Search Results for: that way madness lies

Stealing Money From Individuals With Mental Illnesses: 4 Shameful Stories

(8-5-19  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. Please enjoy this blog, one from the 1,250 that I’ve posted since 2006. 

You might remember Ted Jackson if you read CRAZY: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness. Ted was convinced Jesus was returning to earth in 2007.

Ted said God had commanded him to warn people about judgment day by spray painting “Jesus 2007” graffiti everywhere he could. He was arrested several times but he refused to stop.

Why should he? God had told him that he was a modern day John the Baptist.

One night a South Beach Miami police officer broke Ted’s right arm to stop him from spraying graffiti.

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“The Odds Increase The Shooter Will Be My Brother And I Will Be One Of The Victims”

(12-22-17) Sandra Luckow is a documentary maker who teaches film production at Yale University School of Art, Columbia University and Barnard College. In April, I described her powerful film,  “That Way Madness Lies…” as one of the most honest and haunting documentaries about mental illness that I had watched.  It will be released officially in 2018. Meanwhile, you can read about it and watch its trailer here.

Who is to blame for the mass shootings? We are.

Guest Blog By Sandra Luckow 

On this fifth anniversary of the mass shooting in Sandy Hook, in light of all that has not changed as a result of that tragedy, I have made a decision.

If I ever find myself trapped by a gunman, I will let him shoot me.  I don’t want to survive.  I don’t think I’ll even make an attempt to do so.  I’ve spent too many years dodging bullets and crying for help. 

Why is this mass shooting, so remote from me, causing nightmares and snuffing out my hope?  It was, after all, just the first in an unprecedented onslaught of killings.  

In my mind, however, with each subsequent shooting, the odds increase that shooter will be my brother and I will be one of the victims. 

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Joined By Bestselling Author Of Hidden Valley Road, 3 Mothers Describe Their Experiences With Adult Children With SMIs


(6-1-20) My son, Kevin, is a certified peer specialist – a person with a serious mental illness in recovery who helps others with their mental illnesses. I’m proud of him and his work.

Unfortunately and unnecessarily, peers are sometimes viewed as being adversaries to parents and families. This is counter productive. The same thinking that applies to peers can be said about parents and families. Only a parent or family member can fully understand what that experience involves. Parents handle issues differently. Some better than others. But teamwork is more productive than head butting, especially when each side should have the same goal, which should be helping an individual prosper.

The voices of family members are important. I remember vividly what a brother told me about his sister when I interviewed him in Miami for my book. He told me that his sister had schizophrenia and during the past 30 years she had been seen by two dozen psychiatrists, assigned three times that number of social workers, and had been arrested, and appeared before judges. When all of those doctors, social workers and judges were gone, he was still with her picking up the pieces.

It is important for parents to talk about their experiences. I am delighted that Randye Kaye, an author, public speaker, and mental health activist, invited two other mothers of adult children with serious mental illnesses to participate in a video discussion. Baltimore advocate Laura Pogliano and Miriam Feldman, both have written for this blog.

In addition, Kaye invited Robert Kolker, the New York Times bestselling author of Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family to join their discussion. Kolker’s book chronicles the experiences of the Galvin family, a midcentury American family in Colorado Springs with twelve children, six of whom have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Kolker’s book is a selection of the revived Oprah’s Book Club.

Thank you Randye Kaye, Laura Pogliano with SARDAA, and Miriam Feldman for sharing your experiences. Kaye is the author of  Ben Behind His Voices.  Feldman’s book, He Came In With It: A Portrait of Motherhood and Madness, will be available July 21st. Here is an NPR interview with Kolker about Hidden Valley Road.

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Who Shows Love To A Seriously Mentally Ill Convicted Felon? Tom Mullen Did & Taught Me Important Lessons.

Four Novices in Esopus 1962 — 1963 Tom Mullen on far left. Marist College courtesy of  Rick Mundy.

(4-28-20) News articles about how difficult it is for many Americans to practice social distancing and self isolation caused me to think of Thomas Peter Mullen, the founder of Passageway in Miami, Florida, and the valuable lessons that he taught me.

With pure white hair that tapered into an equally white beard and a fondness for wearing blue jeans with a tattered Navy blazer, Mullen lived modestly and enjoyed engaging in long discussion about morality, spirituality, and an individual’s mission and purpose in life.

I remember his staff at the halfway house that he ran keeping him occupied in another part of the building when a pharmaceutical rep dropped by with samples of the antipsychotic Abilify.  Passageway operated on a barebones budget and the staff was happy to receive free samples, but they knew Mullen would go into a tirade if he encountered the rep. Mullen believed drug companies should give medicines free to those who needed them, not profit from their sales.

Mullen had grown up in a tough Irish Catholic neighborhood in the Bronx and after his father had been swept overboard and drowned during a nor’easter while fishing in the Atlantic, Mullen’s mother had asked the Marist Brothers, a religious order dedicated to helping the underprivileged, to take her grieving teenage son under its wing. He joined the order and was eventually sent to Miami where he ran a methadone clinic but soon got into trouble for permitting social workers to discuss the pros and cons of abortion with pregnant drug abusers.

He left the church to launch a halfway house in 1979 for seriously mentally ill felons being freed back into the Miami community. By the time we met, Mullen had overcome tremendous obstacles in keeping Passageway open, including having ten thousand residents sign a petition demanding that it be forced to move from the residents’ neighborhood after a newspaper disclosed its location.

Mullen was dogged and resilient – but this blog is about loneliness and forgiveness.

Let’s begin with a murder.

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Lessons I’ve Learned As A Parent: Virgil Stucker Interviews Me On His Podcast About Hope, Healing, & Trends

(1-15-2020) Long-time mental health worker and advocate Virgil Stucker recently interviewed me for his Mental Horizons Podcast.  Virgil is best-known as the former founding executive director of the CooperRiis Healing Community, “retiring” after a forty-year career working in therapeutic communities. He now runs Virgil Stucker Associates, a private firm that “empowers mental health decision making for families and individuals… advocating for integrative, holistic solutions to the challenges of mental illnesses.”

In this episode, I talk about my book, CRAZY: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness, what helped my son, and the challenges and successes we face as parents and advocates.

From his website:

Being psychotic is not a crime: Pete Earley, celebrated author & father, is taking action.

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Most Impactful Player In Mental Health In 2019: Meet Marianne Kernan


Marianne Kernan is my choice for the year’s Most Impactful Player in Mental Health.

If you live in North Carolina, you know Marianne Kernan because she has been a tour de force in Moore County for years. I am choosing her for her accomplishments but also because she is representative of hundreds of dedicated advocates who quietly and steadily work to improve the lives of their family members and others with mental illnesses.

Like so many other parents, Marianne joined the National Alliance on Mental Illness after her son, Keith, became ill in 1986.  She moved up its ranks in her local chapter, working as a Family-to-Family and Support Group Leader, Fundraising Chair, Treasurer, Vice President and finally President.

After eleven years, she took a risky and dramatic step. Knowing firsthand how difficult it was to find housing for adults with mental illnesses, she founded a non-profit, raised funds, and bought a house that she and her supporters named Linden Lodge.

The Lodge’s 7 bedroom and 3 bath home can house 6 residents and one 24 hour staff member and is located in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Its philosophy is that individuals with serious mental illnesses learn to live life by living it!

Linden Lodge provides its residents with employment opportunities, recreational activities, and physical fitness programs and necessary living skills, such as personal hygiene, grocery shopping, food preparation, housekeeping, budgeting, and time management.  It focuses on helping its residents develop friendships and emphasizes the importance of family relations. It is funded exclusively by fundraisers and contributions from local businesses and families.

In the past, I have chosen well-known figures and organizations as my impact choices:  2014 – Rep. Tim Murphy (R.Pa.), Va. State Senator Creigh Deeds, and philanthropist Ted Stanley; 2015 – The Treatment Advocacy Center; 2016 – U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-Tx.) Chris Murphy )(D-Conn.) and Dr. Bill Cassidy (R-La.); 2017 – Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz and Mary Giliberti; 2018 – Dr. McCance-Katz.

Marianne Kernan and those such as her change lives one-at-a-time often without fanfare. I’ve featured others on my blog: Trudy Harsh, Jennifer Marshal, Laura Pogliano; Lin and Ron Wilensky, Kathleen Maloney, Betsy Greer, G. Douglas Bevelacqua, Sandra Luckow, Elena Broslovsky, Dede Ranahan, Jerri Clark…. the list goes on-and-on.

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