Strangers Helped Her Parents: Unknowingly She Helped Them

My parents believed that the Lord worked in mysterious ways and while I have struggled with my own religious doubts and beliefs, there are stories that sometimes cause me to wonder.

My good friend, Evelyn Stratton, shares one about her life in the YouTube video above. She describes how an anonymous couple played an important role in helping her parents become missionaries and how she unknowingly crossed paths with that family decades later as a Supreme Court justice. Her personal story begins 50 seconds into the video and lasts until 2:36. She then finishes the story at the 12:41 mark. You have to hear it to believe it! Sandwiched between this personal account,  she discusses her mental health advocacy.Click to continue…

Major Editorial Win For Rep. Murphy’s Bill: Controversy Continues In Predictable Ways


The editorial board of  The Washington Post has endorsed the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act introduced by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) the only psychologist serving in the U.S. Congress.  In doing so, the newspaper takes a stand in a controversy that has split the mental health community in predictable ways.

The Post editorial writers noted:

 The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act is more comprehensive than other recent efforts to reform the system and perhaps has the brightest prospects in a divided Congress. The bill would reorganize the billions the federal government pours into mental health services, prioritizing initiatives backed by solid evidence and tracking their success . It would change the way Medicaid pays — or, in this case, underpays — for certain mental health treatments. It would fund mental health clinics that meet certain medical standards. And it would push states to adopt policies that allow judges to order some severely mentally ill people to undergo treatment.

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Mom Gets Offensive Bottles About Mental Health Removed

I love it when readers take action.

Karen Easter writes a blog   about mental illness and she gets especially irked when she sees or hears things that are stigmatizing. She told me in an email that she has grown particularly tired of jokes on Facebook about mental illness so she was already primed for what happened next.

Rather than having me explain what she did, here’s her account:

How do I adequately explain what I just witnessed in my favorite local pharmacy/grocery store? 

Waiting On The Sidelines To Fix An Obvious Flaw: Welcome To Mental Health In Virginia


A family friend spent two days waiting in Fairfax County recently for mental health officials to find a crisis care bed for her adult child.

Two days waiting in one of the wealthiest counties in America because there were no beds!

The former head of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Service Board said that Fairfax County sends an average of two hundred persons having a mental health crisis to other counties each year because there are not enough crisis beds available in Northern Virginia.

State Sen. Creigh Deeds was refused help when his son was psychotic because there were no beds available to him locally in rural Virginia  and a state worker dropped the ball looking at hospitals further away. A panel of experts testified earlier this month on Capitol Hill that there is a shortage of hospital beds nationally. One of those experts said a state should have 50 beds available for every 100,000 residents. Virginia averages 22 beds.

Yet, Virginia Interim Health Commissioner Dr. Marissa Levine   denied a request recently from a company that wanted to build a 75-bed crisis care treatment facility in Woodbridge, Virginia, just down the road from Fairfax. More than two thousand residents had signed a petition supporting it and Cynthia Dudley, who runs a Woodbridge mental health drop in center, said the hospital beds were “desperately needed.”

Dr. Levine called building a hospital “premature.”

Premature? After everything that has happened in Virginia?

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Don’t Attack A Bill Without Reading It! Rep. Murphy Lectures MHA’s Leader

Key testimony begins at 1:38:47 and lasts only five minutes. 

I missed a key congressional hearing last Thursday about Rep. Tim Murphy’s Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, that has become the most significant mental health legislation moving through this session of Congress. Fortunately, several readers sent me emails about an exchange between the Pennsylvania Republican, who is the only member in Congress who has been a practicing psychologist, and David Shern, the interim head of Mental Health America, the oldest organization in the country that was founded by persons with mental illnesses.

You can read Shern’s written testimony here, but the fiery exchange came near the end of the hearing after Donna Christensen, the Virgin Islands’ delegate, tossed Shern several softball questions that allowed him to criticize Murphy’s legislation.

Shern didn’t really care for anything substantial in Murphy’s bill and that attack set the stage for Murphy’s retort. Murphy didn’t mince words, especially after Shern acknowledged that he hadn’t taken time to read Murphy’s bill in its entirety before publicly skewering it.

Deservedly so, Murphy was frosted. A mental health lobbyist told me recently that Murphy is the only legislator “who really gives a damn” about fixing our mental health system. I think there are others, but his determination and passion certainly shows itself in his response to Shern.

(You can read my analysis of Rep. Murphy’s bill by clicking here. Or you can read the entire bill here.) 


A Night With Washington’s Powerful Supporting Mental Health


Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) and Singer Judy Collins 

I attended the annual Remarkable Journeys gala last night, an annual fundraising event which benefits Green Door, a non-profit, community based mental health agency in our nation’s Capital.  Each year, Green Door provides care to more than 1,800 adults with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe depression and other mental illnesses. One of the reasons why I admire Green Door is because it not only offers psychiatric help, but also hope, through housing and supported employment programs, both of which I believe are essential to recovery.

I often am asked to speak at fund raisers and many of them are for fabulous agencies just like  Green Door. But the Remarkable Journeys gala is different. Why? Because this event brings together some of Washington’s powerful elite – each of whom seem to check their egos, their politics and their status at the door, and enter prepared to support the Green Door mission.  My friend Michele Oshman, a Green Door board member, invited me to my first Green Door gala a few years ago, and at that time she told me what a special event it was.  She convinced me to become a donor and we’ve been attending the event together ever since.

I’ve lived too long in the D.C. area to be star struck. That’s not why I am impressed by the many D.C. ‘movers and shakers’ I see at the Green Door gala each year. This gala reminds me that mental illnesses don’t discriminate. No one is immune, not even powerful attorneys, wealthy business leaders, members of Congress,  or journalists. I’ve also been around politicians enough to know that when they attend events like this, they stop in to make a quick speech, shake a few hands and head out the door.

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