Pete Early does a phenomenal job intertwining his personal story with mental illness through his son's diagnosis, struggles, and bout with hospitalization and the legal system with a journalistic investigation on the many tenants of the nexus between civil rights, medical care, the penal system, and the mentally ill. This book does a great job acknowledging and indeed exposing the many players involved in our society vis a vis the mentally ill, and gives a voice to what is arguably the most forgotten and underrepresented part of our population- the mentally ill.
this book open my eyes to the struggle that all members of society are faced in a daily basis. all looking at each other for an answer to mental illness. but without resolve.
I read all sorts of books from various non-fiction to YA fantasy. Love them all!
When Pete Earley's son was diagnosed with schizophrenia Earley was devestated. His son's potential career was on the line, he wasn't willing to accept treatment, and he was generally unpredictable and very unsafe. When Earley tried to get his son into the hospital, his son was turned away because he didn't want to be treated - and laws say that unless someone is an immediate threat to himself or others, he can not be treated involuntarily. Earley had to pretend his son was a threat to Earley's well-being to get his son hospitalized. Then Earley went to a commitment hearing to make sure his son stayed in the hospital until he was better. Early was appalled by his son's defense lawyer who did her best to defend Earley's son despite his son's clear mental illness. In her own defense, the lawyer said it was her job to defend the rights of someone who did not want to be committed. Earley's son won the case and was released.
After this incident, Earley's son broke into a house, peed on the carpet, turned over the all the photographs, and took a bubble bath. He was arrested and charges were filed against him by the family. Despite Earley's pleading with the family that his son was not targeting them specifically, that he was sick, the mother felt threatened and continued to press felony charges. Earley knew that the charges would be an irremovable bar from his son's career choice.
Because of the horrors of being unable to treat his son, and the unfairness of the charges, Earley decided to research the state of the mentally ill in the Miami jail system. There are, according to the staff psychiatrist, "a lot of people who think mentally ill people are going to get help if they are in jail. But the truth is, we don't help many people here with their psychosis. We can't. The first priority is making sure no one kills himself." The psychiatrist said that the point of the prison was to dehumanize and humiliate a person. Such treatment is counter to improving anyone's health.
Early did a fantastic job of reporting the horrors of how mentally ill are treated in prison, and about the money wasted due to unnecessarily lengthy time in jail without trial, and high recidivism rate.
I learned so much from this book and I have found myself referencing it repeatedly in conversations with people regarding mental health treatment. Pete Earley beautifully captures the struggles of having a family member with mental illness and in the same book provides a thorough historical depiction of mental health treatment in the USA. He accurately explains that jails have become the new mental health institutions and proposes new ways to approach how we manage chronically mentally ill adults.
Pete Early talks about the importance of seeing the humanity in everyone including homeless adults. He encourages the reader to understand mental illness and give a homeless person the dignity and respect to look them in the eyes. I think of this every time I am at a light and I look up and see a homeless person asking for money.
Bravo! Outstanding book.
100% of the books I read are in audible format. I enjoy reading apocalyptic, WWII, psychology, classics, contemporary and non-fiction.
I read this in March 2007 and felt that this book was an eye opener -- I mean, even if you know what happened in the Reagan years, with the closing down of the mental institutions and the eventual flow of these people to the streets as homeless with no place to go except jail, maybe family if they are lucky, and back to the street-- reading this book really brought a reality check for me as to how it works (or, rather, doesn't)
I have been married to the same wonderful wife for over 27 years and have two adult children, out of the house, that are married, working, and doing well.
Crazy ranks high in all the audiobooks that I have listened to on the subject of mental illness, because I suffer from Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Type and this book gave me insight on how others see me in my different phases of this illness and why I should keep taking my medication.
Yes, the book gives so much great information on how our nation treats the mentally ill. Listening to this book made me so much more empathetic to my ow loved one with a mental illness. The author did a great job showing the frustration that America's mentally ill and their families face everyday.
The narrator is a bit dry at times. Although the subject is not really a fun one, I felt the narrator was a little too stern at times.
No. The book is more informational than human interest story.
Audiobook & podcast Junkie. I'm that annoying person who you see wearing earbuds 24/7.
From the very beginning the author admits that his point of view is skewed. His son has been diagnosed with a a mental illness and, in an attempt to help him navigate his disease, he sets out to examine the way our justice system handles the (my description - not his) "criminally insane". Although he describes horrific conditions, ridiculous laws, and inadequate treatment options it doesn't seem he offers anything in the way of solutions. What I took from this is, society should be more tolerant of incredibly dangerous and violent schizophrenics, and also be willing to provide them everything they need: food, shelter, intensive therapy and and endless combination of the latest drugs. Toward the end he seems disappointed communities fought having a ALF (assisted-living facility) literally filled with murderers in their neighborhoods. One resident killed an ENTIRE FAMILY! Despite that, I enjoyed the book and the narration was excellent.