Mike Was 14 When Committed To State Hospital In 1957. In New Book, His Younger Brother Searches For Answers.

Colorado Insane Asylum – State Hospital

(9-14-21) In 1957, a fourteen year old boy named Mike Trimble was committed to the Colorado State Hospital in Pueblo after sequential diagnoses of “retardation, schizophrenia and epilepsy.” Mike’s brother, Stephen, was only four years old. Ten years later, Mike was mainstreamed back to Denver but didn’t want anything to do with his family.

In a new nonfiction book, The Mike File: A Story of Grief and Hope, younger brother Stephen, searches for answers about what happened to his older brother.

My interest in Stephen Trimble’s book was piqued, in part, because as a teenager I spent a week at the Pueblo asylum. It was during the summer of 1969 and I was a  volunteer there through my church. I mowed lawns and cut hedges in the morning and in the afternoon tagged along with a psychiatrist on his daily rounds. This was years before HIPAA and no one hesitated at having a naive teenager roaming the wards asking questions.

The hospital was in the midst of sending patients home as part of the coming national deinstitutionalization movement. In 1961, the hospital had hit a high of 6,100 patients. I spent my week observing two patients. The first was a woman who had been committed at her husband’s request. She had fought with him and seduced their teenage son to punish his father. The second patient was a young man – Chris – who’d been dropped off at the hospital as a toddler and grown up inside the asylum. By the time of my visit, doctors were convinced that the then forty-year old had never had a mental disorder. He’d been an unwanted child who was simply dumped at the doorstep. He had symptoms of Tardive dyskinesia even though records showed that he had not been heavily medicated and he acted as if he were sick because other patients had served as his role model. It was a horrific situation, which only became sadder when he was discharged to a nursing home. I heard later that Chris had died three years after I encountered him.

Although I was at the hospital only a week, my visit there left a lasting impression and vivid memories. I am glad that Stephen Trimble decided to investigate his brother’s life during this period in our history. And am grateful that he decided to share an excerpt.

The Mike File: A Story of Grief and Hope (an excerpt) 

By Stephen Trimble

You step from your car, distracted, headed for an appointment. A homeless man approaches. Bearded, unkempt, wild-eyed. You know you should be empathetic, but he comes too close. No sense of boundaries, no filters, jumpy in his movements. You pull back, you stiffen, on alert, expecting a request for a handout or a disorganized rant about lurking CIA operatives.

You feel guilty, but you don’t want to get drawn into messiness. You nod, you smile tightly. You look away. You move on.

Click to continue…

Lisa Dailey Named Executive Director Of Treatment Advocacy Center, New Challenges

Lisa Dailey takes charge of TAC

(9-10-21) I was delighted to learn this week that Lisa Dailey has been chosen as the Treatment Advocacy Center’s new executive director. I’ve worked with Lisa on criminal justice matters and have been impressed with her knowledge and concern for individuals with severe mental illnesses who are languishing in jails and prisons. TAC initially was founded to push for passage of Assisted Outpatient Treatment laws, but has expanded through the years, fighting the IMD Exclusion and calling for more treatment beds. Unlike the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health America, it does not accept funding from major pharmaceutical groups.

Here is the organization’s press release.

Click to continue…

Slowing The Pace After 1,382 Blogs – Nearly All About Mental Illness


(8-30-21) Having supported the National Alliance On Mental Illness for years, I wasn’t surprised when a solicitation letter arrived in my mail box.

But I was when I opened it.

The well-written request asked if I would consider putting NAMI in my Last Will and Testament.

Welcome to turning 70 years old!

When my mother was 93, she looked in the mirror one morning and wondered who that old lady was. I understand her words better now as I enter my seventh decade. I continue to feel as if I can do the sort of physical activities I did when I was in my 30s and competing in marathons and triathlons. Now, instead of going for a five mile run in the mornings, I sit in a hot tub trying to loosen up.

Which brings me to my point. For the past 14 years, I have posted at least one blog, often two, here each week. At last count, 1,382 blogs.

While I have no plans to stop, I am going to allow myself the luxury of posting sporadically in the future.  I find the birth of a third granddaughter and the pending birth of my first grandson calling me away from my computer more often these days.

My passion and advocacy hasn’t diminished, but like my former running days, I’ve decided to slow my pace.

Talk to you soon – but not weekly!

A New Podcast With Kevin & Me Explores Our Different Perspectives About Mental Illness From An Adult Son And Parent POV

Veteran Podcaster Gabe Howard Interviews My Son and Me

(8-23-21) I’ve been hunkered down this summer – even skipped a beach vacation – because of a fast approaching deadline for my new nonfiction book. But I wish to share a newly released podcast that features my son, Kevin, and me being interviewed about our different perspectives as a parent and adult son with a serious mental illness. Unfortunately, you will need to click on a link below to listen since I have no way of embedding it here.

This is one of a handful of interviews that we have done since release of my book, CRAZY: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness, and, as always, I learn something interesting from Kevin each time we speak in public together. This proved especially true in this podcast because we were interviewed by Gabe Howard, author of Mental Illness Is An Asshole, and one of my favorite advocates with lived experience. He is a popular speaker and veteran at conducting podcasts.  The podcast is available:

The podcast was done by NEXUS, which stands for Neuroscience Experts Cross-Sector Unconventional Stakeholders. The group is being funded by Otsuka Pharmacy, a major manufacturer of mental health drugs, and is being implemented by Real Chemistry: A Global Health Innovation Company.

We were not paid to be interviewed, nor do either of us ever endorse drugs or pharmaceutical companies. We are always happy, however, to share our stories of resilience and hope.

Members of NEXUS’s steering committee include representatives from the Scattergood Foundation, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, NAMI, Active Minds and Mental Health America.

Will Hargreaves at Otsuka explained why it launched NEXUS.

Through in-depth research, stakeholder interviews, and expert insights, Otsuka established a focus for NEXUS on three key areas of unmet need in mental health where Otsuka’s innovative approach could have the greatest impact: womenyouth, and the justice system. While the needs of these groups are different, they share many similarities, such as the need for greater awareness, early intervention, a timely diagnosis, continuity of care, and support throughout life transitions.

One of the goals of NEXUS is to work collaboratively to resolve the mental health challenges facing these groups at critical junctures, such as women becoming primary caregivers, youth moving schools, and individuals transitioning out of pre-incarceration community mental health services into the justice system.

Click to continue…

Hiking 900 Miles To Remember Son Shot By Deputy & Call Attention To Mental Illness: Mother’s Incredible Journey

Photo courtesy Wikipedia Idaho Centennial Trail

“That’s part of why I wanted to do this trail,” she explained. “I wanted to know what it was like to find a place to sleep every night, not knowing where your next meal is coming from, as close as I can be to what he had to deal with every day.”

(8-16-21) How do you call attention to the need for better police training and community mental health services after a sheriff’s deputy fatally shoots your son who had a serious mental illness?

How about hiking the Idaho Centennial Trail – all 900 miles of it?

That’s what Justine Murray and her partner, Matt Connery, are currently doing, stopping along their journey to talk to local reporters.

Two years ago, I posted a powerful video that Justine released shortly after her 25 year-old son, Ethan, who had schizophrenia, died in 2019. Ethan was shot by a Spokane County Sheriff’s deputy responding to calls about a young man running around without a shirt on and ‘acting strange.’ The officer chased Ethan into a homeless camp where he was shot multiple times even though he was not armed.

In an email, Justine told me that she and Matt are currently hiking along the Selway River, which will take them 8 to 14 days – “a huge wild stretch for us.” Hiking the entire trail through Idaho is no easy trek. It winds its way through various ecosystems from high desert canyon lands in southern Idaho to wet mountain forests in Northern Idaho – not to mention the bears. The couple will cross many mountains, streams and rivers. Claire Graham, with KHQ-TV based in Spokane, Washington, recently broadcast a wonderful story  about Justine’s and Matt’s crusade. You can watch the news clip here. 

I am certain Ethan’s spirit will be with them the entire journey.  You can track their trip and efforts by following the Ethan Murray Fund on Instagram and Facebook.

Click to continue…

VA Says He’s 100% Disabled Because of PTSD, Yet Expects Him To Manage His Life Without Supports

Husband’s pill box : without monitoring impossible to tell what medication is being taken and when.


Dear Pete,

I am the spouse of a person with an untreated SMI who is eligible to receive treatment and who wants to get well but can’t because of his illness and roadblocks in his way because of our medical and legal system. He remains untreated, paranoid and delusional, vulnerable to the suggestions of voices real and imagined, and on a path that I fear will end up with him entangled in the criminal system or dead. I am helpless to save him.

My husband is a veteran, who served over 40 years in the military and three wars, and yet he is MIA from his own life because PTSD keeps his mind reliving a war that the rest of us can only imagine.  The experts in PTSD at the Miami Veterans Administration agreed to treat his PTSD for the rest of his life. They promised to help him. Yet, they let him walk out the front door after 90 days with a treatment plan that they knew he could not keep because he still was sick.

Ironically, they gave him a party before he left.

Click to continue…