All in the Family

Mental Illness and Caregiving Across the Generations

“I’m as Mad as Hell, and I’m Not Going To Take This Anymore”

If we don’t make noise about mental illness, nothing will change. Read More

Im mad as hell.

I really like this post. I can't relly diagnose myself but I know the effect that mental disorders have on families first hand. I was raised in foster care, and I am positive that alot of abuse I suffered could have been avoided had these people recieved the attention they needed. I am mad as hell, and I agree we need to make some noise.


I appreciate your support!

so frustrated and mad as hell

I'm so tired of trying to get the right services for myself. Its exhausting. I have been diagnosed with depression, PTSD and borderline PD. I really struggle. I have one of the best insurances in my area and still struggle to get services. I see my psychologist once ever 6 wks and my psychiatrist every 8-10 weeks. I'm offered group therapy in which I have been in for years and years and yet no improvement. Something needs to change. Am I unfixable? Has the mental health department decided that I'm not worth fixing? I've been paying a private therapist and I shouldn't have to. It is causing a financial hardship. I pay big bucks for my insurance and yet they are not providing me with what I need. My psychologist and psychiatrist have both said I need to be seeing someone weekly but their hands are tied because the insurance wont even allow them to make appointments so frequently. I dont know, maybe its just not worth trying anymore.

keep fighting!

I'm sorry for your pain. You shouldn't have to fight so much to get the treatment you want. Part of what needs to get fixed. I appreciate your support!

I applaud your work and add my voice.

I am an advocate for suicide prevention on the LGBT community and I am ANGRY that my voice is ignored. I have struggled with suicidal feelings, addiction and self-destructive behavior as a result of surpressing my gender identity. Thankfully, I survived a number of incidents that could have turned out another way, and now I help other people with similar issues. But sometimes I feel like the only one.

I'm angry that young people in my community are taking their own lives at astromical rates, and that doesn't include the ones killing themsrlves with drugs and alcohol. I'm angry that young people in general aren't taken seriously enough, that depression and related illnesses are considered typical adolescent experiences and ignored, that the only time we pause is when mental illness meets gun violence, and then its only to blame the illness but never to do anything to help people with similar issues.

We are failing our kids and it seems nobody cares. I know what almost happened to me. I know what's happening to our young people every day.

Thank you for creating this movement. It's time for change.


I appreciate your support.

I'm Mad as Hell

This column appealed to me because it describes the way I felt about twelve years ago but my outlook has evolved since then.

Much like Dr Prochno my conviction stems from personal experience as well as a logical analysis of the data. I did not wait for someone else to lead the charge. I have talked to individuals and small groups at work and at my church. But where I started out with anger and an approach that was analagous to a "Scared Straight" program I've found that appealing to people's sense of fair play and concern for others goes further towards building understanding and support. The "Mad As Hell" emotion more often converts ignorance into fear which is counterproductive.

The other thing I would stress is the need to share the unvarnished truth regarding what is really known about the brain, biochemistry and behavior. As far as I know, there are no objective diagnostic tests for mental illness and the explanations regarding the causes of mental illness are closer to hypotheses than theories. Our current knowledge of brain function is comparable to the understanding of other organs about a hundred years ago.

But a hundred years ago we didn't know the underlying mechanisms that generated the sensation of pain and we didn't have an objective way to measure pain and that didn't stop us from believing that pain existed and from developing and using analgesics that relieved pain. Why should mental illness be any different?

I agree with you!

Great point.Thanks much for your support!

I'm mad as hell too

Hi Rachel,

This topic is incredibly important, so I'm very grateful that you have started this blog. My sister was diagnosed with bipolar disorder w/schizoid affect at the age of 14/15 and took her life at 19. Another immediate family member has been diagnosed with alcoholism and bipolar disorder, but for a number of reasons has not been fully treated. This family member has had several suicide attempts over the years and there has been incredible secrecy about the situation. I am truly mad as hell!

Rachel K.


I appreciate your support. More of us need to get mad!

Mad, Maddening, Madness

I am mad. Angry, that is. I am angry that mental illness is so stigmatizing, so shameful, that my loved one and many others refuse even the simplest treatments. I am angry that others who seek help face the barrier of limited treatment options. I am angry that mental illness has taken away so much from the lives of my loved ones, and has caused so much suffering. I am mad at the maddening ignorance that continues despite great efforts to educate, speak out, and increase awareness ... that mental illness is no one's fault. I am mad at the madness of judging people for something that is not a decision, but an illness, a brain chemical imbalance that can be treated and managed. I am mad at the unfairness when a loved one spirals into madness and spins out, ending up in another emergency psychiatric hospitalization where not a card, not a flower, not a balloon, not a single culturally-accepted hint of hope for recovery comes our way. I am astounded at the madness of insensitivity towards our loved ones, our neighbors, our friends, our community members who struggle with mental illness and receive little support, understanding or comfort. I am determined to continue to gently push forward towards a world where those who suffer from mental illness are treated with compassion and care, embraced and guided towards recovery, loved for who they are, not shunned for how they suffer.


Thanks for your beautiful words. So much to be mad about. Ours is the passion needed to create change!

I'm mad too

Thank you Ms. Shimuzu. Your words have hit home for me. My daughter is anorexic with co-morbid drug addiction. Her treatment is sporadic and expensive, despite insurance. There is a chance I will have to bury her some day. We both feel shunned. It's the loneliest feeling. I still love her and always will. Thanks for expressing yourself in souch a thoughtful way.

Mad as hell and happy others are too

BRAVO! It's about time we started making some noise!


I appreciate your support!

Those who really don't understand

I am angry too. I have watched my sweet daughter (27) and niece (18) slowly enter the darkness of emotional illness over the last decade and felt powerless to help. Even though I am a licensed mental health professional, I have felt helpless. I am blown-away by how we still limit our treatments to drugs and more behavior-based therapies, often hard-to-get coverages (made a bit easier with OBAMACARE) and more darkness. I have resorted to lots of prayer and meditation to deal with the fears of how their futures might play out. I have sat by quietly on Thanksgiving Day as another relative used the word "mental" while referring to those who are struggling. My precious niece, who was sitting in ear shot, fought off pure shock at our family members lack of compassion and insensitivity. I bit my tongue so as not to throw a negative light on the day. I am trying to help by working towards the use of creative therapies and effective group work, but so so much needs to change!

So sorry for the sadness.

So sorry for the sadness. Thanks for getting mad with me!

Unashamed and Bold from Canada

Kudos to you! Yes, I was very angry and still am until my hair turned grey at the stigma, ignorance and prejudices of society. I did something about it! I approached my local paper starting in 2012 and they ran my personal story of a "Psychiatric Survivor's Success Story" four times over a two year period which can be viewed on-line by keying in my full name. My biography was published last year as well. I joined "Partners for Mental Health" a not-for-profit organization based in Ottawa the Founder and Chair is Former Senator Michael Kirby to break the silence and diminish the stigma. I also volunteer with the Mental Health Commission of Canada including other mental health organizations. I am letting society know I am not going away and I am blowing my horn as loud as I possibly can until we are accepted in society.
Let us unite and make our voices be heard. It is our time to shine.


HI Glendyn:
I appreciate your support.

Making some noise

First, thank you for doing this Dr. Pruchno. We need more people to make noise about mental illness.

Second, there are so many people who suffer from mental illnesses and just like a physical health issue, everyone deserves treatment, no matter what age, race, or gender. As our population's demographics are changing, making noise for vulnerable populations such as older adults and individuals from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds will become even more important!

I really appreciate your post and look forward to future posts as you give people a voice to make change.

Thank you,

Karen Fortuna


Hi Karen:
I appreciate your note. Thanks for your support!

I'm Mad Too!

Touché Dr. Pruchno on your perspective of the way mental health is perceived in our society. It's unfortunate that we are in 2014 and people are still afraid to speak about their mental illnesses because of its taboo ramifications. The issue of mental health should not be treated differently from any other illnesses such as cancer, AIDS, high blood pressure or alcoholism. They are all diseases that need an equal amount of attention, research and compassion for those who are suffering. I believe that when "we" as a society realize that we were made perfectly imperfect, then our ways of thinking will change. But like you said, we have to get mad as hell as a group, and then decide that we won’t take it anymore. As Deepack Chopra once quoted, "All great changes are preceded by chaos". Therefore hear, hear Dr. Pruchno; let's all get mad together.


Appreciate your support!

Empty Sentiment

Maybe I should buffer this with something like I appreciate your effort, but I don't.

Aside from noise, what are you proposing?
Government funded, "free", therapy?
Forced therapy?
Who is this someone who should do something?
What magic do you expect to happen when someone makes "noise?"

How many people choose not to seek therapy because they don't think it's effective? I don't know but I'd like to and I'd bet it's more than you think.

why make noise?

Hi Gregg:

I appreciate your comment. My belief is that the reason so little progress has been made regarding mental illness is that people hide. If we don't make noise, nothing will change. Look at the money spent on cancer and diabetes and see what amazing progress has been made there. Yes, if those of us touched by mental illness continue to keep silent, nothing will change.

What do others think?

A lot of noise is needed

I completely agree with Rachel Pruchno.

A march on Washington is needed to reduce the stigma associated with mental illnesses, raise awareness, and increase funding. I'm not sure how something like this would occur (or maybe it has already?) but there are many non-profits working on various aspects of mental illness stigma reduction, awareness, treatment, etc. and if all (or many) of these organizations came together to organize a large event such as this, I think there could be an impact. Such an event would need to include high-profile speakers, musicians, etc. Maybe I'm naive or too idealist, but I think this is the type of noise that needs to be created.

NAMI walks

I am going to sign up for a NAMI walk in my state. Here is the webpage if anyone else is interested in doing the same thing in their state:

NAMI walk

great idea!

Why not make noise?

The stigma of mental illnesses keeps people silent. But, what if people spoke up about their experiences within the treatment system or a family's member's experience maybe progress can be made regarding their treatment. Speaking up for yourself or other's is how we can make systems change. Nothing will happen if we keep quiet, and people with a mental illnesses deserve to live a quality life just like everyone without a mental illnesses does.


"amazing progress" is certainly debatable but I'll refrain other than to say the advances are after the fact and not in prevention.

There's big money in medical research and insurance covers treatments.
I didn't realize cancer or diabetes patients made noise that resulted in money flowing in--if that's what you're saying.

The relatively little money in psychotherapy doesn't compare and it's generally not covered by insurance.

So, of course, if making "noise" gets people to seek treatment who feel ashamed, that would be good. But I don't think that's the issue. Perhaps you could explain why you do. How many people, who can aford therapy, don't seek it?

Money is the issue. To solve that you'd need government subsidies or mandates. It's not clear (to me) that the Affordable Care Act will make a significant difference.

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Rachel Pruchno, Ph.D. is Endowed Chair and Professor of Medicine at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine. Her memoir Surrounded by Madnessis available at online bookstores.


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