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.) 


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.



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

Sent from my iPhone

1 comment:

  1. So-called "mental health" interventions by cops leads to open season on civil rights.