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Journalist Pete Earley to speak at U-M about mental health care in the justice system

Lecture to take place Oct. 15 on Ann Arbor central campus

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ANN ARBOR – Author, longtime journalist and former Washington Post reporter Pete Earley will be the keynote speaker at University of Michigan's 13th annual Prechter Lecture on Tuesday.

Earley's book "Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness" reveals his son's struggles with bipolar disorder and incarceration. 

"I'd been a journalist for thirty years and written extensively about crime and punishment and society," writes Earley on his website. "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."

"Crazy," a Pulitzer Prize finalist, is based on observations both of his son's experience and his own experiences while given unrestricted access to the Miami-Dade County Jail while working on an investigation on mental health care inside prisons.

He declared prisons "our new mental asylums" and has become an advocate for better mental health care. 

Sponsored by U-M's Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program, the lecture will include a panel discussion on the topic and on bipolar disorder research moderated by the program's director, Dr. Melvin McInnis.

Panelists include:

  • Earley
  • Dr. Debra Pinals, medical director of behavioral health and forensic programs for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services; clinical professor of psychiatry; director, Program in Psychiatry, Law and Ethics, University of Michigan Medical School Department of Psychiatry and adjunct clinical professor at the University of Michigan Law School
  • Maria Bastida, nurse practitioner
  • Charles Graham Jr., therapist and psychologist
  • A Prechter Program research participant who lives with bipolar disorder 

The event is free and open to the public but attendees are asked to register in advance.

To register, click here.

The lecture will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Kahn Auditorium inside U-M's A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building at 109 Zina Pitcher Place.

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