Joining Two Fellow Authors To Discuss De-Criminalization Of Mental Illnesses; Judge Leifman Also Speaking At Free Virtual Summit

(11-23-20) I’m excited to be participating in an upcoming two-day summit that will examine how we can reduce the inappropriate incarceration of individuals with mental illnesses in our jails and prisons. A few seats are still open for the free two-day events on December 14-16.

I’ll be joined by Dr. Christine Montross, author of Waiting for An Echo: The Madness of American Incarceration and Alisa Roth, author of Insane: America’s Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness on Dec. 14th at noon on a panel discussing the criminal justice system. Our discussion will be moderated by Norman Ornstein, a nationally known political scientist who lost his son, Matthew, to mental illness. A limited number of copies of our books, including, CRAZY: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness, were being mailed free of charge to attendees. I’m not sure if that is still being done but hope so. Attendees can ask all four of us questions via the Internet after the panel discussion.

Before our panel discussion, Altha Stewart, M.D., immediate past president of the American Psychiatric Association, will give a keynote address at 11 a.m. On Tuesday, Dec. 16th, Rebecca Messing Haigler, from Verily Life Sciences, will give the second day keynote followed by a panel discussion entitled What Does Mental Health Decriminalization Mean, featuring Judge Steve Leifman, who has reformed the criminal justice system’s approach to mental illness in Miami-Dade County; Debbie Plotnick, with Mental Health America; and Sandy Santana, executive director of Children’s Rights. That afternoon, Garen Staglin, chairman of One Mind, will present PechaKucha presentations – a storytelling format where a presenter shows 20 slides for 20 seconds of commentary each (6 minutes and 40 seconds total.)

The summit is the brainchild of William H. Carson, M.D., chair of the Sozosei Foundation, the charitable foundation created by Otsuka Pharmaceutical, whose neurosciences drugs include the atypical antipsychotic medications Abilify and Rexulti, the latter in partnership with Lundbeck. Both are approved to treat schizophrenia and as an add-on for major depressive disorder; Abilify is also approved for use in bipolar disorder.

I am not being paid to participate. I enthusiastically agreed after I was told by Melissa Beck, Sozosei Foundation’s executive director, that the Summit’s goal is to collaborate, create, and explore pathways to decriminalize mental illness.

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.