Monday, June 23, 2008

Taking 'the Insanity Offense'

Every once in a while there is a book that has the ability to make change. Dr. E. Fuller Torrey’s, The Insanity Offense, is one such text. For many readers here, the plot is familiar. America’s failure to treat the seriously mentally ill endangers its citizens. Dr. Torrey’s diagnosis hits a bull’s eye and his prescription for change is compelling.

The Insanity Offense" is "about one of the great social disasters of recent American history," Dr. Torrey writes. "It began within the lifetime of many of us, is continuing, and today affects approximately 400,000 individuals and their families. In the annals of twentieth-century American history, it should be included among the greatest calamities."

In just a few short days of publication, those words ring so true that the book is receiving attention of biblical proportions.

“There are times and situations that call for prophets,” writes Johns Hopkins University Professor Dr. Paul McHugh in The Wall Street Journal. “Not fortunetellers or soothsayers, but biblical prophets like Amos or Jeremiah who furiously proclaim the old truths, puncture our pretensions and predict from current tribulations worse to come if what lies deeper than sin -- idolatrous worship of false gods -- continues. E. Fuller Torrey, a psychiatrist who cares for patients with schizophrenia and manic-depression, is to my mind the doctor nearest in character to an ancient Hebrew prophet.”

Dr. Torrey, as he has done so many times before, lays out a path to follow. The job ahead is to push forward. The obstacles are familiar. The forces against change are well known, well organized, but wrong. The obligation to act is clear. Let’s join Dr. Torrey and take the offense to improve American’s health.