National “Speak Out” Day May 20th Demanding Help for Families Dealing With Serious Mental Illness


(5-8-17) During Mental Health Awareness month, groups like to quote that one-in-five Americans are impacted by a mental illness each year, but that is a wide net thanks to a DSM-5 that includes such diagnoses as obstructive sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.
About 10 million Americans have SMIs – serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and severe and persistent depression.
An organization representing the SMIs has asked me to help publicize their call for a day of focusing on serious mental illnesses.
Events are planned in Washington D.C., Sacramento, Springfield, Sarasota, Palm Beach and Augusta and — you guessed it, this is a grass roots campaign being led by parents, many of whom, are frustrated with larger mental health organizations who they say are abandoning the sickest of the sick.
Here is a copy of their press release and a video that they’ve made that shows the faces of sons, daughter, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers, who have died because they did not get treatment. Watch it and you will notice the names of several individuals whose stories have been told on my blog.

For Immediate Release: Let’s Fight for Social Justice To Ensure Treatment Not Tragedy

Families for Treatment of Serious Mental Illness  (TreatSMI), friends and fellow advocates of both those suffering and who care about those suffering from serious mental illnesses will be coming together in our Nation and State Capitals demanding the right to treatment before tragedy, a hospital bed instead of jail or homelessness, housing, and an end to the criminalization of the seriously mentally ill.

Please join us in replacing stigma with honor, silence with voice, despair with hope, shame with respect, and ignorance with science so that we finally get treatment before tragedy.

States and cities where we’re joining together on May 20, 2017 are Washington DC, Sacramento, CA, Springfield, IL, Sarasota, FL, Palm Beach, FL, and Augusta, ME.

Schizophrenia and Related Disorders of America (SARDAA) will also be standing with TreatSMI on May 20th during the last day of their five-day event, “Hearing Voices of Support: An Experiential Event,” in New York, NY.

If you would like to join us, please sign up for our Shattering Silence mailing list below. You can can also download a PDF copy of our event flyers below and help us spread the word!  We will keep you informed as we continue our efforts to get social justice for those with a serious mental illness.

With gratitude on behalf of all the families, friends and advocates of those fighting for the rights of the seriously mentally ill.

#ShatteringSilence #VoicesforSMI #MightyMinority #SocialJustice #StigmaFighter
#FightintheOpen #EndCriminalizationofSMI #r2Tb4Tragedy #ABedInstead

Partial list of speakers:

Augusta, ME:
Pamela Blodgett, M.Ed.,BCN – Family Member, Advocate, Owner of Brain Training of New England, a healing center specializing in Neurotherapies for a wide variety of neurological conditions.

Jeanne Gore – Family Member, Advocate,  President & Chair of Chapter Development, Families for Treatment of Serious Mental Illness

Lynn Nanos, LICSW – Crisis Clinician & Advocate

Chip Angell – Family Member, Advocate


Amanda Woodward – Advocate, Psychiatric Nurse

Sacramento, CA:

Laurie Mendoza – Family member, Advocate

Joy Torres -Family Member, Advocate,  Chair of Membership, Families for Treatment of Serious Mental Illness

Sarasota, FL:

Sylvia Mascareno Charters – Chair,  MOMI of Florida(Mothers of Mentally Ill)

Sandy Turner- Mother and Advocate for Beautiful people with SMI

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.