Readers Who Are Doing Their Part To Educate The Public: Complaints, Alerts, Performances, Websites, and Awards

Happier times, from left to right, Cheryl Scott, Phil's mother; Philip McMahon; and Ken Scott, his stepfather.

Happier times, from left to right, Cheryl Scott, Phil’s mother; Philip McMahon; and Ken Scott, his stepfather.

This month my blog averaged 71,000 readers with an additional 9,000 on Facebook. Thank you. Every week, readers send me emails asking how they can help improve our system. Here are examples of readers who are doing exactly that by writing articles, sounding alarm bells, creating Broadway quality shows, launching incredible websites and winning well deserved awards!

*Mental Health gadfly D. J. Jaffe accuses recipients of federal mental health dollars of blocking congressional reform efforts in an article published by The National Review. Writes Jaffe:

“Mental-health programs received $172 billion in federal and state taxpayer funds in 2014. As a result of lobbying by the mental-health industry, however, little of it went to reducing homelessness, arrest, incarceration, and hospitalization of the 10 million who have serious mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Instead, as in previous years, a vast amount went to improving the “behavioral health” of the masses.”

Jaffe and his website, Mental Illness Policy.Org, have repeatedly raised questions about SAMHSA programs that he believes are wasteful. You can read his argument in his article: A Chance for Real Mental-Health Reform, If the Mental-Health Industry Gets Out of the Way.  You might recall that it was Jaffe who complained about how California officials were spending funds generated by the so-called “millionaires’ tax” on questionable purchases, such as spending $11 million to hire a public relations firm and half million dollars on a salary for a lobbyist.

*A recent study by The Washington Post documented what national studies have shown: nearly half of all police shootings involve persons with mental illnesses. One father who is putting a human face on this grim statistic is Ken Scott ,whose stepson was shot during a psychotic break by a San Diego police officer. Ken’s stepson now faces two felony charges. Ken tells his family’s story at Phil’s Page.  

It was 12:42 am CST when my wife received the first news of Philip’s shooting, an event that had occurred 10 hours earlier. From that point true information was almost impossible to obtain. The police wanted information but gave none. The hospital was not even allowed to acknowledge that Phil was a patient. Everything we got was from the media and they got what the authorities wanted them to say. For the next 5 days we were living in hell.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, up to forty percent (40%) of adults who experience serious mental illnesses will come into contact with the police and the criminal justice system at some point in their lives. This is why Crisis Intervention Team training is needed in all of our communities and by team, I mean more than 40 hours of law enforcement training. I’m talking about communities implementing jail diversion and meaningful community mental care services, including supportive housing!

*One of my favorite non-profits, This is My Brave, continues to expand thanks to the unstoppable team of Jennifer Marshall and Anne Marie Ames. This is My Brave is a live theater presentation of touching essays, original music, and poetry performed by a dozen individuals living with―or loving someone with―a mental illness.  The first performance in our area attracted sold out crowds and led to Marshall and Ames taking their concept nationally. Next in line: the Big Apple!

This Is My Brave is producing an all-new show for New York City this fall! Join us on Sunday, October 4th at the Kaye Playhouse ( as we shine a light on mental illness through inspiring poetry, gripping personal essays, and beautiful, expressive original music. Tickets are on sale NOW. Auditions for the show begin the week of August 17th in Manhattan. Book your audition by visiting

I greatly admire Jennifer and Ann Marie and would strongly encourage you to support This Is My Brave with your contributions. My advice: contact Jennifer and Ann Marie and see if you can sponsor a This Is My Brave show in your city.

 *I first heard about  The Mighty  when an editor there asked through an email if she could reprint my blog: 7 Lessons I’ve Learned As a Father of Someone with a Mental Illness. Curious, I checked its website and discovered it provides inspirational stories about persons dealing with disabilities, disorders and chronic health problems and their families. I was impressed with the story telling, am grateful that my blog was added to their library and am thrilled to announce that there is now a Mighty Facebook page just for mental health content. Check it out: Mental Health on The Mighty

*I’m always thrilled when someone living with a mental illness, who is successful and in recovery, is recognized, especially my friend, Bob Carolla. He received a national VOICE award this week from SAMHSA.

 Bob has been NAMI director of media relations for 16 years and has served for ten years on the editorial board of BP Magazine. His work on stigma and discrimination issues has included projects with Boston University’s Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, the National Academies of Science Institute of Medicine and the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. He also has provided grassroots education and training for SAMHSA’s recovery and inclusion campaigns. Among other achievements, he is particularly proud of having managed the “NAMI Mental Health Policy Debate Series” for the National Forensic League in 2003, in which 1,000 high schools and 15,000 students participated nationwide. Before NAMI, he served as legislative counsel to former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell of Maine.

 Great job Bob! You are inspiring!   (Photo courtesy of Jon Didier Photography) 

Bob Carolla receives award from Kaitlin Abell of SAMHSA

Bob Carolla receives award from Kaitlin Abell of SAMHSA

About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.