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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Hard Lessons: What I’ve Learned As The Father Of An Adult Son With Mental Illness Who Is Well Today

(8-21-19) From My Files Friday.  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. 

Helping Someone Who Has A Mental Illness: Lessons I’ve Learned

It’s difficult helping someone with a mental illness.

My relationship with my son,  Kevin, has not always been easy. Those of you who have read my book know that I was forced to lie about him threatening me in order to get him taken into a hospital rather than put in jail. During a later break, I called the police and my son was shot twice with a Taser. These events hurt parent-son relationships.

So what have I learned?

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An All Too Familiar Story: A Family’s Painful Struggle To Help Seriously Ill Son

Happier times: Marti, daughter Sophia, and John at Sophia’s graduation in 2010.

(7-29-19) Thank you Marti for sharing your family’s story.


By Marti Cockrell

John was not a criminal.

John should have never been in the criminal justice system. He never did anything deliberately criminal.

When he was young, he was mischievous and fun-loving, and got involved with some friends who together got into different kinds of trouble, but nothing serious.

When John was in school, he started smoking cigarettes and using some street drugs, pretty early in his teens, but the counselors in school told me they didn’t have time to help John, because they were overloaded with kids who were on ‘hard drugs’. We live in Tarrant County, Texas.

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Advocate Helps Distraught Woman In Crisis On Flight: Avoiding Arrest Or Worse

(7-26-19) From My Files Friday: In this blog, first posted in May 2015, my friend, fellow author and mental health advocate, Gabe Howard, describes how he encountered a person in crisis during an airline flight. What happened to the passenger could have been a tragedy, as all of us know. Arrest or worse. Instead, it turned out to be an example to what can happen when someone manages to de-escalate a volatile situation with patience, understanding and compassion.

Mental Illness Crisis at 35,000 Feet

By Gabe Howard

When I saw the young woman reach for the cockpit door on a recent cross-country flight, I knew there was going to be trouble.

 A few moments earlier, I had watched her come down the aisle to use the lavatory at the rear of the aircraft near where I was sitting. She tried to open its door but couldn’t. She tried again.

 A flight attendant noticed and told her the bathroom was occupied and that she would need to wait her turn.

 The woman insisted the door was just stuck and kept struggling with it.

 I was sitting close enough to see the woman’s eyes and what I saw troubled me.  Total anxiety. The fear and confusion radiating off her was as clear as day to me because I had experienced panic and anxiety attacks.

 The flight attendant suggested she try the rest room in the front of the aircraft. The woman started to cry, gasp for air, and whimper unintelligibly, as she returned up the aisle.

Mental Illness can cause confusion.  This confusion, coupled with desperation and fear, can lead to frightening outcomes. When she reached the front, she started to grab various handles in an attempt to gain entry to the bathroom. One of those handles was the cockpit door.

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Class Reunion Sparks Memories Of My Teenage Years and Death of My Sister




Visiting my sister’s and parents’ graves in Colorado last week

(7-22-19) Patti and I were in Colorado last week attending my high school reunion. It was great to reconnect with friends, most of whom, I’d not seen for many years. Although I only lived in Fowler for five years, I have strong connections to this rural community with less than a thousand residents. As this story that I wrote in 1986 while a reporter at The Washington Post demonstrates. 

MISSING ALICE: The Story of My Sister, Her Death, and My Search for Answers

Midway across Ohio, the man beside me on the DC-10 asked where I was going.

“Fowler, Colorado. A little town of about a thousand people near Pueblo.”

“Why would anyone go to Foouuller?” he asked, grinning as he exaggerated the name.

“A death. My sister.”

“Sorry,” he mumbled and turned away.

I was relieved. I didn’t have to explain that my sister had been dead 19 years. Alice was killed when I was 14. She was two years older and we had been inseparable as children.

I couldn’t talk about her death at first. My voice would deepen, my eyes would fill with tears. My parents would cry at the mention of her name, and we rarely spoke of her. Then it seemed too late.

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3 1/2 Years Demanding Treatment In Hospital, Rather Than Prison. A Chance For Redemption

(7-16-19) This is part two of Elena Broslovsky’s courageous telling of her family’s struggle to help Gabriel whose serious mental illness led to him being incarcerated for a violent attack that happened when he was psychotic.

Of Dragons, Magic Pills, And A Nine Word Incantation (Part Two)

Guest blog by Elena Broslovsky, author, blogger, advocate and mother.

My husband and I were on a Ferry boat sliding through Alaska’s Inside Passage.  It was my Birthday.  My phone rang.  We were told there was no cell service and I thought I had turned it off.   The call was from the 707 area code.  I almost didn’t answer as I block most calls from places not in my contacts.

“Hello, I am in Napa,” a breathless and excited voice exclaimed

“Who is this?”

“It’s your Son!  Happy Birthday!  They transferred me to Napa, I thought I was going to Atascadero but …”

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