I recently attended the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Indiana’s Criminal Justice Summit in Indianapolis, IN. The morning’s keynote speaker was Major Sam Cochran (ret.), who is nationally known for his work in developing the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) model in Memphis, TN.
Cochran’s message was clear: CIT is not just a law enforcement program; CIT is a community program and should be recognized as a community priority. It should involve not only law enforcement officers and dispatchers, but also prosecutors, judges, emergency room personnel, physicians, nurses, psychiatrists, therapists, the community mental health center, and other community resource centers.
At our previous National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) meeting in Crawfordsville, IN, a couple participants mentioned that the state of Georgia provides a good model for how mental illness should be managed.
In Indiana, we don’t have a well-coordinated system in place to help people with mental illness find their way back into society from prison or homelessness. Georgia has a program called Opening Doors to Recovery that certainly seems to be what we should be striving for.
Here’s a YouTube video about the Opening Doors to Recovery program. Please watch it and post a comment to share your thoughts. Also, share any insights or information you have about similar programs in your state.
(If you can’t watch the video embedded on this page, view it on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2NJEL2WfCU.)
Jill Morley, director of the award-winning documentary “Fight Like a Girl,” is seeking funding to cover expenses that include licensing of footage, music, color correction, editing, and publicity, so she can bring her film to a wider audience. You can help by visiting Jill’s Fight Like a Girl Campaign on FundAnything and making a donation.
60 Minutes has an interesting segment entitled “Untreated Mental Illness and Imminent Danger?” Except for some stigmatizing language, this is an excellent segment that sums up the serious consequences of replacing psychiatric treatment with incarceration.
Please watch the segment and let us know what you think.
Stopwatch image available from Shutterstock.
From Joe Kraynak, co-host of Bipolar Beat: I have been corresponding with a young man who is currently being held in a federal detention center (FDC). I asked him to share his insights and advice for how friends and family members can support a loved one with bipolar or another serious mental illness who is in prison. He wrote this post.
Everyone knows the importance of communication in maintaining one’s emotional and psychological well-being. Communication is even more essential for those with bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses who may be confused about where they are and why and may even be experiencing paranoia and psychosis.
Hey, Chato Stewart just named me Mental Health Hero of the Month, complete with a goofy caricature of me. Check it out at Mental Health Hero.
I just watched President Obama’s “Shameful Day for Washington” speech, and I take issue with the fact that he included people with severe mental illness in a group he described as “dangerous individuals.” Here’s what he said:
“By now it’s well known that 90 percent of the American people support universal background checks that make it harder for a dangerous person to buy a gun. We’re talking about convicted felons, people convicted of domestic violence, people with a severe mental illness.”
“We have no national database of these lunatics… We have a completely cracked mentally ill system that has these monsters walking the streets.”
— Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President NRA
Since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut there have been pages and pages written and hours of audio and video created by people from all sides of the gun control/gun safety discussion. The conversation about the need for better mental health awareness and care, especially for children, is welcome. Comments like Mr. LaPierre’s are not.
Yesterday, I served on a panel of family members who have loved ones with mental illness, where we talked to a room full of police officers (approximately 30 of them) as part of their crisis intervention team (CIT) training. NAMI-WCI (West Central Indiana) provided the training.
As I prepared my story for the presentation, I realized that I am never the one who calls 911 when my wife is experiencing a manic episode. My wife has always been the one to call, usually because she is experiencing paranoia and psychosis and feels the need to call the police for protection.
This made me wonder… why?
The Fall edition of the NAMI Advocate (2012) contains an interesting article by NAMI Communications Coordinator Brendan McLean entitled “The Hope for Mental Illness Research: Dr. Tom Insel Shares the Latest Data at NAMI Convention.” But it wasn’t the discussion about research that piqued my interest. Instead, it was what Dr. Insel said about stigma and the importance of engaging the family in the recovery process.