Fountain House Leader Kenneth Dudek Retiring: A Quiet & Tireless Advocate For Persons With Serious Mental Illnesses

Please watch this seven minute video about Fountain House, a Clubhouse Model

(9-3-19) Kenneth J. Dudek, a tireless advocate for persons with serious mental illnesses, is retiring as president of Fountain House. He has worked there nearly 28 years.

Fountain House is perhaps the best recovery program in our nation and much of its success can be credited to Dudek.

I have telephoned him several times during the past decade seeking help for someone in New York who was in the midst of a psychotic break. He always responded. He never said that he couldn’t help in some meaningful way.

As a fellow New York City mental health advocate D.J. Jaffe wrote recently in a blog tribute to Dudek, Fountain House is “the single program all the parents of seriously mentally ill wanted to get their kids into. It’s even more so today.”

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Local Minister Organizes Cross Country Motorcycle Trip To Raise Awareness, Staying In Homeless Shelters. Plus Virginia’s Medicaid Dollars Going To Mental Illnesses

(8-30-19) A minister who is the director of a rescue mission in Winchester, Virginia is leading a Rescue Ride across America on motorcycles to call attention to homelessness, mental illnesses, addictions and shelter life.

Pastor Brandon Thomas recently explained his plans to Dr. David Drew Pinsky and Leann Tweeden during the first fifteen minutes of their nationally syndicated radio show:  Dr. Drew Midday Live. 

During that interview, Dr. Drew lamented how America has allowed sick people to die on its streets and offered strong opinions about anosognosia and how the definition of gravely disabled needs to be expanded, explaining that homeless, psychotic individuals often are infuriated after they get help and become stable because no one intervened earlier to help them.

Thomas, whose father had a serious mental illness, said he hopes the 12 day ride will shine a spotlight on the plight of homeless Americans, especially those in shelters. He and a half dozen other riders will spend their nights sleeping in homeless shelters and will live stream and upload videos of their conversations with shelter residents who they meet during the trip. Scheduled to depart from Winchester on September 27th, the Rescue Riders will travel to Knoxville, Nashville, Little Rock, Wichita, Denver, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

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Stop Bashing Trump, Arguing About Guns & Stick To Focusing On Serious Mental Illnesses Distraught Mother Writes

(8-27-19) Dear Mr. Earley,

I am a mother of an almost 18 year-old with a severe mental illness. I read your book and have followed your blog posts for a while now.

It seems that the last few blog posts have been full of disrespect and disdain for our president and anyone who does not see gun control as an answer to a complex problem.

When my daughter, Raven, is psychotic and has homicidal obsessions she is not thinking clearly and will not abide by any law that is on the books. Other times when she is manic, her view is that of being above the law.

It is the job of a gun owner to lock up guns. That’s being a responsible person. Or choose, as we have, to not have guns at all.

If your gun control message is aimed at the mass murderers who are evil and not at serious mental illness (SMI), then that argument should be separate from the disaster that is our mental health care system.

As a fearful mother, I want the focus – your focus — to remain on the much needed services for the most vulnerable population. PLEASE use your platform to be my voice and leave the anti-Trump and gun issues for a separate topic.

Let me explain why I feel so passionately about this by telling you about my daughter and what my husband and I have been through trying to help her.

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Blaming Mental Illness: “It’s a lot easier to focus on us than on the complex social factors that contribute to mass murder in America.”

(8-21-19) Dear Pete, 

Would you be kind enough to share this edited version of an Op Ed that I published in USA Today?

It calls on policy makers to reject false connections between mass murder and mental health conditions and to take on meaningful gun control legislation, a commitment that the White House is now walking back (see  Jonathan Capehart’s passionate piece in the Washington Post.)

My original submission used different language in several places, called for the rejection of discriminatory mental health data bases that advance surveillance based on the unfounded threat we pose and emphasized that:

“it’s a lot easier to focus on us than on the complex social factors that contribute to mass murder in America, the political divide, racism, economic inequality and hopelessness and the lack of political will to pass common sense gun control laws. At the same time, our political leaders in the White House, Congress and State Houses must make it explicitly clear that promising Red Flag’ laws and Extreme Risk Protection Orders are not intended to target any one group like ours, but extend to all and everyone who has access to guns and who is deemed to pose a danger to themselves or others.”

Thank you,  Harvey Rosenthal

Don’t Scapegoat, Institutionalize People Like Me After Shootings

By Harvey Rosenthal   USA Today Opinion Contributor

I was first diagnosed with bipolar illness more than 40 years ago, after a six-week stay in the psychiatric unit of a Long Island, New York, community hospital. I entered into a personal process of recovery and, five years later, began my life’s work as a ward aide at a New York State Psychiatric Center in Albany and ultimately as an advocate for people like me.

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Advocates Ask 2020 Presidential Candidates To Add Mental Health Reforms To Their Platforms.

(8-19-19) Dede Ranahan, an author and mental health advocate whose son, Patrick, died in 2014 because of “our inept, non-existent mental illness system,” has launched a national effort to get 2020 presidential candidates to discuss serious mental illnesses.

Her effort began before recent mass shootings and discussions by President Trump about mental health and violence.

Along with other advocates, parents, authors, and mental health professionals, Ranahan is urging candidates to adopt a five part plan. It already has been submitted to Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, and Tim Ryan.

“It’s not comprehensive,” she said in an email about the plan, “our mental illness system needs much more, but it’s a beginning. We’re asking our 2020 presidential candidates to take our plan, make it their own, and talk in their campaigns about serious mental illnesses. We’re telling them we want to see mental health/illness plans on their campaign websites.”

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John Oliver Explains Why Our Mental Health System Is Broken: Please Watch It!

(8-16-19 ) It’s August, which means I will be taking a short, but much needed vacation with my family, and also finishing my new novel, entitled SHAKEDOWN. The comedian and social commentator John Oliver does a tremendous job examining our broken mental health care system in this segment. Take special note of his comments about blaming individuals with mental illnesses for mass shootings. Please take time to watch it. You won’t be disappointed.