Why ARE We Afraid of the Mentally Ill?

Maureen MurdockMental Illness11 Comments

Last month 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier was shot dead by a Chicago police officer after his father placed a 911 call because LeGrier was acting irrationally, wielding a baseball bat. This was not his first confrontation with the law but the death of LeGrier, who suffered from mental illness, gained national attention because a bystander was also killed. 10 days after … Read More

Report on Treatment of Mental Illness in Prisons by Human Rights Watch

Maureen MurdockCriminal Justice System, Mental Illness8 Comments

Life in Lockup graphic from Human Rights Watch

Those of you who have been reading my blog know that our prisons have become the largest mental illness institutions in the United States. An estimated one in five prisoners in the US has a serious mental illness including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, and major depression. I thought I had read everything about the despicable treatment the mentally ill receive … Read More

Rethinking Mental Illness

Maureen MurdockMental Illness4 Comments

Both the British Psychological Association and the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health have instigated a new method of researching mental illness. In the past, researchers were driven by biologically diagnostic categorization drawing a sharp distinction between those who are ill and those who are well. This approach failed to find any clear biological distinction between such illnesses as depression, schizophrenia … Read More

The Neglect of Mental Illness is the Enemy

Maureen MurdockMental Illness8 Comments

Mental Illness Word Cloud

The man who shot and killed a Canadian soldier at Canada’s National War Memorial and manned an assault on Parliament Hill on October 22nd was not a part of a well-resourced terrorist organization but instead suffered from untreated mental illness and addiction. In spite of his recurring attempts to get treatment in jail by committing robberies, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was refused … Read More

New Treatment for Mentally Ill Inmates: Reduce Pepper Spray

Maureen MurdockCriminal Justice System, Mental Illness17 Comments

In an article in the Los Angeles Times, Paige St. John writes that California has decided to use special solitary confinement units to house mentally ill inmates as part of an attempt to comply with federal court orders to improve their care. Instead of using pepper spray to calm them down, isolation is the new treatment for the mentally ill. … Read More

Deinstitutionalization Hasn’t Worked

Maureen MurdockCriminal Justice System, Mental Illness20 Comments

The recent mass killings in Isla Vista, CA by a man who suffered from mental illness has once again raised the issue of the insanity of deinstitutionalization of the severely mentally ill. Deinstitutionalization (releasing severely mentally ill from psychiatric hospitals) began in 1955 with the widespread introduction of Thorazine, the first effective antipsychotic medication. The widespread use of Thorazine moved the … Read More

The Most Punitive Nation in the World

Maureen MurdockCriminal Justice System, Mental Illness15 Comments

prisoner in handcuffs

Robert A. Ferguson’s new book about our addiction to incarceration, Inferno: An Anatomy of American Punishment, asks a poignant question about our culture. Do we, as a people, have a drive to punish that is especially virulent? The statistics seem to indicate that we do. According to Ferguson, the United States is the world leader in locking up human beings behind … Read More

Caretaking: Is Taking Action Helpful or Harmful?

Maureen MurdockAddiction, Mental Illness11 Comments

I have been to many NAMI and Al-Anon meetings over the years that were attended primarily by mothers and grandmothers dealing with their son’s or daughter’s mental illness and/or addiction. I’ve always wondered why there were so few fathers in attendance. Were they afraid to acknowledge their child had a problem? In general, it seems that mothers take on the … Read More

Shameful Profiling of the Mentally Ill

Maureen MurdockCriminal Justice System, Mental Illness10 Comments

In the recent Sunday New York Times, Andrew Solomon reported that a Canadian woman was recently denied entry to the United States because she had been hospitalized for depression in 2012.  She was told she could not visit unless she obtained medical clearance from one of three Toronto doctors approved by the Department of Homeland Security. A report from her … Read More

Creativity and Mental Illness

Maureen MurdockArt and Creativity, Mental Illness7 Comments

Nest by Alexandra Petersen

After I posted my last blog about Bring Change 2 Mind’s mission to fight stigma and discrimination associated with mental illlness, I received an email from a friend about a unique art gallery in Portland, Oregon that shows the work of artists who are challenged with a mental illness. J. Pepin Art Gallery features contemporary artists who are reframing the … Read More

Overcoming the Stigma of Mental Illness

Maureen MurdockMental Illness18 Comments

A friend of my son’s recently sent me an interview on NPR with the actress Glenn Close who is the co-founder of Bring Change 2 Mind. The nonprofit organization aims to confront the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness. You may have seen a documentary about Bring Change 2 Mind taped in Grand Central Station. What impressed me about … Read More

Our Nation’s Shame: Incarcerating the Mentally Ill

Maureen MurdockMental Illness5 Comments

The “deinstitutionalization” of the mentally ill in the 1960s and early 1970s—a movement prompted by the same liberal impulses that gave us civil rights and women’s rights—has become a national disgrace. “Mentally ill street people shame the society that lets them live as they do,” writes Joe Nicera. What prompted Joe Nicera’s article, “Guns and Mental Illness” was a report … Read More

Impact of Obamacare on the Mentally Ill

Maureen MurdockMental Illness0 Comments

Obama’s re-election guarantees that mental health care will gain parity with physical health care under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). ACA covers behavioral health for those now eligible to seek health insurance through a federal or state Exchange and in Medicaid. In other words, under the provisions of the new law people with low income (individuals at or below 133 … Read More

Mental Illness is Not Going to Go Away

Maureen MurdockMental Illness3 Comments

Mental illness is not going to go away; in fact there is an increase in the number of people suffering from depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Some 30% or more Americans—that’s almost one in three– are diagnosed with at least one mental illness in their lifetimes.