Help Us Improve the Blog

My name is Evan and I’m Pete’s son and also one of the main curators of his website. Between my brother and I, we redesigned and have been moderating this new site, including the blog. My Dad and I have been overwhelmed by the immediate success of this blog and it’s all thanks to you – the reader. We have seen the website statistics jump and almost double since the launch of the new PeteEarley.com. A large part of this reason is the blog. And because we have gained so much from you all, we want to provide an opportunity to make it a better experience for you.

I have read a few comments asking or suggesting some certain things to be added to the blog, such as following widgets, etc. I wanted to open the discussion to all the readers of the site.

What do you want to see on this blog that would make the experience better? Don’t focus so much on content, as that is Pete’s decision, not mine, but stuff that would make this blog more accessible. Such as RSS feeds or Twitter linking, etc. What features do other blogs that you read have that we don’t and you want? Also, are there currently problems you have with the way the blog is now? We want to make improvements as suggested by those who are most intimately involved with the blog each day.

Please keep the comments civil and constructive. I will be monitoring them the next couple of days and will take all the suggestions seriously. Thank you for reading and for making this blog a success so far!

Adding Anosognosia to the DSM

As many of you know, I became an advocate for mental health reform because I could not get my son, Mike, help when he first became psychotic. I had rushed him to an emergency room only to be told that he was not sick enough. He was not considered an “imminent danger” either to himself or anyone else even though he was obviously delusional. Forty-eight hours later Mike was arrested after he broke into a house to take a bubble bath.
I was outraged and that experience caused me to begin campaigning for reforms in our current involuntary commitment laws. I think “dangerousness” is a horrible criteria. It is one reason why our jails and prisons are filled with persons whose only real crime is that they have a mental disorder. It stops loved ones from intervening before an ill person gets into trouble and it contributes to persons becoming homeless and dying on our streets.Click to continue…

A Lecture from a Hero of Mine

I was delighted when I opened my email and discovered that Major Sam CochrenMajor Sam Cochran, who often is called the “Father of Crisis Intervention Training,” had sent me a note. Sam is one of my heroes and has probably saved more lives of police officers, persons with mental illness, and their loved ones, than anyone else in our nation in recent times. He is also a modest and decent guy who is dedicated to helping persons such as my son even though he does not have a family member with a mental illness.

I tell Sam’s  story in my book and describe the key role that he played in developing CIT in Memphis, then spreading it across the nation and now internationally. Talk about someone who is making an impact!

The reason Sam was writing was to give me a well-deserved lecture — in his gentle, Southern way.

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Serenity: Is it Possible?

     When my son, Mike, came over recently to play chess — or should I write to easily defeat me in several chess matches — he arrived carrying a DVD. The title was: The Devil and Daniel Johnston.
      Johnston is a cult figure among artists who have mental disorders because he is a song writer, singer, and artist who has struggled for years with mania.

Votes or Money? We need both!

      Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell has proposed cutting $300 million from the state’s mental health budget. His plan would reduce mental-health treatment beds by 232, take 5 percent in funds from community service boards (which provide mental health treatment in the community) and freeze enrollment for a program that provides insurance to low-income children.

    What McDonnell is doing is not much different from what other governors are doing across the country. Each day, I get a NAMI alert from some state chapter about budget cuts that will cause havoc in mental health programs.

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Psychiatrists vs Psychologists Anyone?

     I couldn’t get home last week from Los Angeles because of the snow storm so I flew into Las Vegas to do interviews for my new nonfiction book. I enjoyed being in the only city in America, I think, that didn’t have snow on its streets or freezing weather. It also was interesting to drive along the famous Strip and see how much it has changed from when I did my research in 1997 for my book, Super Casino.

 While the Luxor is still there with its shiny black exterior and brilliant pyramid tip, it looked puny compared to the new billion dollar mega-resorts that have been constructed recently.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the contrast that you see in Las Vegas.

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