The cells where inmates are kept in solitary confinement at the state penitentiary here are 7-by-13-foot boxes arranged in semicircular tiers. When the warden, Travis Trani, heard that Rick Raemisch, Colorado’s new chief of corrections, intended to spend a night in one of them, he had two reactions.
“I thought he was crazy,” Mr. Trani recalled. “But I also admired him for wanting to have the experience.”
Mr. Raemisch has been in his job for just over seven months, having stepped in after his predecessor was shot to death a year ago Tuesday by a former inmate who had spent years in solitary. During that time, Mr. Raemisch has gained a reputation as an outspoken reformer and has made clear that he wants to make significant changes in the way the state operates its prisons.
by Erica Goode, The New York Times
A large international research project has validated previous findings that chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, a neurogenetic disorder characterized by deletion of a small part of chromosome 22, is associated with high rates of schizophrenia, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and anxiety and unipolar mood disorders.
–Psychiatric News Alert
Crazy: A Creative and Personal Look at Mental Illness
By Michael Hanna and Tami Leino Hanna
Winner of the Colorado Book Awards
Available on the website: www.adamsplacecrazy.org
Or by mail: Send a check for $33.00 for the book + shipping to:
Adams Place (make check out to Adams Place)
7931 S. Broadway #339
Littleton, CO 80122
From the Frontispiece:
“Give me a 16” x 24” newsprint pad, bold permanent markers, soft oil pastels and we’ll go to town.”
“That was our motto, our modus operandi, and that’s how Crazy got started. We are Adams Place, and this is our book.”
“Crazy is a collection, or a collage, of expressions through art that give an inside view of living with mental illness. Four years in the making, Crazy includes hundreds of pieces of art and text from more than 150 artists and authors – all of them impacted by mental illness in one way or another. The book is divided into eight sections, where these creative and personal pieces are supplemented by facts, figures, and general information relevant to the particular kind of mental illness being presented:
As it seems most crazy people are artists of some kind, we decided art could be a starting point to fight the fear of stigma and step out to use our voices. We came to understand we aren’t victims. We aren’t alone – with treatment and support, we can live full and purposeful lives. We are exceptional people with individual talents beyond the scope of normal. We are characters. Artists, writers! Poets! Friends, parents, lovers, teachers, mentors. We are you.”
How I came to read this book:
As many of you know, I lead (with help from many!) the SA group in Denver, which has been in existence since September of 2005.
I don’t remember exactly when Tami, Michael and Matt showed up in our SA group. They just kind of appeared one night, and seemed as if they had always been there. We were glad to have them, and their creative and positive energies in the group. They have been coming regularly ever since.
One night, Michael said that they had written a book. A writer of sorts myself, I was curious and asked if I could see it. Well, Michael then whipped out a copy of the book! It was bright and colorful and bursting with energy, if a book can do that. I immediately ordered a copy. I sit down with the book every now and then and am amazed by the talent it represents. It well deserves the award from the Colorado Book Awards. There is probably no other book just like it, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
This is not a book that you sit down and read all the way through. It is a book that you pick up from time to time and look through and appreciate the art, the writings, the vignettes of information about mental illness. But the book is not just about mental illness, it is about recovery and talent, and reminds us of the great contributions made to society by those with the unfortunate stigma of mental illness. The book is a bright and colorful testament to recovery and to life.
I don’t just like this book, I love it!
I pick this book, thumbs up!
Definitely, you should have a copy for your library, and to read and cherish!
Probably I had a disorder in childhood. I was very afraid of nuclear war and always ran for my mother. I was impressionable all my life. Some disorder was in high school mathematics. I got to the hospital in my first year in the institute because of missed classes. I was given a very easy diagnosis – asthenic condition. But after the hospital, I felt worse than ever. There was a change of consciousness and I did not control myself. With the help of a doctor from the hospital and with prescribed pills, I made it through this period. Thus my episodical dive into altered consciousness started, when I lived my fantasies but in real life.
There were failures at the institute, but I still graduated from it. After graduation, I took a job. Here in 1985, there was a deep failure, when I almost committed suicide and got to a suburban hospital, where my mother took me with great difficulty. Mother’s value is great. Then I was in the hospital for four months. Due to the hospitalization, I was considered seriously ill and, after I was married, I received a social apartment, where my wife and daughter live now. I have two children. I never lost heart, and, although I did not like the hospitals, I still got out of them more healthy. With my wife, I suffered several attacks without hospitalization.
At the beginning of the new century, I have lost both parents. Relationships with my wife became bad and, moreover, I was fired. For six years, I went to the hospital every year, sometimes twice a year, and lay there for two and a half months. Once I got sick at our dacha (vacation home) and went to the hospital near Moscow. Another time, I went into Vyasma and remained there, in the Smolensk region. I was hungry in that place, and chlorpromazine was given to me on an empty stomach at night. The last serious incident occurred with a large dose of azaleptine (sleeping pills), but I was saved, then got to a clinic.
After almost twenty years, I began to attend a prayer group at the church. There I was advised to go to a specialist, and they gave me his phone number. I started taking new pills, regularly, whereas earlier I stopped taking them every time. For five years, I didn’t have to go to the hospital. Only one time, I was there less than a month, when I got new temporary work. I felt bad, but I was standing. I was fired again, and I had a serious depression, but I managed without hospitalization. Already nearly a year ago, I went to the first SA group in Russia. I have a schizophrenia, I thought. The group helped me to withstand, but I have to fight with my laziness, apathy, and sometimes depression, all the time. I spend the summer in the countryside. I hope that I will not get sick in the future because of the SA group.
SARDAA is grateful to Rep. Murphy, a clinical psychologist, who grilled an official with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at a committee hearing on Wednesday. Murphy said, “You are the people’s worst fears—you have no background, no education, no degree, and are practicing medicine without a license”.
The new federal regulation would reduce access to the types of antidepressant and antipsychotic medications available to Medicare patients from more than 25 down to as few as two. Mental health medications are not interchangeable because they have different molecular compositions and side effects. A clinician, not the government, should decide what medications should be prescribed.
Restricting access to psychiatric medications is further restricting treatment of mental illness thus increasing hospital stays, suicide rates and productivity. This is a matter of life and death for individuals living with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or depression
Rep. Murphy cited a letter from the American Psychiatric Association that said Administration officials selectively quoted and edited the APA’s medical guidelines to justify their decision.
Last month, Rep. Murphy wrote to the Administrator of CMS requesting information about the clinical basis of the new agency proposal to remove “protected class” status for two categories of non-interchangeable mental health drugs. He also authored the Helping Families In Mental Health Crisis Act, which would codify current agency policy known as “protected classes” for classes of antidepressants and anti-psychotic medications.
To share your thoughts on mental health reform, please click here.
Tuesday, March 11th, 2-3 PM EST
This webinar is designed to support the development of best practices for suicide prevention among men in the middle years of life. Bringing together panelists from the US and Ireland, this webinar will provide data on the scope of the problem, a framework for conceptualizing suicide prevention strategies, and an example of an innovative program that fits within this framework.
- Summarize the changes over time in US rates and methods for middle-aged adults with a focus on middle-aged men.
- Identify risk and precipitating factors for suicide among middle-aged men.
- Explain the “common risk approach” to suicide prevention.
- Describe a pilot program implemented in Ireland for men in the middle years who are at increased risk as a result of economic/employment issues.
Sponsored by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center and the Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention.
To help you decide which of these software apps might best help you or your loved one, there is a new website managed by IMHRO called PsyberGuide.org. PsyberGuide rates and profiles a wide range of apps and other software aimed at treating or managing psychiatric illness. In this month’s Brain Waves segment, Dr. Michael Knable, PsyberGuide’s Project Manager, joins us to tell us about its service.
From February 26-28, 2014, Dr. Knable will be available to answer your questions. Watch his interview, then feel free to sign in and ask him what’s on your mind.
One of the upsides of so many snowstorms this winter has been the chance to catch up on reading. I’ve been enjoying Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee’s book the Second Machine Age about the social revolution instigated by the digital revolution. One story they recount is about the Dutch chess grand master Jan Hein Donner. When the authors ask Donner how he would prepare for a match with a supercomputer, he replies, “I’d bring a hammer.”
Computers are getting faster at an awesome or alarming rate, depending on your point of view. Brynjolfsson and McAfee, who are both awed and alarmed, describe the exponential rate of progress over the past decade. Quoting Hemingway about how a man goes broke (“gradually and then all of a sudden”), they see a recent sudden burst in progress in technology. Whether in cars that drive themselves, Jeopardy-winning computers, or smartphones with SIRI, technological challenges facing profound obstacles only a decade ago are now milestones in the rear view mirror of progress.
All of this brings to mind how technology will change the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. On the diagnostic side, we already have sensors built in to many of our devices—smart phones, computers, appliances—that are constantly capturing data on location, movement, and communication and can help to create real-time pictures of functional status. Activity monitors that can monitor sleep and movement have been around for three decades. Phone sensors can “diagnose” depression from changes in voice quality. Some have suggested that credit card companies may be the first to detect the onset of a manic episode, although that information seems largely neglected. Qualcomm has recently announced a $10 million XPRIZE for a “tricorder”—a 5-pound device that can diagnose 15 diseases non-invasively. Imagine how technology could provide the sensors to detect signs of mental disorders. This may not win the XPRIZE, but the potential is real.
by Thomas Insel, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Objective: The authors assessed a state’s net costs for assisted outpatient treatment, a controversial court-ordered program of community-based mental health services designed to improve outcomes for persons with serious mental illness and a history of repeated hospitalizations attributable to nonadherence with outpatient treatment.
Conclusions: Assisted outpatient treat- ment requires a substantial investment of state resources but can reduce overall service costs for persons with serious mental illness. For those who do not qualify for assisted outpatient treatment, voluntary participation in intensive community-based services may also re- duce overall service costs over time, de- pending on characteristics of the target population and local service system.
–Jeffrey W. Swanson, Ph.D., et al.