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Fathers, Sons and Suicide

Chato Stewart With Pete Earley Book A Fathers Search through americas mental health madness book crazyWhat an honor it is to be considered an: Everyday “mental health” hero by New York Times bestseller Mr. Pete Earley.  His career spans over 30-years in journalism, including six years at The Washington Post, and was the 2007 Pulitzer Prize finalist  Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness.

I just got his book and I’m having a hard time putting it down… It drew me in on the very first page where he says…where Mr. Earley writes:

I interviewed murderers and spies, judges and prosecutors, always seeking the truth and attempting to convey it so that readers can see the people and the events for themselves – can also understand not only what happened, also why.  But I was always on the outside looking in. I had no idea what it was like to be on the inside looking out. Until my son… was declared mentally ill.”  excerpt from Book: Crazy

Fathers, Sons and Suicide – Cry For help Unanswered

I could not help feeling connected to the deep emotional trials the mental-health system inflicted on Mike Earley and throughout many of the other stories of struggles to get mental health services.  It is reminiscent of my own melees with the system that left me out in the cold when suicidal and when needing help the most.  At a moment of clarity, back in 2004–I called 911 but they could not do anything, since I was not an immediate danger to myself (since i could call and sounded fine on the phone) or not an immediate danger to others (since not even in my wrong mind was i going to tell the cops i wanted to do bodily harm to someone).  If not for the compassion and love of my wife of 22 years, I really don’t believe I would be alive today and that I would be telling any story or drawing any cartoons or be as balanced…or at least–as balanced as I “think” I am!

Unfortunately even the most loving parents, family members, caregivers can be victims of the system and of the atrocities of mental illness!  I am humbled by the courage of a father and mental health advocate, Pat Milam. Suicide took his son and he is hell-bent on making changes to the system that will help save lives! (I’ll be talking to Pat Milam in a later post.)

Fathers, Sons and Suicide: Advocating for change

Pete Earley is An incredible storyteller,  and I’m honored to be included as one of his “everyday heroes”…In the blog post: EVERYDAY HEROES: A Photographer, Cartoonist, and Two Parents Speak Out About Mental Illness.  You may remember Mr. Earley from the MINDS ON THE EDGE Facing Mental illness.  It was a multi-platform media project that explores severe mental illness in America. Here is a clip:

I’m thrilled to be able to share my story. Along with a cartoon I drew in collaboration with Pat Milam to illustrate a far too often experience that unfortunately happened to his son who later committed suicide.

Thank you Mr. Pete Earley for including me in your “everyday heroes”… Congrats to all the other heroes! I hope that does not require me to be heroic everyday, once a week is a good number for me.

Cartoon by Chato stewart  illustrate the absurdity of what happened can lead to committed suicide clip_image

Please Retweet and add: via @peteearley


Fathers, Sons and Suicide

Chato Stewart

Chato Stewart has a mission, to draw and use humor as a positive tool to live, to cope with the debilitating effects symptoms of mental illness. Chato Stewart is a Mental Health Hero and Advocate. Recovery Peer Specialist board-certified in Florida. Chato is the artist behind the cartoons series Mental Health Humor, Over-Medicated, and The Family Stew - seen here in his blog posts. The cartoons are drawn from his personal experience of living with bipolar disorder (and other labels).

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APA Reference
Stewart, C. (2013). Fathers, Sons and Suicide. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 19, 2019, from


Last updated: 15 Jul 2013
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