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Author, mental illness advocate Earley to speak at UAS

Posted: February 19, 2012 - 1:04am  |  Updated: February 26, 2012 - 1:06am

Pete Earley was a reporter for 14 years, including six at the Washington Post, before he became a full-time author. After his son Mike was diagnosed as mentally ill, his life was “turned upside down.”


After writing Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness, he added “mental health advocate” to his list of accomplishments. On March 1, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Juneau and the University of Alaska Southeast will present an evening with Earley.


Crazy, which refers to the state of the mental health care system in this country, tells two stories — that of Earley’s son, as well as what he observed during a year-long investigation inside the Miami-Dade County Jail, where he was given unrestricted access.


“I wrote this book as a wake-up call to expose how persons with mental illness are ending up behind bars when what they need is help, not punishment.” explains Earley.


The effort to bring Earley to Juneau began last July when NAMI-Juneau’s Executive Director Katie Chapman heard him speak at NAMI’s national convention.


“NAMI’s mission is three-fold — to educate, support and advocate on behalf of those whose lives are impaced by mental illness. Ever since I heard Pete speak and read his book, I’ve wanted his story to be heard by those who live here — especially those who have either been diagnosed as mentally ill, or have a friend or loved one who has.” said Chapman.


Earley will speak at the University of Alaska’s Egan lecture hall on March 1 at 7 p.m., followed by the chance to meet him at a small reception.


The trip is made possible by NAMI-Juneau and UAS, as well as the Pete Trivette Fund through the Juneau Community Foundation, the Juneau Alliance for Mental Health, Gaiptman Communications, The National Council on Alcohol and Drug Addiction, the Baranof Hotel, Rainforest Recovery Center and Bartlett Mental Health Unit, as well as Alaska Legal Services.


For more information about the event and Earley’s time in Juneau, contact NAMI-Juneau at 463-4251 or at namijuneau@gmail.com.

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