Why Aren’t More Fathers Involved In Advocacy? I’m Asked In Podcast With 3 Mothers In The Trenches

(10-7-22) Three moms with sons who have schizophrenia question me during this podcast about such subjects as the new 988 number, being a dad in the trenches as opposed to being a mom, and NAMI’s “Big Tent” approach to mental illnesses. They remind me that not everyone with a serious mental illness gets better – rather there are good days with good memories and bad ones.

We must savor the good memories.

Three Moms in the Trenches is a thoughtful podcast created by Randye Kaye, author of Ben Behind His Voices: One Family’s Journey From the Chaos of Schizophrenia To Hope, along with Miriam Feldman, author of He Came With It: A Portrait of Motherhood and Madness, and Mindy Greiling, author of Fix What You Can: Schizophrenia and a Lawmakers Fight for Her Son.  

All three of these accomplished authors are veteran mental health advocates. Check out their joint podcast and their individual books which describe their journeys with an adult child with a serious mental illness.

Show Information Posted on Podcast.

Pete Earley is a storyteller whose books include four New York Times bestsellers, likeThe Hot House and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize finalist Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness.His years as an investigative journalist include six years at The Washington Post. Pete is a tireless advocate for mental health system reform.

Many listeners ask: What about the Dads? Pete Earley knows. He was most recently seen on the PBS documentary “Hiding in Plain Sight” with his son Kevin Mike Earley.

In today’s episode we hear their family story, and many thoughts on what we’d like to change about the system – including NAMI. 

Additional information/links from Three Moms In Trenches

The Lifeline and 988 – https://988lifeline.org/current-events/the-lifeline-and-988/

NPR 988 story: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/07/15/1111316589/988-suicide-hotline-number.

Want us to cover a topic? comment to share?

Facebook page @Schizophrenia3Moms   @SZ3MomsTrenches –  twitter

Randye Kaye -Broadcaster, Actress, Voice Talent, Speaker, and Author (“Ben Behind his Voices”, “Happier Made Simple”)

Miriam Feldman – Artist, Mom, Author “He Came in With It”

Mindy Greiling – member of the Minnesota House of Representatives for twenty years. Activist, Legislator, Author (“Fix What You Can“)

Stuck In Revolving Hospital Door: Margalea Warner Found 27 Keys That Helped Her Handle Schizophrenia

Keys marking each year of stability. (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

(10-3-22) Margalea Warner writes about her journey from being repeatedly hospitalized because of schizophrenia to her recovery today. To help others, she identified 27 “keys” that helped her. I’m delighted to share her story with you. 

I Found 27 Keys To Better Mental Health: You Can Find Yours

By Margalea Warner

The heaviness of my sigh matched the weight of the steel door that locked behind me with a loud clunk.

I hadn’t committed a crime and I wasn’t in jail.  I was in a locked hospital psychiatric ward because I had a brain disorder called schizophrenia.  The hospital wasn’t a terrible place to be.  Unlike in the hellish insane asylums half a century ago, patients weren’t restrained with straightjackets.  The awful practice of lobotomy had long since been discarded.  This hospital was renowned for evidence-based medical treatment.  There was a sunny day room.  Eating with other patients in the dining room helped things feel a little more normal.

Except I didn’t want to be here.  Again.

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“Lack Of Insight” Explained In Podcast Interview By Advocate Gabe Howard

Advocate and podcaster, Gabe Howard.

(9-27-22) Fellow advocate and a good friend of this blog, Gabe Howard, contacted me after reading my post about anosognosia, which some claim isn’t real. He wrote:

“I know the world is fascinated with anosognosia right now and my podcast, Inside Bipolar (from Healthline Media), covered it. As you know, I handle discussions like this with a little humor and by doing my best to see both sides. This podcast is hosted by me (lives with bipolar) and Dr. Nicole Washington (board certified psychiatrist) discussing the pros and cons (and a little history). “

About the author: Gabe is an award-winning speaker, author, and podcast host who lives with bipolar disorder. He’s the host of the #1 educational mental health podcast, Inside Mental Health, for Healthline Media, and the author of Mental Illness Is an Asshole. 

Mentally Ill Defendant Blamed For Not Taking Medication Before Tragedy – Even Though That Was His Right.

Nick Maher at sentencing hearing.

Nick Maher at sentencing hearing.

(9-22-22) Should someone with a severe mental illness be blamed for “choosing” to be ill if they refuse treatment and later become violent?

A prosecutor in Genesee County, New York, argued earlier this month that Nicholas Maher, age 38, deserved a maximum prison sentence because he’d refused to take medication and seek treatment prior to him fatally stabbing his 69 year-old father, Martin Maher, last year.

“Nick Maher is a college-educated person,” District Attorney Kevin Finnell told a judge. “He’s smart enough to know that he needs to get mental health treatment and that he needs to take his medication, even if it doesn’t make him feel real good. But he chose not to do that.” Finnell said Maher was clearly responsible for his father’s death, even though the prosecution and defense agreed that Maher was legally insane when he attacked his father.

Maher had no prior criminal history, but he had a long history of mental illness, his defense attorney, Public Defender Jerry Ader told the court. “I sincerely believe that our community, our country, has a difficult time dealing with mental illness, especially when it comes to mental illness in the criminal justice system.” Ader questioned whether Maher had enough insight to “choose to be ill.”

“Some (said) he chose to do these things, and that he could have done something else. And I’m just not quite sure that’s true. And I don’t think anyone can know for sure if that’s true. It’s easy to say because we don’t understand mental illness. But in my experience, when someone is placed in a psychiatric hospital, it could take years in order to get a patient, an inmate, to understand, to have the insight as to their illness, why they need help and why they need medication.”

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YOU ARE NOT ALONE: NAMI Book Discusses Anosognosia, Other Tough Mental Health Issues

Anosognosia is discussed in book excerpt: YOU ARE NOT ALONE

(9-14-22) The National Alliance on Mental Illness is publishing its first book: YOU ARE NOT ALONE, written by its Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kenneth Duckworth. Dr. Duckworth has kindly allowed me to publish an excerpt discussing anosognosia – a lack of insight.  The book goes on sale September 20. More information about You Are Not Alone and the national schedule of Dr. Duckworth’s appearances to discuss the book can be found at  https://www.youarenotalonebook.org/.


A book by Kenneth Duckworth, M.D., published/copyright by NAMI. (Excerpt used with permission of NAMI.)

When someone is affected by a brain-based condition, it can be difficult to recognize or assess the extent to which their emotions and thoughts are affected by an illness process. My dad periodically experienced this state during his episodes, so I know intimately the challenge, pain, and helplessness it can generate for family members. The same microwave he truly thought was communicating to him during an episode of psychosis was just an appliance he used to heat up his coffee a few months later. We were lucky that his awareness would return once his episode ended, after months in the state hospital. He knew something had happened that prompted hospitalization, and he would take the prescribed lithium and antipsychotic medication, but he didn’t want to discuss his illness or treatment. He would rather take me to a Detroit Tigers game and engage in playful stories. It was also easier for me to take all the good in him and deny his painful episodes. 

That kind of denial on our part was a separate issue from that of anosognosia, which is inherent to the brain and not a conscious or unconscious choice. Dad happened to have both sides of this coin: episodic lack of awareness and self-protective denial after an episode. Anosognosia is the brain; denial is the mind. In fact, both of us had denial, but that can be worked on…. The brain dimension of anosognosia, however, is an ongoing challenge that science has yet to understand.

I asked two experts—Xavier Amador, author of I Am NotSick, I Don’t Need Help, and Kate Hardy, a leader in cognitive behavioral therapy for psychosis (CBTp)—to share their approaches to care in this critical area. Because anosognosia is brain-based, not everyone who lacks awareness of their illness can gain it—even with the best relationship support and treatment. I believe one way to better understand what your family member is going through is to listen to someone who has lost awareness, regained it, and can talk about it.

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A Comprehensive Book About Mental Illnesses: YOU ARE NOT ALONE By Dr. Ken Duckworth

(9-13-22) The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the largest grassroots mental health organization in the nation, is publishing a wide ranging practical guide – You Are Not Alone – this month written by its Chief Medical Officer Ken Duckworth. Long-time NAMI advocate (and a good friend of mine) Ron Honberg offers up this information.

You Are Not Alone: Ken Duckworth’s Practical Advice

Guest blog by Attorney Ron Honberg, former National Director of Policy and Legal Affairs at NAMI.

Dr. Ken Duckworth’s motivation was simple.

He remembered the day his father was diagnosed with severe bipolar disorder, the need his family had for clear, practical advice about how they could best support his father, and how this information was never provided by those responsible for his father’s treatment.

He soon realized this was a common experience for so many other individuals and families – back then and even today.  He knew that peers and families throughout the country have a story to tell and that lessons from these stories could be integrated in a practical way to help others.   He resolved to write a book that would combine personal experiences with current clinical, research and policy information.

The result is “You Are Not Alone,” which is being released on September 20th.  Unlike most books, where the author holds the copyright, NAMI owns this book and will receive all of its royalties.  This is the first time NAMI has published a book.

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