reiterated that state lawmakers were not included in the process of negotiating the proposed settlement, and also questioned how residents could safely transition from their homes at the center.

"Obviously we disagree with their [DIDD's] decision. If you've been out to Greene Valley and look at the patients who are there ... If they have a new [caregiver] just come in, they're devastated because someone new is there and they're used to the same person [the previous caregiver]," he said.
"Some don't realize the severity of their conditions."
Read the entire article here: Officials Scrambling To Save Greene Valley - The Greeneville Sun: Local News

Knoxville Pays It Forward inc.

Knoxville Pays it Forward Inc. is a vocal advocate for the hungry and displaced. Our mission is to help local Knoxvillians who find themselves in a crisis due to no fault of their own.

Knoxville Pays It Forward inc.

Families, county leaders concerned about potential closing of Green Valley

"I really believe that moving the residents out of there and in to the community will impact their health in such a way that they will not receive as good of medical treatment as they would at that facility and it could result in death," Greene County Mayor David Crum said.
"Family members are coming to me even more now saying our loved ones are getting great care at Greene Valley, the employees have known them for 40 plus years, there's no reason to move them out of Greene Valley," Hawk said.
Not only will almost 100 people with severe disabilities be displaced, more than 600 people could lose their jobs.
"The loss of those jobs would be devastating to Greene County," Hawk said.
As devastating as it may be to the local economy, everyone I talked with says more than anything their concern is for the future of those who live there.
A judge will hear the closure plan in Nashville on January 21st, and could approve it at that time.
Families, county leaders concerned about potential closing of Gr -

Treatment Before Tragedy quoted in the Congressional Quarterly!

 Congressional Quarterly 
The Struggle Continues Over Sandy Hook

By Shawn Zeller
Congressional Quarterly

Jan. 12, 2015
The two-year anniversary of the shootings that left 20 first-graders, along with seven adults, dead in Newtown, Conn., passed last month without much fanfare. The hopes of gun control advocates that Congress would do anything in response to it, and other mass shootings, have faded away since the Senate rejected stricter background check rules for gun buyers in April 2013.

But Rep. Tim Murphy hasn’t forgotten. In his office, the Pennsylvania Republican keeps photos of the children killed that day. A Navy reservist and psychologist who helps veterans recover from post-traumatic stress disorder when he’s not legislating, he is not a gun control advocate. “It’s not what’s in their hands, it’s what’s in their minds we have to deal with,” he says.

Since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Murphy has held hearings, talked with advocates for the mentally ill and victims of violence, examined federal spending on mental health and proposed legislation aimed at preventing future mass shootings by allowing the government to treat more people with serious mental illness without their permission. It is the GOP’s answer to Newtown.

Bipartisan, his bill stands a chance. But it’s not a sure bet. There’s plenty of opposition among mental health advocates and Democrats in Congress. The head of the lead federal agency on mental health issues, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, doesn’t think much of it. If it gets through Congress, a veto could follow.

Murphy plans to fight for it. He says the mental health system has too long ignored those with the most serious ailments and that the government is largely to blame. The most controversial provision in the bill would require states to treat more people suffering from serious mental illness, such as paranoid schizophrenia, even if those people don’t want to cooperate, by conditioning millions of dollars in existing block grant funding on their willingness to do so.

Half of the states now will only treat someone against his will if he’s an imminent threat to himself or others. Murphy would require states to treat people who have been repeatedly hospitalized or jailed, or whose condition is getting worse and who don’t have the capacity to make a rational decision for themselves.

Murphy suspects that Adam Lanza, the man who fired 154 bullets at children, teachers and administrators at Sandy Hook three Decembers ago, would have been a good candidate.

It makes for a powerful argument. “Those kids are dead and those kids had a right to a future,” Murphy says. “They had a right to be alive.”

Facing Roadblocks

Still, Murphy’s bill hasn’t moved since he introduced it in December 2013. Mental health advocates say Fred Upton, the Michigan Republican who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, wants to see more consensus before he brings it before the panel.

That seems unlikely. Neither Murphy nor his opponents seem willing to compromise. Pamela Hyde, the administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, says Murphy has presented an oversimplified picture of the mental health system and its deficiencies. He also has misplaced priorities, in her view. She says Congress would be wiser to increase funding for early intervention, school-based mental health services and peer supports. “We’re trying to focus on the population of concern and not cast a wide net” that may not get at the problem, she says.

Murphy’s most ardent supporters are the family members of people with mental illness who often feel helpless in their quests to get treatment for relatives. Asra Nomani, an author and former Wall Street Journal reporter, teamed with other family members of people with mental illness after the Newtown shootings to form Treatment Before Tragedy, a group that is advocating for better treatment and services for their relatives.

Thirty years ago, Nomani’s older brother was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a condition marked by hallucinations, delusions, mania and depression. She recalls the “litany of awfulness that families have to go through to get treatment” for their relatives, the 911 phone calls and commitment hearings. “The biggest challenge of this legislation is balancing the rights of families and patients in seeking appropriate care. It can be done. It has to be done for the sake of those with mental illness.”

Nomani credits a state program in West Virginia that required her brother to stay on his medications with helping him. Nearly every state has a similar program now — they try to allow patients to remain in their homes while they are being treated — but Murphy wants to expand them. He proposes to spend $15 million a year for four years on grants to states. A law Congress enacted last March authorized a pilot program along the same lines but the omnibus spending bill, enacted last month, did not fund it.

Families of mental health patients also complain that they cannot get information about a loved one from the doctors and hospitals that treat them because of federal privacy protections. In reality, federal law doesn’t prohibit it and the Health and Human Services Department issued a clarification of the medical privacy rules last February stating so.

But D.J. Jaffe, who founded Mental Illness Policy Org. because of the frustration he had helping to care for a mentally ill sister-in-law, says doctors and hospitals, concerned about violating privacy rights, often lean toward nondisclosure. The result can be infuriating.

Family members can’t find out when their relative’s next doctor appointment is, or help her get her medicine. Murphy’s bill states clearly that medical professionals can share information about a seriously mentally ill patient with family members.

When people with mental illness do get to hospitals, there often aren’t beds to treat them. Murphy and his allies blame a rule that dates to the founding of Medicaid in 1965, barring the program, which pays for health care for the poor, from paying for mental health treatment in private psychiatric facilities. At the time, the government was eager to move mentally ill patients out of institutions, where they’d sometimes been warehoused. But the result of Medicaid’s policy is a dwindling number of beds reserved for psychiatric care.

“It’s federally sanctioned discrimination against America’s most vulnerable people,” says Doris Fuller, the executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center. Murphy’s bill would allow Medicaid to pay for their care at private facilities.

Democratic Resistance

At the heart of the debate is the question of to what degree mental illness is linked to violence. Murphy cites research by Jeffrey Swanson, a professor of psychiatry at Duke University, whose studies have found people with serious mental illness are three to five times more likely to be violent than people without mental illness. Still, mental illness alone contributes little to the overall risk of violent behavior in the population. Swanson’s work, for instance, makes the point that other factors like being young and male, living in poverty, and misusing alcohol or drugs have a bigger impact.

“There is a statistically significant association between serious mental illness and violent behavior,” Swanson says. “But because there aren’t that many people with serious mental illness, and violence is caused by many other things, even if you eliminated mental illness as a risk factor, it’s not going to make a huge dent in the problem of violence.” The vast majority of seriously mentally ill people are not violent, he adds, and the probability that one of them would kill a stranger, as in the mass shootings, is infinitesimal, about 1 in 70,000.

Murphy has proven persuasive nonetheless. Of the 118 co-sponsors of his bill in 2014, 42 were Democrats.

But there’s also resistance on the Democratic side of the aisle.

Former Democratic Rep. Ron Barber of Arizona introduced a rival bill last year that included none of Murphy’s provisions aimed at making it easier to treat people with serious mental illness. Instead, it would seek to raise awareness of mental illness by authorizing an advertising campaign and a new office in the White House.

Barber’s bill would have mostly left the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s work alone.

Barber was defeated for re-election in November. But his Democratic co-sponsors are pledging to continue the fight. They argue that it makes more sense to shore up the existing mental health system by expanding efforts to catch mental illness early.

“We need a system that is welcoming and accessible and available before we discuss expanding involuntary care,” says Paul Tonko, a New York Democrat who was one of Barber’s original co-sponsors.

Agency Opposition

Murphy’s biggest fight, though, is with Hyde and her agency, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which each year spends $1 billion on mental health grants, research and technical assistance to states, nonprofits and other federal agencies.

Murphy is no fan, accusing the agency of wasting money on programs that not only do little to combat illness, but also discourage people from seeking treatment.

SAMHSA is “funding insulting and absurd programs on songs you can get on the Internet, brochures on how to get in touch with your inner animal, on how to stop taking your medication,” he says. “It’s unethical to tell people that these are not symptoms of a problem.”

He points to a past SAMHSA grantee, the California Network of Mental Health Clients, which lobbied against a 2002 state law providing for involuntary treatment of people with serious mental illness and a proclivity toward violence.

Murphy proposes to strip the agency of most of its authority over mental health policy and give it to a new assistant secretary for mental health at the Health and Human Services Department. His bill would require the agency to reserve 50 percent of the seats on its advisory councils, which help guide agency decision-making, for doctors or psychologists, and require all grants to go to programs evaluated for their effectiveness by people with experience in mental health treatment. A new mental health policy laboratory at HHS would also evaluate the grant spending.

Hyde says the provisions demonstrate a misunderstanding of what her agency does. “Our grant programs require that they either use an evidence-based program or show us what it is they are trying to do to create evidence,” she says.

“Some of our job is to help programs develop new approaches.”

She says that her agency does not fund programs that deny the existence of mental illness or the need for treatment, though she acknowledges that some of the organizations it funds might say those things.

Murphy says he plans no big changes in his bill when he reintroduces it this year, so the fight will continue on. “In the 20 years that SAMHSA’s been around, you’ve had increases in suicide, substance abuse, homelessness, incarceration, unemployment among the mentally ill,” Murphy says. “How is that a report card that’s good? I wouldn’t have put up with that for one year.”
Our voice is being heard! 

Please share the following message with your congressional leaders: "Bipartisan, it stands a chance. Please help Rep Tim Murphy help families like mine in mental health crisis."

Neuroscience is undergoing a transformation, enabled by new tools and new collaborations.

Princeton Alumni Weekly: Keys to the Mind

Princeton Alumni Weekly: Q&A: Dr. Laurie Watson Raymond '73 on Parenting Young Adults with Mental Illness

Princeton Alumni Weekly: Q&A: Dr. Laurie Watson Raymond '73 on Parenting Young Adults with Mental Illness

He's alive. That's all that counts.

"I had let go of vicarious ambition and trivial matters. When your kid is coping with mental illness, you get to the bottom line fast: He’s alive. If you have that, you can start feeling ambition for the child to be healthy and then happy. That’s all that counts."

Here's an excellent, must-read article on parenting adult children with mental illness:  

Princeton Alumni Weekly: What We Didn't Say

Friday, January 9, 2015