“If only” is a phrase we hear too often in mental health. If only we knew what was going on. If only they knew they weren’t alone. If only we had recognized the signs. If only we had access to treatment. If only. Unfortunately, the conversation tends to be short and after tragedy has already struck – suicides, homelessness, unemployment, and incarceration.
In 1973 when Judge Steve Leifman was interning in Tallahassee for a state senator, his office was notified that a parent was seeking help for their child being held inappropriately in a South Florida State Hospital. He found the young man tied to the bed, both arms and legs in restraints, and enormously overweight from the Thorazine (antipsychotic medication) hospital staff had been injecting him with. But the bloated young man strapped to the bed was not psychotic. He was autistic.
- Mental Illness in Children: Childhood Illness and Supporting the Family, Rosemary Sheehan 2017
- Exercising the Mind to Treat Attention Deficits, Daniel Goleman in NY Times WELL blog, 2014
- What Is Mindfulness, and Why Do Kids Need It?, by David Gelles in NY Times WELL blog
“Mental Illnesss is NOT a Crime”
“Mental illnesses are treated successfully at the same rates as diabetes. With treatment, even acute cases can be ameliorated. Treatment works; recovery is real… If you do it right, it actually saves money. It improves public safety. It gives people their lives back.” — Judge Steven Leifman
Civic leaders across America are aspiring to build flourishing communities. They have a vision for breaking down the silos to bring mindfulness training to leaders across all sectors in their cities. Engaged on the ground, cities like Flint, Michigan, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Boston, Massachusetts are countering rapid change and uncertainty, isolation, divisiveness, health problems, environmental degradation, and economic uncertainty with innovative social strategies rooted in mindfulness, compassion, and inclusivity. Why not Miami, Broward, and Palm Beach?
New approaches to social infrastructure, just like good physical infrastructure, are needed for communities and schools to thrive.
VIDEO: Mindful Cities in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with Sara Flitner, (1:06)
VIDEO: Mindful Cities in Flint, Michigan with Gerry Myers(0:52)
The South Florida Behavioral Health Network (DBA Thriving Mind South Florida) held their groundbreaking ceremony for the long-awaited Miami Center for Mental Health and Recovery on May 31. The 208-bed center, located at 2200 NW 7th Avenue in Miami, is designed to offer high-quality treatment and a full continuum of care.
READ MORE IN SOUTH FLORIDA HOSPITAL NEWS
“Every locality, of course, has behavioral health programs. Some have outstanding programs. But what makes Miami different says Dan Abreu of Policy Research Associates, a think tank focused on behavioral and mental health issues, is that “they are really moving toward having a continuum of services. In short, the county is trying to build a comprehensive system.”
~ Governing Magazine – The States and Localities
Miami has long had a more acute problem than most. About 9 % of Miami residents suffer from mental illness — approximately 3x higher than the national average. It also has a large homeless population, most of whom have mental health issues and substance abuse problems. Yet Miami has emerged as a national model for how to develop strategies to combat the criminalization of mental illness.
Jennings, M.Ed., Ph.D
JOIN US in Miami for cutting-edge talks and a conversation with three exceptional national leaders in behavior, addiction, wellbeing, education, community-based treatment, and criminal justice.
DATES: Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6-7, 2019