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EPISODE 3

CRAZY–A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness 

Pete Earley

Pete Earley is best-known for his nonfiction book, CRAZY: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness, which was one of two finalists for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize.

His book chronicles his struggle to help his adult son after he develops a severe mental illness and is arrested. His son’s arrest prompted Earley to spend ten months inside the Miami Dade County jail as a reporter where he followed prisoners with mental disorders through the criminal justice system to see what actually happened to them. His book has won awards from the American Psychiatric Association, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mental Health America, and prompted CNN to name him one of the nation’s top “Mental Wellness Warriors.”

He currently serves as the parent member of the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Committee (ISMICC) created by Congress to advise it on federal mental health policy. He was invited by President Obama to speak at a White House summit about his son’s illness and recovery.

A former Washington Post reporter, Earley has appeared five times before the U.S. Congress to testify about the need for mental health reform, has spoken in 49 states, and addressed legislators in four foreign countries. He serves on the board of the Corporation for Supportive Housing, which finances projects to eliminate homelessness. He writes regularly for USA TODAY and the Washington Post about mental health issues and also posts a weekly blog that often is cited by the media. www.peteearley.com

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“I had no idea.

I’d been a journalist for thirty years and written extensively about crime and punishment and society. But I’d always been on the outside looking in. I had no idea what it was like to be on the inside looking out – until my son, Mike, was declared mentally ill.

Suddenly the two of us were thrown headlong into the maze of contradictions, disparities, and Catch-22s that make up America’s mental health system.

Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness is a nonfiction book that tells two stories.

The first is my son’s. The second describes what I observed during a year-long investigation inside the Miami- Dade County jail, where I was given unrestricted access.”

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