As ever, mental health threads itself through the media landscape in one form or another. A few weeks ago New York Mayor DiBlasio announced a new mental health focus at Riker’s Island prison, which is much needed as everyone knows we closed our asylums and moved these unfortunate folks to prisons instead. The New York Times released a long article on the mental health treatment (or lack of it) of Adam Lanza, the Newtown shooter. 60 Minutes ran a long uplifting piece on Mindfulness, and on the same show a long far more disturbing piece about the inability of several mentally ill teenagers to find adequate care.

The thread that runs through everything I see and hear about mental health is America’s woeful, tragic inattention to the antiquated way we divide and disempower our mental health professionals. When I hear about Mayor DeBlasio’s intentions for the penal system I am pleased, but immediately I wonder where he expects to find and retain skilled, dedicated practitioners for this long-neglected work (Why exactly has America chosen to incarcerate rather than treat vast, vast numbers of the mentally ill? Is it really cheaper to pay prison guards and feed, clothe and house tens of thousands than to train prescriber-therapists?). I’ve written here already about gun violence, and this month on our site we’ve posted a new article, stimulated by the 60 Minutes piece, entitled “Who’ll be Minding the Store? Mindfulness, Medication and the Lack of Prescriber-Therapists.”

The idea behind this site, apart from the promotion of our business, is that there in fact exist very effective and efficient treatments for many mental health conditions, but that they are rarely available to most of us because they are hard to find and hard to pay for if found. We present ideas about mental health policy, but we also seek to refine and present useful psycho-educational information that displays the kind of treatments that we offer and that we think should be readily available. We are excited to also be posting on our site our treatment outline: Medication, Meditation, Procrastination and Disorganization: The Four Step Program for Adults With ADD and Depression.

This somewhat telegraphic five page article is specific and detailed, and offers, for the first time ever, the clearest picture of the program that has evolved since the publication of “Getting Unstuck” five years ago. We believe that this program offers the most comprehensive, efficient and effective approach to ADD adults and their concerns. We offer the article here for free in the hopes of stimulating discussion, at long last, about exactly how medicine and psycho-educationally skill-based therapies ought to be constructed for this huge under-served population.

Finally, we are busy here in Attentionland preparing for our newest foray:

Thursday, January 29th at Billet and Bellows (177 Grand Street)

The Doctor is In: Psychiatric Stand-Up

The Attention Doctor, Dr. Don, and sorta, kinda well known comic, Kris Tinkle, will be hosting a slew of more or less amusing guests, taking questions from the audience and generally bantering in the name of mental health.

We’re holding this groundbreaking event (how long has it been since psychiatry had a sense of humor anyway) at a nifty new venue in the heart of happy hipster Brooklyn, Billet and Bellows, owned by the very talented metal worker and longtime Billyburg fixture Kristina Kozak.

What brings us here to this unusual venture/juncture? Not too many shrinks mounting stand up shows are there?

Partly, we very much want to support Kristina and her lovingly crafted speakeasy; much of what you see there was made by Kristina herself, including the chairs, the table and the bars, and it’s truly unique and peaceful. Partly, we want to inaugurate a venue where the very, very many hyperactive comedians (aren’t all comedians hyperactive?) can help me to create the sense of community that I believe is necessary if we ADDers as an interest group are to assert our rights and our needs to secure the care to which I believe we are entitled.

There are 30 million adults with ADD in America, and the best America has to offer them seems to be Dr Phil and Dr Oz, both of whom are empty charlatans. It is no longer enough for me to treat as many of us as I can. There are too many of you and only one of me. I need to spread what I know, to teach what I know. I need to raise questions and seek help to get some answers. And I need your help to do it.

In a matter of months we will be offering an intensive experience of some sort presenting the program that we described above, now available on our site. Much about the format and timing of this offering is as of yet open. On the 29th we’ll be talking some more about that; if you’re interested in taking our program in a seminar setting please come out to this event and help us shape that experience.

This mailing list now has 2500 people on it. Many of you know me very well, quite personally. Many of you are or have been patients. Many of you have no such connections. This event is meant to grow this mailing list; it’s also meant to test this list’s ability to interest and mobilize its readers. Please share this blog post and our articles if they are of interest to you and to the many others hyperactive folks you undoubtedly know.

Come on out, it’s free and it might be funny:

January 29th at Billet and Bellows


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