Welcoming 2012 With A Look At The Past

Since launching this blog on January 1, 2010, I have written 184 posts. In an average month, between 2,000 to 3,000 readers check to see what I have posted. When a blog is especially controversial that number can jump to  6,000. Readers have posted 1,000 comments. Thank you for your interest.

I started this blog after several New York publishers rejected an idea for a book that I called HOPE.  I wanted to write about successful mental health treatment programs that were helping people recover. Unfortunately, the editors who heard my pitch were not interested in a book about success stories. I began this blog because I wanted to continue writing about issues, mostly mental health related, that are important to me, especially hope.  

The start of a New Year is a good time for reflection –  so I have reviewed my 184  posts and picked out a handful to highlight.  If you didn’t read them when they were originally posted, perhaps you will glance at them now. 

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Too Many Unanswered Questions

      *Several of Glenn Koons’  friends have posted  comments on the blog post  that I published about his death. If you take a moment to read them, you will discover there are several disturbing questions about his death that have not been answered.  

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What’s Your Advice?

I get emails every week from desperate parents seeking advice. Many have a son or daughter who’s been arrested. I remind them that I am not a lawyer, nor am I a social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist. I’m simply a father who became angry when my son got sick and I couldn’t get him meaningful help for his mental disorder.

The most common question that I am asked by other parents is:

  How did you get your son to take his medication?

The answer is: I didn’t.

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Death of an Advocate: Glenn Koons

Glenn Koons and Marlee Matlin


I first met Glenn Koons when I was invited to speak at a luncheon in Montgomery County, Pa., being hosted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. It was one of the first speeches that I delivered after publication of my book and before my talk, NAMI Board Member Carol Caruso introduced me to Glenn. I was immediately struck by his easy-going manner. Carol bragged that Glenn was one of the first NAMI trained  Peer-to-Peer mentors in the entire nation. Glenn and I spoke for several minutes and I was impressed by his thoughtfulness and enthusiasm.

Our paths continued to cross during the coming years at various NAMI meetings and conventions. I was always happy to see Glenn and was thrilled when I learned that he had been one of only four NAMI peers who had been invited to the White House by President Obama to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.   Glenn wrote about the event for a NAMI blog.

A few weeks ago, I was asked by NAMI’s Darcy Taylor to write an article for NAMI’s VOICES publication. In my article, I mentioned three “consumers” who have inspired me. They are  Dr. Fred Frese, Diana Kern, and Glenn Koons. 

The day after I submitted my article, an email arrived telling me that Glenn was dead.

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Cries for help from readers

I get dozens of emails each week from readers who have read CRAZY: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness. Most are from writers who are frustrated and desperate for help. Here are several examples.

The First Letter
The hardest thing for me is to convince other family members that our loved has little insight. It’s not that he’s stubborn, lazy, or means to be argumentative, or to even do risk taking behaviors. But, they don’t get it and don’t wish to read literature or research about the brain and how brain disorders affect the function of the brain – mood and thought processes. Nor, do they want to deal with him, because they don’t know how or don’t want to know how. They’ve their own lives and stresses as well. Yet, I ask, would we walk away and further stigmatize a loved one with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer (including brain cancer), heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, and any number of illnesses including addictions that affect the brain? Would we expect a loved one to break his or her leg without helping them to get proper medical treatment? I’ve not heard from our loved one in two weeks. I’ve sent texts, private messages on Facebook, and called leaving messages, to no avail. The only thing that keeps me even keeled is my involvement with NAMI, and letting our loved one know that I’ve not abandoned him in any way.

Deadlines, deadlines and more deadlines!

 I’ve prided myself on posting a new blog every Monday morning on this webpage, but I missed my deadline this week.  Unfortunately, I fell behind. I had a blog written but I wasn’t happy with it and until I get it right, I won’t be posting it. I also got overwhelmed with work.

In addition to completing last minute tasks for the publication of my new book, The Serial Killer Whisperer, that will be released by Simon and Schuster in January, I am under the gun to complete a novel that I am writing. 

Yep, I’m writing fiction again. More about that later. Because the novel is due September 1st, I am spending 14 hours a day at my keyboard.

I will be posting a new blog next Monday and, hopefully, each Monday after that.

Until then, I hope you will continue checking my blog, posting comments, and, more importantly, supporting my advocacy for a better mental health system.

Be well.