Sunday, February 22, 2015

Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, asks why we aren't more compassionate more of the time.

There is zero correlation between IQ and emotional empathy. … They’re controlled by different parts of the brain. - Daniel Goleman

Tennessee, Listen Up! Should Mentally Ill People Be Forced Into Treatment?

This study shows why Tennessee should be the 46th state in our nation to enact AOT laws.

New Study: Assisted Outpatient Treatment Saves More Taxpayer Money Than It Costs

A new study finds that involuntary psychiatric treatment programs can keep people from cycling through ERs, jails, prisons, and homeless shelters—and therefore save taxpayers gobs of money. Is it worth it?

Read the TIME article here:

In every case program costs were “more than offset” by reducing public spending in other areas, resulting in a net cost reduction to the public, the study conducted by Health Management Associates found.

Read about the study, commissioned by the Treatment Advocacy Center here:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Help Knoxville's Homeless Mentally Ill Survive on the Streets Today

Around noon today, I have some Knoxlife friends who are taking blankets and provisions to the folks who are surviving on the streets and refuse to take shelter. 

"Why in the world don't they just go inside the missions when the temps are this dangerous", you ask? Many have untreated mental illness and are highly symptomatic with paranoid thoughts and delusions. They self medicate with drugs and alcohol because they aren't treated with the appropriate medications required to treat their illness. This may numb the pain but it also worsens their symptoms. And they are seriously ill, not stubborn. I know of at least one man who has died from exposure to the freezing temps recently. 

They need our compassion to get through this cold snap ... but what they REALLY need is timely effective treatment for their untreated mental illness (more on that later). I'm contacting these friends to see if they can swing by my workplace as they head out to buy basic needs for the ones living outside in this 3 degree weather. They especially need blankets and since I don't have any on hand, I'm giving them a cash donation to purchase provisions. If you want to help, please let me know via email at   Blankets, hot hands, gloves, socks, candles, any sort of winter outer wear is needed.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

On closing Lakeshore: Results living under Knoxville I40 bridge

Last night under the bridge, I witnessed human despair firsthand, a direct result of the decision made two years ago to close our region's only state psychiatric hospital. His name was Charles.
I'd offered to help him complete his form to enter Lost Sheep's rehab program for his alcohol addiction. It was a fairly easy task at first. He had no address, no job, no income, no relatives as both parents had passed away. But then we got to the medical history page. It filled up completely. Bipolar. Six different medications - he could name them all - including antipsychotics. Self medication of choice: alcohol. Just discharged from Peninsula psychiatric hospital 6 days ago. I asked, "dear Charles, what are you doing living under the bridge if you just got discharged from the hospital?"
He said, "this is where they brought me".
So I ask ... is it okay with you when our society throws people away?
It's not okay with me.
If we advocate for anything, we should be advocating for mandatory assisted outpatient treatment for these folks with serious brain illnesses as they are discharged from hospitals, especially when they have no other support.
AOT would provide the needed services and oversight to keep people OFF the streets, not put them ON the streets. But sadly - after 8 years of advocating - Tennessee still remains as one of only 5 states in our nation without AOT laws on its books. Soon we will be one of only 3, as New Mexico and Maryland are close to passing AOT laws.
This post is for you, Charles. I admire you for reaching out, as impaired as you were, and I sincerely hope you get the help you need.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Kennedy in Q-C: Treat brain, physical illnesses the same

020815-kennedy1Mental illness should be treated like any other ailment, former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, 47, said during a presentation Sunday night in Davenport.
The former Rhode Island congressman talked and answered questions at the Adler Theatre about the stigma and treatment of mental illness in the United States and his personal struggles with addiction and bipolar disorder. About 100 people attended.

Read the entire story here:  Kennedy in Q-C: Treat brain, physical illnesses the same

Oklahoma judge threatens to jail mental health commissioner. Has the tide finally turned?

Photo - Terri White, director of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health
Terri White, director of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma County judge threatened to jail the state's mental health commissioner for ignoring a written order to commit an inmate to a state mental health facility.
District Judge Ray C. Elliot admonished commissioner Terri White for not transferring 35-year-old Ricky Norman Edwards to the Oklahoma Forensic Center in Vinita per his July 24 order, The Oklahoman ( ) reported. The inmate was transferred this week after a contempt-of-court hearing was scheduled for White.
White's representative, state general counsel Dewayne Moore, said Edwards could not be moved because there were not enough beds at the facility. The judge rejected Moore's explanation.
A spokesman for the department said after the hearing that the issue is a lack of funding for services, not a failure by the department. Moore said in court that the waiting list to get into the 175-bed center is 100 people long.
"That's really not my problem, counselor," Elliot told Moore. "You don't solve that problem by ignoring a court order."

Delay in mental health placement frustrates Oklahoma County judge

An angry Oklahoma County judge Wednesday threatened to jail the state’s mental health commissioner because a mentally ill criminal defendant did not get treatment for six months.
“You just don’t get to ignore a court order,” the judge said during a contempt-of-court hearing. “It’s kind of sad that I have to tell the commissioner of the Department of Mental Health the same thing I have to tell someone who’s committed eight felonies.”
Read the entire story here:

We need more judges like this ...

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Why are the homeless dying? Some would rather take their chances outside in the freezing cold than risk the dangers of an overcrowded shelter system

"Is this about not having enough housing? Is it about mental health issues? We're just trying to make it a less miserable situation." 

Gimme safe shelter - NOW Magazine

Monday, February 2, 2015

Do you know how much NOT helping those three is costing you? - Pete Earley

My Message to Utah Legislators: Treatment Makes More Financial Sense Than Incarceration!

Jamie Justice, NAMI-Utah Director; Jackie Rendo, activist; Pete; Francisca Blanc, NAMI Development Director; Azra Juillerat, past NAMI Utah President.
Read Pete's story here:

Sunday, February 1, 2015


FB Friends in Knoxville - please share widely!
Please help find Elizabeth Morris, missing from her home in Kentucky since October - last seen in Knoxville, Tennessee at various locations downtown and at the Walker Springs Walmart. She requires medication and may appear frightened and disoriented if approached. Please call the numbers listed IMMEDIATELY if you see her. Elizabeth's mother wants to know she is safe. PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH OTHERS IN THE KNOXVILLE AREA.

Time: 4:13 p.m.
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014
Location: Sunset Avenue, Paducah
Missing Person: Elizabeth Lauren Morris, 33, of Sunset Avenue
Janice Morris of Sunset Avenue told police Tuesday afternoon that her daughter, Elizabeth, has been missing since mid-September.
The younger woman last was seen about 8 a.m. on Sept. 17. A neighbor said Elizabeth was wearing flip flops and a full-length brown coat. Janice Morris said she last spoke with her daughter on Oct. 11 and that she might be in the Knoxville, TN, area.
Elizabeth is described as a white female, 6 feet tall with a heavy build, with brown hair and grey eyes. She requires medication for a medical condition.
Anyone with information about Elizabeth Morris’ location is asked to call the Paducah Police Department at 270/444-8550 or Crime Stoppers at 443-TELL. Tipsters also may access the online tip form through the City of Paducah website at Information leading to an arrest or indictment may result in a reward of up to $1,000.

Seargeant D. Griffin 865-215-6815
Officer K. Johnson 865-215-6838