Mother Rushes Psychotic Son To Hospital. Doctors Later Refuse To Confirm He’s A Patient – Hide Behind HIPAA. Webcast Spotlights Problems. Next Up IMD.


Healing Minds NOLA – August 28, 2020 – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D., Timothy Noonan from Spyboy Media, LLC. on Vimeo.

(9-14-20) A mother rushes her son with mental illness to a local hospital. He’s admitted because he is psychotic and considered a threat to himself or others. But when the mother calls later to check on her son, hospital officials refuse to acknowledge that he is a patient because of their interpretation of HIPAA – the  Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

None of us should be surprised by this mother’s plight. What makes her story different is who shared it.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, (R.-La.) cited the mother, who he described as a friend of his family’s, during an interview with advocate Janet Hays for her Healing Minds NOLA series. More about HIPAA in a moment, but first let me write more about Hays’ work.

I participated in a discussion hosted by Hays and Eric Smith with Leslie Carpenter last month about civil commitment laws. Prior to that program, Miami Dade Judge Steven Leifman and Treatment Advocacy Center’s Executive Director John Snook spoke about alternatives to incarceration. Streamlining inpatient and outpatient care was the topic of a Sept. 4th program with psychiatrists Robert Laitman and Marvin Swartz. You can find all of these programs here.

This coming Friday, Sept. 18th, at 2 p.n. EST, the topic will be the “IMD Exclusion: The 1965 Federal Rule That Crushed Psychiatric Bed Capacity,” with guests former Representative Tim Murphy (R. Pa.), the primary author of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, and parent advocate Teresa Pasquini, who has written for my blog. 

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Fox Sports Commentator Rightly Criticized For Ignorant Statement About Dax Prescott’s Depression

Three minutes into the above video, Bayless says he has no sympathy for Prescott.

(9-12-20) Sports commentator Skip Bayless is continuing to come under fire for his ignorant and hurtful statement that Dallas Cowboy’s quarterback Dak Prescott is “weak” because he revealed that he struggles with depression.

Bayless’s comment on Thursday’s  show “Undisputed” was immediately criticized.

As Nancy Armour noted in USA TODAY: “That Bayless made his comments on World Suicide Prevention Day, after Prescott said his brother Jace’s suicide contributed to his depression, was all the more cruel.”

Fox Sports immediately distanced itself from Bayless’s comments. Bayless reacted by claiming his comments had been “misconstrued” and opined that there is a difference between clinical depression  and being depressed during the pandemic. He didn’t apologize.

His comments were a hurtful reminder of why people who are struggling with depression are afraid to speak openly.

Athletes, especially NFL football players, can influence public opinion. Prescott should be commended for his openness, not condemned, just as former First Lady Michelle Obama should be praised for  recently disclosing that she has struggled with depression.

Bayless criticized the quarterback after he became emotional during an interview with Graham Bensinger on InDepth during which Prescott spoke about his brother’s suicide. (Interview below.)

It takes courage to speak out about depression. Those who criticize that honesty should apologize.

Here is the interview with Prescott.

What Makes A Good Leader – In Life and As An Advocate?

(9-9-20) This is not specifically about mental illness but I think it does apply to individuals who want to be a leaders in mental heath.

While I generally don’t like simply posting articles or stories that I’ve read or watched, this seven-minute interview on Face the Nation with David Rubenstein about the qualities of leadership is worth your time.

I’m NOT posting it for political comment. It is not meant to endorse or defame either presidential candidate. Rather, I believe the lessons that Rubenstein proposes can be well used by all of us.

Here is the transcript if you’d rather read the interview.

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“I’m Tired” Peer Advocate Gabe Howard Writes. “My Life Has Worth.”

(9-7-20) I’ve been a long-time fan of Gabe Howard, a certified peer specialist, dynamic public speaker, author and popular podcast host. Gabe always has a smile on his face so I was surprised when he sent me a blog that he’d written about how “tired” he has felt recently.

I assumed it was a Covid caused lull. Former First Lady Michelle Obama recently disclosed that she has been dealing with “low-grade depression” – a combination of stress about the pandemic and our deeply divided political environment. One in three Americans have reported symptoms of stress or anxiety during the pandemic, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics. A report in the Oxford Journal of Medicine noted:

 Social isolation, anxiety, fear of contagion, uncertainty, chronic stress and economic difficulties may lead to the development or exacerbation of depressive, anxiety, substance use and other psychiatric disorders in vulnerable populations including individuals with pre-existing psychiatric disorders… 

Gabe said the grind was tied to his status as a peer.

“I’m tired – My Struggles As A Peer Advocate

By Gabe Howard

 A couple of years ago, I attended a conference where an incredible speaker gave a five-minute speech titled, “I’m Tired.” It had a simple delivery, almost a poetic cadence, where she would point out something she had to deal with on a daily basis. Then, after a slight pause, she’d say, “I’m tired.”

I don’t remember what made her tired, but I can still hear her powerful and commanding voice in my head dramatically saying “I’m tired.” That stuck with me because, like her, I felt tired.

And I am tired.

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NYT Columnist Asks: Would Daniel Prude Be Alive If His Brother Had Called Medical Professionals – Not The Police.

(9-4-20) I deeply appreciate law enforcement officers who want to help individuals in crisis by undergoing Crisis Intervention Team training. Sadly, too many Americans with mental or drug problems end up being arrested, injured or dead after the police are called. This is why I favor community alternatives that put responsibility back on social services and the medical community, such as mobile crisis response teams and peer support, to de-escalate a situation, while acknowledging that sometimes police must get involved.

The Rochester N.Y. police department’s response to Daniel Prude is calling attention to the deaths of not only people of color, but those having a mental health/drug crisis, as noted today in The New York Times. Eugene, Or., is cited as an example of alternatives to having police always be the first responders. Compare that community’s approach to the horrific police killing of Patrick Kenny in Springfield, Or..  What makes Kenny’s death even more appalling is that all of the officers involved had undergone CIT yet none used any of the de-escalation tools taught to them.

Mental health as crime

New York Times by David Leonhardt

Daniel Prude, right, and his brother, Joe.Roth and Roth LLP, via Associated Press
On March 23, just a day after having gone to the hospital for mental health problems, a 41-year-old man named Daniel Prude bolted out of his brother Joe’s home in Rochester, N.Y, wearing few clothes. Joe was scared about what might happen to his brother.
So he did what many Americans do when facing an emergency involving mental illness. He called 911.
In the hours that followed, police officers found Daniel Prude walking down a street and handcuffed him. One officer held a knee on his back for two minutes. Unable to breathe, Prude lost consciousness and died a week later.
On Thursday, after the Prude family released a video of the confrontation, the mayor of Rochester suspended seven officers. (For a more detailed account, you can read this reconstruction by Times reporters.)
The case has raised many of the same questions — about racism and police behavior — as some other recent deaths of Black men. It has also highlighted a specific issue that many experts believe is crucial to reducing police-related violence: mental illness.
“Americans with mental illnesses make up nearly a quarter of those killed by police officers,” Pete Earley, whose mentally ill son has twice been shot with stun guns by police officers, has written for The Washington Post. As Earley also points out, “115 police officers have been killed since the 1970s by individuals with untreated serious mental illnesses.”
Are there any promising solutions? There appear to be.
Some cities have had success moving more mental health treatment — including emergency response — out of the criminal justice system. And many advocates for better policing have called for an expansion of these efforts, as part of shifting some police funding to other areas. “This is the only medical illness that we use criminal justice to respond to,” John Snook, the executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center, told Vice.
One alternative: Eugene, Ore., routes some 911 calls — like many involving mental illness or homelessness — to an emergency health service, the White Bird Clinic. Last year, the clinic received 24,000 such calls Ebony Morgan, a White Bird crisis worker, told National Public Radio. In fewer than 1 percent of those cases did White Bird need to call for police backup as part of its response.
It’s hard not to wonder whether Daniel Prude would still be alive if his brother had been able to call medical professionals instead of the police.

D. J. Jaffe: Rest In Peace


(9-2-20) Several readers told me they are upset and disappointed that I published a blog this week whose writer was critical of D. J. Jaffe, a friend and fellow advocate of mine. I was told the timing was insensitive coming so close to his death. Others felt betrayed.

None of this was my intention.

D.J. was my friend. We enjoyed each other’s company. I admired his tenacity and advocacy for the seriously mentally ill who he passionately argued are too often ignored and abandoned by our mental health care system, government and mental health organizations. He was well-loved by many parents, especially those who often feel voiceless.

Periodically, I post views different from my own. I do this to present and better understand different points of view and hopefully build bridges. Based on comments on my Facebook page, that didn’t happen this week. Instead, the chasm between those who considered Jaffe a champion and those who felt hurt by him grew deeper. Positions more intransigent. I deeply regret this divide and wish it were otherwise. Deep down I believe all of us want the best for one another. The problem is that these issues are complex and, often by their nature, divisive. While we quarrel among ourselves, the rest of the world remains unaware and unconcerned about our struggles and hopes.

Those of us who appreciated D. J. will continue to do so. Those who didn’t will continue to do so.

None of the turmoil swirling around his death would have surprised him. He relished the role of being a bomb thrower and was not someone who was concerned about going through life quietly.

Rest in Peace D. J.

Other voices:

Manhattan Institute: Jaffe a passionate and tireless advocate for the seriously mentally ill.

Treatment Advocacy Center: a longtime, relentless pioneer in efforts to prioritize the care of those with severe mental illness,