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Insane Consequences: How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill is by far the most well-researched and important book written on mental illness out today. With a foreword by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, it is a must-have for anyone who wants better care for people with serious mental illness, reports on it, develops policy, works in mental health or criminal justice. It provides actionable ideas to lower rates of homelessness, incarceration, suicide, violence and expense.
Book Description: Insane Consequences
This well-researched and highly critical examination of the state of our mental health system by the industry’s most relentless critic presents a new and controversial explanation as to why—in spite of spending $147 billion annually—140,000 seriously mentally ill are homeless, 390,000 are incarcerated, and even educated, tenacious, and caring people can’t get treatment for their mentally ill loved ones. DJ Jaffe blames the mental health industry and the government for shunning the 10 million adults who are the most seriously mentally ill—mainly those who suffer from schizophrenia and severe bipolar disorder—and, instead, working to improve “mental wellness” in 43 million others, many of whom are barely symptomatic. Using industry and government documents, scientific journals, and anecdotes from his thirty years of advocacy, Jaffe documents the insane consequences of these industry-driven policies: psychiatric hospitals for the seriously ill are still being closed; involuntary commitment criteria are being narrowed to the point where laws now require violence rather than prevent it; the public is endangered; and the mentally ill and their families are forced to suffer.
Insane Consequences proposes smart, compassionate, affordable, and sweeping reforms designed to send the most seriously ill to the head of the line for services rather than to jails, shelters, prisons, and morgues. It lays out a road map to spend less on mental “health” and more on mental “illness”––replace mission creep with mission control and return the mental health system to a focus on the most seriously ill. It is not money that is lacking; it’s leadership.
This book is a must-read for anyone who works in the mental health industry or cares about the mentally ill, violence, homelessness, incarceration, or public policy.
Great reviews below from top advocates and media:
- Dr. E. Fuller Torrey
- Glenn Close, Actress
- Sally Satel, MD, Yale University School of Medicine
- Pete Earley, Bestselling Author of CRAZY: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness
- Tom Dart, Cook County (Chicago) Sheriff
- Ron Powers, Pulitzer prizewinner and author of No One Cares about Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America
- Susan Adams, senior editor, Forbes
- Norman Ornstein, resident scholar, American Enterprise Institute
- Rich Lowry, editor, National Review
- Allen Frances, former chair of the DSM-IV Task Force, former President, American Psychiatric Association, author of Saving Normal
- Rael Jean Isaac, coauthor, Madness in the Streets: How Psychiatry and the Law Abandoned the Mentally Ill
- Xavier Amador, Author of, I am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help!, former Director of Psychology and Professor Department of Psychiatry Columbia University; and Board of Directors, NAMI
- Charlie Rangel, former Member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-NY)
- Eleanor Clift, Washington Correspondent, Daily Beast
- John Snook, Executive Director, Treatment Advocacy Center
- Chief (Ret.) Michael Biasotti, Contributor: International Association Chiefs of Police policy on handling of the mentally ill, and Fellow, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- Dominic A. Sisti, PhD, Director, The Scattergood Program for Applied Ethics of Behavioral Health Care, Assistant Professor, Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
- Robert Paul Liberman, M.D., Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine, Director of the UCLA Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program
- Liza Long, author of The Price of Silence: A Mom’s Perspective on Mental Illness, a 2015 Books for a Better Life award winner
- Steven B. Seager, MD, producer/director of the award-winning documentary Shattered Families: The Collapse of America’s Mental Health System, and author of Behind the Gates of Gomorrah: A Year with the Criminally Insane
- Mia St. John, mental illness advocate and five-time World Boxing Council champion
- Natasha Tracy, author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar
- Anthony Daniels is the Dietrich Weismann Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal.
- Psychiatric Times review
- National Review review
- Modesto Bee review
- Psychology Today review
- Pete Earley review
- Treatment Advocacy Center review
- NY Journal of Books review
- City Journal (Manhattan Inst).
- Amazon customer reviews
- Marvin Ross on Mind You
Contact DJ Jaffe to arrange speaking engagements.
Reviews of Insane Consequences: How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill
“One of the most important books written on how to reform the mental health system.”
—Dr. Fuller Torrey, Author, Surviving Schizophrenia
I certainly haven’t been an advocate for the mentally ill for as long as Mr. Jaffe, but even so, I find the arguments put forth in this book undeniable and his blueprint for how to fundamentally change how we must care for the seriously mentally ill just common sense, as difficult as it may be. The truth in this book haunts me with its blazing clarity. Mr. Jaffe’s informed and passionate plea for fundamental change is rooted in a sense of deep humanity. He has paid attention to those who are neglected and suffering right under our noses and challenges us to do something about it.
—Glenn Close, Actress
“DJ Jaffe is a tireless champion of people suffering from severe mental illness. Insane Consequences overflows with DJ’s passion, insight, and, of course, his astute policy prescriptions. Essential reading for anyone concerned about America’s most vulnerable.”
— Sally Satel, MD, Yale University School of Medicine
“DJ Jaffe spares no one in this scathing examination that asks: why are we turning our backs on the seriously mentally ill dying on our streets while we’re squandering millions? Insane Consequences delivers a searing indictment of our current policies and offers readers Jaffe’s road map for radically transforming how we can help the sickest of the sick. A timely and thoughtful analysis of a broken system that needs replacing.”
—Pete Earley. Bestselling Author of CRAZY: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness
“In this book, DJ Jaffe importantly illuminates the countless and unacceptable failures of our mental health system—including the barbaric criminalization of mental illness, which places sick people in jails like my own, instead of treatment facilities. Jaffe also poses many commonsense solutions that should be taken seriously by lawmakers.”
—Tom Dart, Cook County Sheriff
“Mental illness is America’s true ‘enemy within.’ Its tentacles devastate victims, families, communities, our court and law enforcement systems, our economy, and our national character—even as we focus our attention outward on endless ‘public’ issues. No one understands this better than DJ Jaffe. An activist hero in the arduous fight for mental healthcare reform, he has poured his vast wisdom and information into A slashing, comprehensive, highly readable call to awareness and action. Every literate American should read Insane Consequences. Every literate American. Period.”
—Ron Powers, Pulitzer prizewinner and author of No One Cares about Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America
“Insane Consequences exposes in relentless and compelling detail one of the worst public health scandals of our time. Instead of helping and treating people with serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, we relegate them to the streets and homeless shelters, incarcerate and too often kill them. For thirty years, DJ Jaffe has worked as a tireless advocate for sensible government policies and for compassion and understanding of the real issues at stake affecting this vulnerable, abused population. This book will break your heart, make you furious, and ultimately give you hope when you read Jaffe’s smart ideas for reform.”
—Susan Adams, senior editor, Forbes
“Life for those with serious mental illness—schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, deep depression—can be and usually is an unremitting hell. The emotional pain of the brain disease is often accompanied by homelessness, imprisonment (often in solitary confinement), and violent encounters with police or others. The emotional pain and dislocation is unremitting as well for families of those who have serious brain diseases, powerless to help their loved ones after they have reached the age of eighteen, especially loved ones with no recognition that they are ill, and family members are unable to get even basic information from health authorities under HIPAA. No one understands these problems more than DJ Jaffe, and no one has worked harder to remove the grip of an insensitive government bureaucracy and a mental health industry that turns resources away from the seriously ill while [We’re] forcing people with no recognition of their illness onto the streets or into the jails in the name of civil liberties. Insane Consequences is a guidebook that details what the problems are, who is responsible, and, most important, [details] what we should do to fix things. If we cannot cure serious mental illness, we can improve the lives of those who suffer from it. That is Jaffe’s life’s work and why this book is so important.”
—Norman Ornstein, resident scholar, American Enterprise Institute
“The neglect of the seriously mentally ill is one of the greatest disgraces of our age. DJ Jaffe calls us back to common sense and basic decency in this deeply felt, important book. Read it, weep, and learn about the better path of treatment for the sick and find compassion for their families, topics that Jaffe sets out so compellingly.”
—Rich Lowry, editor, National Review
“DJ Jaffe is a world’s expert at exposing the cruel paradox that we carelessly over-treat the worried well, while shamefully neglecting the really sick. A smart and compassionate call to action.”
—Allen Frances, former chair of the DSM-IV Task Force, author of Saving Normal
“In this important, thoroughly researched book, DJ Jaffe exposes what is probably the largest, most audacious bait and switch operation in US history: unbeknownst to the public, what Jaffe calls ‘the mental health industry’ siphons off billions of taxpayer dollars each year, designed to serve the seriously mentally ill, to scientifically baseless or irrelevant programs (like prevention, when no one has the faintest idea of how to prevent major mental illness). Worse still, the small proportion of funds that go to the seriously ill are used to prevent treatment (under the false flag of civil rights) rather than to provide it.”
—Rael Jean Isaac, coauthor, Madness in the Streets: How Psychiatry and the Law Abandoned the Mentally Ill
“DJ Jaffe gives us vital answers. There is no other book that so completely identifies, specifically, how the United States is condemning tens of millions of seriously mentally ill citizens to tragic lives of extreme isolation, homelessness, incarceration, violence, [and] suicide, and the lost chance of recovery. Much more than a screed against the mental health industry, lawmakers, the justice system, and an apathetic public, this book provides science-based commonsense answers that work. It should be mandatory reading for all involved in mental illness treatment, public safety, healthcare legislation, the justice system, and helping family caregivers.”
—Xavier Amador, Author of, I am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help! former Director of Psychology and Professor Department of Psychiatry Columbia University; and Board of Directors, NAMI
“I am proud that DJ Jaffe, a constituent and member of the Harlem chapter of National Alliance on Mental Illness, has been tirelessly advocating to help the seriously mentally ill. Through increased awareness and improved public policy as outlined in this book, we can combat challenges we face to ameliorate mental health.”
—Charlie Rangel, former Member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-NY)
“In the complicated and often crazy world of mental illness, DJ Jaffe provides important guidance to journalists seeking a sound bite while conveying controversial information.”
—Eleanor Clift, Washington Correspondent, Daily Beast
“Insane Consequences is a thorough accounting of the innumerable tragedies and lost opportunities brought about by America’s broken mental health system. This book is the culmination of DJ’s long history of speaking truth to power and provides a compelling counter-argument to those who would attempt to maintain the current status quo.”
—John Snook, Executive Director, Treatment Advocacy Center
Insane Consequences does an amazing job explaining the impact of the failed mental health system on the criminal justice system. Every advocate, police chief, sheriff, district attorney, and mayor should read it.
—Chief (Ret.) Michael Biasotti, International Association Chiefs of Police, and Fellow, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
“In Insane Consequences, DJ Jaffe marshals compelling case accounts and empirical data to show how America’s mental health system—such as it is—grossly misallocates resources by focusing on the “worried well” at the expense of those with serious brain disorders. One result is that our nation’s jails have become de facto psychiatric institutions. This is a serious ethical transgression that Jaffe’s hard-hitting account makes impossible to ignore.”
—Dominic A. Sisti, PhD, Director, The Scattergood Program for Applied Ethics of Behavioral Health Care, Assistant Professor, Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
“DJ Jaffe has written a readily accessible and up-to-date book on serious mental disorders that should be a must-read for laypersons interested in mental disorders, family members of mentally ill persons, and patients themselves. A wide variety of mental disorders are described with clarity and graphic case examples. Moreover, the author points out clearly that lack of treatment facilities for the seriously mentally ill has led to their criminalization with many more of these individuals now in jails than in psychiatric hospitals.“
—Robert Paul Liberman, M.D., Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine, Director of the UCLA Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program
“Jaffe’s book is to the mental health industry what Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth was to climate change. We can no longer afford to ignore the most seriously ill. My son and all people living with mental illness have a right to treatment. This book provides real solutions that will save money and lives.”
—Liza Long, author of The Price of Silence: A Mom’s Perspective on Mental Illness, a 2015 Books for a Better Life award winner
“Want to know what’s wrong with America’s disastrous mental health system? Look no further than DJ Jaffe’s thoughtful, clear, and insightful presentation on the shortfalls in a system that tolerates abuse, neglect, and suffering as a matter of official policy. Want to fix the system? Jaffe discusses this in the same straightforward, head-on manner. Insane Consequences is a must for any mental health library. It is a ‘how-to’ manual for mental health advocates, and a road map for legislators implementing much-needed changes. Well done, Mr. Jaffe.”
—Steven B. Seager, MD, producer/director of the award-winning documentary Shattered Families: The Collapse of America’s Mental Health System, and author of Behind the Gates of Gomorrah: A Year with the Criminally Insane
“Insane Consequences is the first candid book about mental illness that I have read. It really pulls no punches. It speaks the truth about our system, instead of the usual sugar-coated version. You should read this book, even if you are not affected by mental health issues. It’s time to start educating the public about mental illness.”
—Mia St. John, mental illness advocate and five-time World Boxing Council champion
“Insane Consequences is a thorough accounting of the innumerable tragedies and lost opportunities brought about by America’s broken mental health system. This book is the culmination of Jaffe’s long history of speaking truth to power and provides a compelling counterargument to those who would attempt to maintain the current status quo.”
—Natasha Tracy, author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar
“This book describes graphically and in close detail the elaborate system of neglect of the seriously mentally ill in America, operated mainly for the benefit of those who work in it. In this absurd system, which would be funny if it were not productive of so much tragedy, the mildly distressed are over treated and the raving mad receive no care. Jaffe decries the mental health industry’s waste, incompetence, and willful stupidity, and suggests remedies. A book that is urgently needed.”
—Anthony Daniels, Dietrich Weismann Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal.