Saturday, November 20, 2021

Me and NAMI 2

Jessica Hart, a NAMI PR and lobbyist, continues to send me appeals for help. Following is her latest, and my latest response. (My apologies for formating transfer complexities.) 

____________________________


Stuart , 

First responders – from law enforcement officers to EMTs, and paramedics to emergency room doctors and nurses – deal with the unimaginable every day, and the COVID-19 pandemic has added to their already difficult job. 

 

In far too many communities, first responders must also take the place of an inadequate mental health crisis system. Unfortunately, that often causes delays for the individual and their family to get connected to mental health care quickly, and it adds to already strained emergency services.) 


It doesn’t have to be this way. A mental health or suicidal crisis deserves a mental health response.) 

There are an estimated 240 million calls to 911 each year in the U.S., and over 19 million of those calls are mental health related. Just like law enforcement responds to a crime in progress, firefighters respond to a fire, or EMTs respond to a broken leg, we must #ReimagineCrisis.

 

When people call 988 after it goes live in July 2022, professionals who are best trained to help with a mental health crisis should be the ones to respond. Mental health advocates and first responders all know this change is needed, so everyone gets the right response – and an equitable response – that connects them to the help they need.


During Day 4 of REIMAGINE, A 988 Week of Action, ask your members of Congress to #ReimagineCrisis by investing in a mental health crisis system in their fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget.) 


ACT NOW

Thank you for your advocacy. 


Jessica Hart 
Senior Manager, Field Advocacy 
NAMI Government Relations, Policy & Advocacy Team

Pronouns: She/Her

 

*988 will not be available widely until July 2022. If you or a loved one are experiencing a crisis, please call the National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text “NAMI” to 741741.


______________________________________________


Jessica,


When a “mental health crisis” is occurring, it means that a person is acting dangerously or obnoxiously. The person is scaring or offending someone, or endangering him/herself sufficiently, so as to cause calls for third party help with the situation. 

The emergency help needed is to control the threatening/offending individual’s behavior to avoid harm. It is not to provide immediate medical intervention for a stopped heart, or obstructed breathing, or a broken hip, or a gunshot wound, or a drug overdose. 

I believe it is absolutely critical to understand that behavior control is a different errand from medical help. We must attend very closely to that distinction, lest we completely abdicate all social and moral authority to expert doctors.

A pill for every antisocial mood or act, a psychiatric expert for every rule of etiquette, no responsibility of individuals, but only dictates by objective standards handed down? Of course that is an impossible society! 

I have no problem with more emergency mental health response teams, provided only that they are explicitly NOT ruled by any medical/psychiatric model of forced drugging and threatened involuntary hospitalization. 

Ultimately, until psychiatrists are no longer the leading/ruling authorities of mental health teams, help and control will remain utterly confused, and mental health itself will continue to be at least as dehumanizing as the roughest law enforcement. 

NAMI has always suggested a 180-degree opposite view: that psychiatry should ultimately cure all social and moral questions by treating errant chemistry in brains.

Your organization is a substantial part of the problem; your advocacy cannot lead to any creative solution. 

S. Randolph Kretchmar 
Kretchmar & Cecala, P.C.
1170 Michigan Ave. 
Wilmette, IL 60091
847-370-5410


Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Me and NAMI

Following is an email I recently received from a woman who is apparently up the food chain a ways, in NAMI’s PR and lobbying function. Below her email, I post my response. 
____________________________


Stuart, 

Our country’s lack of an effective and widely available mental health crisis system leads to tragic results for people in crisis. For marginalized communities, limited access to crisis care and all types of mental health treatment cause even more devastation. And in too many places, a person in crisis is more likely to come into contact with law enforcement instead of a mental health professional. 

 Since 2015, nearly 1 in 4 fatal police shootings have been of people with mental illness, with 1 in 3 of those being people of color. People with mental illness are also overrepresented in our criminal justice system, and Black individuals with mental illness in jail are more likely to go into solitary confinement, become injured while incarcerated, and stay in jail longer – where mental illness is often left untreated. 

We need to change the status quo and ensure that every person in crisis gets help, not handcuffs. We can and must do better because a mental health crisis should not lead to trauma and tragedy. 

When 988 launches in July 2022 to provide mental health and suicidal crisis response, our communities need to be ready to provide robust crisis services that can respond to a range of crisis calls and needs. Every person in crisis, and their families, should receive a humane mental health response that treats a person with dignity and connects them to appropriate, timely, and culturally competent care. 

Today is Day 2 of REIMAGINE: A Week of Action to Reimagine Our National Response to People in Crisis, hosted by NAMI. Ask your members of Congress to #ReimagineCrisis by investing in a robust mental health crisis system that will reduce the need for a law enforcement response and end tragic outcomes when individuals and families call for help.

ACT TODAY If you haven’t already registered for this week’s events, sign-up here and attend as many sessions as you can. 

Thank you for your advocacy. 
Jessica Hart 
Senior Manager, Field Advocacy NAMI Government Relations, Policy & Advocacy 
Team Pronouns: She/Her 

988 will not be available widely until July 2022. If you or a loved one are experiencing a crisis, please call the National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text “NAMI” to 741741.

Did you receive this alert from a friend and want to get news and alerts from NAMI directly? Sign-up today! Sign-up Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Instagram NAMI is non-profit and non-partisan. We support policies that help people with mental health conditions and their families. NAMI is here for you. If you would like mental health resources or to speak with someone, call or email the NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org. For crisis support 24/7, text NAMI to 741741. Please visit our website at www.nami.org. NAMI 4301 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 300, Arlington, VA 22203 Unsubscribe
_________________________

Jessica,

What you call “our country’s lack of an effective and widely available mental health crisis system” is really, as I see it, our prevailing culture in which all human difficulties of thinking, emotion or behavior are quite arbitrarily considered to be illnesses of the brain. The first postulate of psychiatry is, “Insanity is brain disease.” The highest technical authority which we allow to administer mental health is psychiatry. Psychiatric “diagnosis” and psychiatric “treatment” are the basic purpose. This is the source of all the social ills which you cite. 

As you suggest, we SURELY DO need to change the status quo and reduce trauma and tragedy. But the status quo is not too much law enforcement, or too little “treatment”. It’s too much medicalization, too much psychiatry!

Your own organization has a long history of contributing to this problem. For decades, NAMI forwarded and defended, even insisted upon, the myths of “chemical imbalances in the brain” which required psychiatric drugs “just like insulin for diabetes”. Even now, many years after none other than Allen Frances called psychiatric diagnosis “bullshit” — and none other than Thomas Insel admitted that psychiatric “treatment” just sucks — NAMI’s advice to people suffering mental health crises and their families remains more or less, just trust psychiatrists, take their drugs and just do what they say, after all they are DOCTORS. 

I believe that such apotheosis of medicine as our one and only sure route to salvation has become a national cult. Any improvement in our country’s mental health crisis system, any widely available and affordable help for people who are desperate, must await the demise of this psychiatric cult. The state institutions must be ceremoniously razed. The euphemism of involuntary “hospitalization” for mental, emotional and behavioral troubles must be forgotten to history, recalled only in mockery. Forced drugging and shock must be banned as torture. 

If you can credit my point of view here at all (which I doubt), or if NAMI has any ability or intent to advocate for these changes that I recommend, then please continue to ask me for money and collaboration. Or at least correspond (I would honestly look forward to that).

But if you notice that I have not signed up with your current projects, you might understand why. 

Yours very truly,
S. Randolph Kretchmar
Kretchmar & Cecala, P.C.
1170 Michigan Ave. 
Wilmette, IL 60091
847-370-5410

Sent from my iPhone

_______________________

I think have spent most of my life in conversation or debate with people who fundamentally disagree with me. It’s what I like to do. Maybe Jessica, or someone else at NAMI, will respond, and we’ll have a dialogue. 

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Futile Journey, from Freud to "All Brain Disease"

Former psychiatric slaves lately freed from Illinois' iconic plantation at Elgin Mental Health Center recall with irony that a certain K Unit clinician had a bobble-head Sigmund Freud doll on her desk. Freud is of course a significant figure in the history of psychiatry. He is also significantly conflicted, variously respected or renounced, for many reasons.

In the second quarter of the 20th Century, Freud's influence was at its height; but by the 1960's, American psychiatry was hoping to become a real medical specialty. Although Freud himself always thought of psychoanalysis as a medical enterprise, his libido theory, along with the several complexes named after Greek drama or unmentionable body parts, were just too weird and disrelated from common experience. (Not everybody really wants to kill his father and have sex with his mother.)

On the other hand, the one contribution for which Freud is usually credited is the notion that sexuality is pretty central to human relationships and human experience.

Lo and behold, modern psychiatry in its mad rush to become medicine had to renounce all consideration of sexuality in the new view, wherein all mental illness is simply brain disease. Psychiatrists had to be brain doctors, not soul doctors, since after all, souls don't exist. In 1980 when DSM-III was published, this was an over-obvious marketing decision. If they could cure psychosis with antipsychotic drugs, why should they continue to embarrass themselves by talking about anal obsessions or Oedipus complexes? 

But in fact the brain disease hypothesis was weak enough scientifically, that it had to be insisted upon as a strict article of faith. In this context we might explain certain, otherwise-inexplicable aspects of the culture inside the Illinois Department of Human Services' forensic psychiatric institutions.

Elgin Mental Health Center is not a hospital, where people go voluntarily hoping for relief from suffering through effective medical treatments. Rather, individuals are sent there, being essentially sold into psychiatric slavery by criminal court judges and state's attorneys who just don't have the stomach to punish them for the criminal acts they admit they committed. 

Given this actual nature of the institution, we might adapt the point recently made by Charles M. Blow in the New York Times: It is not possible to truthfully portray American slavery without depictions of sexual violence; likewise, sexual abuse of people institutionalized under a cynical guise of psychiatric "treatment" will always be absolutely endemic, as the staff on K Unit at Elgin Mental Health Center have convincingly proven.... 

The rules about appropriate "boundaries" between staff and patients would actually seem overly strict or even draconian to most laypeople, and the protocols for enforcing those rules are amazingly voluminous. As with laws and bureaucratic policies generally, the more complex prohibitions become in a particular subject area, the more it can be suspected that behavior violating underlying ethical principles must be widespread. 

Involuntary "patients" at Elgin are supposed to be medically helped... to recover from mental/emotional/behavioral problems which were arbitrarily designated, forty years ago by a vote at the American Psychiatric Association, as discrete "mental disorders". Unfortunately the 1960's hope for neuro-psychiatric discovery of causes, and advances in treatment, just never did pan out. 

Now, the strict medical model for such help, with no outmoded Freudian attention to sex, nor even any personal relationship with a therapist, is a looming problem. Any day, the taxpaying public might realize that paying a high premium for psychiatric "hospitalization" of miscreants instead of prison... is a major ripoff.

And that one M.D. psychiatrist on K Unit, with her bobble-head Freud and her faux shock over how such a thing as sex on her unit could have ever happened... just doesn't help, at all!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

ANGELO ROTUNNO! ANGELO ROTUNNO! ANGELO ROTUNNO!

Once upon a time in Illinois, a child sex offender was found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity ("NGRI"). That child sex offender was committed to Elgin Mental Health Center, the state's oldest and most renowned psychiatric "hospital".

The child sex offender was charming and intelligent, with a handsome European flair. He was quite well-liked at EMHC, perhaps a bit too well-liked by some staff. 

(I am reminded of an old comedy routine by Mel Brooks and Karl Reiner, in which an interviewer asks a famous psychiatrist, "What's wrong with loving your dog? A lot of people love their dogs..." The famous doctor responds, "No, no, no. This man loved his dog... like you don't want to love your dog!")

As it turned out, after being "treated" at the secure facility of EMHC for several years, the child sex offender just walked away one day, perhaps took a plane to Europe, and was never seen again. This caused a stir, and the escape was investigated for awhile, apparently by several different agencies. It was strongly suspected (at least) that the child sex offender was directly aided in his escape by one or more EMHC staff who liked him so much....

The obvious questions were (and remain), "Wait! How and why could this happen? Isn't EMHC a secure forensic facility, with an ethical, professional staff? Aren't child sex offenders dangerous?"

The questions were never answered. To this day, former EMHC staff who were there, and who recall the escape, still wonder why nobody was ever disciplined or even identified as the complicit staff, although at the time, everyone talked about it and everyone knew who had been involved. 

The talk included a meeting years later in which two psychiatrists were directly told who helped the child sex offender escape. As far as anyone can tell now, neither the two psychiatrists nor the staff who told them, ever did anything. If they had not been pretty sure that higher-ups already knew, they'd have felt strictly obligated to formally report the information. So it might be presumed that there almost had to have been a cover-up that didn't end with the unit clinical staff.

There are a lot of pretty weird stories, about e.g., EMHC staff hiding in the child sex offender's wardrobe on the clinical unit, and staff getting together to skype with the child sex offender, or visiting the child sex offender in Germany.

Long afterward, even though the child sex offender supposedly died of cancer (actually it is speculated that the death was faked despite reports that EMHC staff may have attended a real funeral)... what do you know: all records of any investigation had disappeared for months or years.

In fact, one Assistant Attorney General in Illinois is apparently not even allowed to say the child sex offender's name out loud. She is required (almost certainly not by her real individual clients, but rather by their employer, the Illinois Department of Human Services, which would love to resist a third party discovery subpoena), to call this person whose name she knows perfectly well (since it's been in civil litigation documents and press releases for four years, not to mention in the media for fifteen years) only... "the-allegedly-escaped-patient".

This is awkward. It may show a conflict of interest for the lawyer; but it also sure does cause patently silly conversation during conferences intended to simplify discovery. The fundamental problem the Assistant Attorney General is up against is that her clients lie: to her, to themselves, and to the society which pays them to help people, not just drug them and hide them away. 

Guys like James Patrick Corcoran know they have no slightest ability to help anyone. So when an involuntary "patient" is sexually used by a social worker, a mental health tech or an STA at Elgin Mental Health Center or Chicago Read Mental Health Center, or when staff at Chester beat someone to death, the standard reaction is to just shift people to other units, just like the Catholic Church long shifted priests among dioceses to avoid accountability for their crimes.

There's an extremely well-written TV series with Billy Bob Thornton, "Goliath", which contains wonderfully realistic scenes about the civil discovery process in early episodes of the first season. My favorite line is spoken by a hooker being questioned by the junior attorney on the plaintiff's team, about the main character's past: "Sorry bitch, story time is over!"

The Biblical lesson is, we should never discount a possibility, however remote, that powerful, corrupt entities might occasionally be felled by little Jewish guys with well-slung stones.


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Malis-with-malice kills another patient..?

Takisha Madison.

I remember this woman as extremely anxious and arguably hostile. Obviously, in retrospect her emotions were quite rational. She was about to die. Her "doctor" was Richard Malis. "Malis-with-malice" as he is fondly known, seems to have an obsession about getting patients under CONTROL with drugs, no matter the risks, no matter the side effects, and no matter how much experimentation is necessary.

A week or two ago Tom Zubik told me, with all faux regret in his voice, how he was so sorry to say that a patient with whom I had worked had died suddenly. I did not know whom he was talking about, and of course he wasn't going to tell me, he was just probing to see if I already knew. I think he said the patient had a heart attack, so I imagined it was somebody old. Maybe Takisha was too young to have a heart attack, unless it was caused by bad drugs.

I don't even remember whether Takisha complained to me about the drugs Malis-with-malice was coercing her to take. I could probably look in my notes from a couple staffings I attended and get some idea. But Kol Nidre is tonight, so I will take a day to atone for my sin of failing to help Takisha refuse psychiatry. She was difficult to deal with, but I should have worked harder.

Meanwhile, I can only encourage and cooperate with any and all investigation into Richard Malis' "treatment" (AKA, killing) of Takisha Madison. None other than Vicky Ingram, who knows more or less all the secrets and all the behind-the-scenes skinny on the Elgin plantation, says that such an investigation has already begun.

And to paraphrase Lincoln, I can continue, if God wills that I must, to fight these slave masters until all the institutions and bureaucracies built under the false flag of "mental health" are sunk, and every drop of blood drawn by the psychiatric lash is paid with another drawn by the legal sword.

G' mar chatima tovah!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Nuthouse Reactions to RefusingPsychiatry

I have long known that my main audience is employees in the Illinois forensic psychiatric system. That's because they are what I write about. Sometimes I name individuals, sometimes I insult them, and once in awhile I compliment them. Many of them might prefer to be insulted rather than complimented by me, because they could get in trouble if they are suspected of any sympathy for my agenda or my opinions.

It turns out that the bosses read my blog. Apparently (at least for some months in 2017), Vicky Ingram, Ph.D., the Director of Court Services at Elgin Mental Health Center and one-time (I won't go into how dicey that particular one time was...) Acting Forensic Director, considered it her job to monitor the articles I posted and pass them around by email to a certain audience on a monthly basis. 

I don't know whether Vicky is hostile toward me or friendly. I would think she is smart enough to know that what I want is for the very people she was frequently updating to read what I write. But who knows, maybe she thought those people would be so angry that they would come after me in some way. (If they did, it certainly would cause them more trouble than it would be worth; so again, whose side Vicky is or was on might be a complicated speculation.)

Bill Epperson, Chief of Security, once responded to an article mentioning him by asking in an email "What can be done about this guy (me)?" Vicky told him she would check on it with DHS legal counsel. Bill is no longer at Elgin, but I don't really think I got him fired. Bill has been replaced by Jeremy Jackson as Chief. (When I told a couple people about that, guys who have known the many personalities at EMHC for a long time, the reaction was rolling-on-the-floor laughter.)

Drew Beck was seemingly enthralled by one of my ideas, which I published in an article on January 28, 2017, about rescinding psychiatric diagnoses. He emailed Vicky asking (sarcastically, I'm pretty sure) if Dr. Gill would be signing the form I had suggested. She laughed and replied dismissively that he might, but Drew then suggested that they go to Dr. Hardy (EMHC Medical Director at the time) about it to preempt the possibility, which he apparently was actually concerned about. 

Dr. Gill has been chronically in trouble with the bosses. James Patrick Corcoran actually called him incompetent in court once, and Gill has been anxious about his professional future most of the time I've known him. He occasionally goes out of his way to distance himself from me to protect his job. I won't endanger him by any more compliments or respect here.

Overall, I can't help wondering: why do you idiots read my stuff? You have to know it's intended to attack your group morale, your pride, and the symbols and ideals of the forensic mental health profession! If you had any decent level of group morale or pride, you would ignore this blog. But you have no morale or pride, and you can't ignore it. If you don't read my blog, somebody else might, and you really can't trust them to not agree with me, or to not talk about something I say behind your back.

I'd like to thank Vicky Ingram, and anyone else who passes  this around.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

2 Questions for Corcoran and His Ilk

1. Why did Jessica Vilaythong die?

2. Why did Lovely Jefferson die?

My thought is, these two questions have the same answer: These people died because Illinois' so-called "experts in forensic mental health" are incompetent and corrupt. 

Jessica Vilaythong was murdered, stabbed in the neck and left to bleed out on the floor of the bank where she worked, for no discernible reason whatsoever, by a crazy man who didn't even know her. He had been in and out of Elgin Mental Health Center several times after committing other violent crimes. He was "treated" by such luminaries as Richard Malis and Syed Hussain, two psychiatrists who believe totally in fine-tuning people's brains with drugs and/or shock in order to make them better and safer members of the community. 

At different points in time, Malis and Hussain gave sworn court testimony saying the crazy man was suitable for conditional release. They knew this with a reasonable degree of medical and psychiatric certainty, because their patient had complied with their "treatment" and sworn his oath of fealty to their peculiar religious faith in mental disorder (meaning any and all human difficulty with thinking, emotion and behavior) as brain disease. James Corcoran, who is the equivalent of an archbishop in Illinois' state psychiatric church, no doubt supervised and approved the conditional release recommendations.

The court went along with the "experts", which they almost always do, and let the crazy man out. Now Jessica Vilaythong is dead at age 24, and those who loved her mourn.

Lovely "Rooster" Jefferson was a well-known boxer in East St. Louis who some thought was on a path to world championship. He ended up in Chester Mental Health Center, apparently drugged into near oblivion, and was "found dead in his room" only a few months before he should have been released. His parents were not told, and the location of his body was not revealed, for several days. 

After two years of investigation, the family finally filed a lawsuit alleging that Chester MHC staff had intentionally provoked Lovely and then used unreasonable force against him (i.e., beat him to a bloody pulp and choked him out) which resulted in his death, before putting him back in his bed and making it look like he passed away naturally.

It was not the first time a "patient" was killed at Chester and the perpetrators tried to get away with it. A whistleblower tells this writer of a patient on Chester's C Unit in 2007-8, who was said to have been "stomped to death" by another patient named Horace Nix. An aspect of this that was highly suspicious at the time, was that Horace was an old man with severe, advanced Parkinson's disease, and the murder victim was young and fit. But in Chester, everyone is in on any coverup, all the way up to the Randolph County Coroner.

The corruption inevitably follows the incompetence, like night follows day. Those who work in the mental health system know they are supposed to help disturbed people. They learn a "professional discipline" like social work, psychology, nursing or medicine, which they are led to believe should give them tools to help. Then they encounter real crazy people and discover they have almost no actual ability to help at all. In fact their "tools" (e.g., psychiatric drugs, shock and labels) more often make things worse.

When a well-intended person is paid for something that they secretly know or suspect they cannot really do or deliver, they start to feel guilty. Eventually they begin to believe they are a bit criminal, even when they aren't. Ultimately they become real criminals. They murder somebody and cover it up. They turn other murderers loose on the world.

This is why Jessica Vilaythong and Lovely Jefferson died: Illinois' so-called "forensic mental health experts" killed them.

There must be justice.