Searching For Normal

the story of a girl gone too soon

Facebook is unveiling new tools to provide support to people who may be suicidal, as well as resources for friends of those who are feeling suicidal via Facebook Live and Messenger

Facebook is position to help prevent suicide and has partnered with suicide prevention organizations to leverage that position.  Facebook is also utilizing artificial intelligence and pattern recognition based on previously reported posts to identify posts by people who may be suicidal. 

Obama signs the 21st Century Cures Act

How Will the Law Help People with Mental Illness?

Here is NAMI's summary:

The law includes key pieces of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016 (H.R. 2646), the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 (S. 2680), and the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act of 2015 (S. 2002). The Cures Act will improve integration and program coordination across federal agencies that serve people with mental illness and remove unfair barriers to mental health care. It will also address the needs of people with mental illness who become entangled in the criminal justice system.

The 21st Century Cures Act also:

  • Combats suicide in our schools and communities so precious lives are saved.
  • Increases the mental health workforce, so more trained professionals can help.
  • Strengthens the enforcement of the mental health parity law, so health plans are held accountable for the coverage people paid for.
  • Invests in early intervention, so people get the right mental health care at the right time.
  • Invests resources to keep people with mental illness out of jails and in treatment.

- See more at:


Read U.S. Congressman Tim Murphy's summary of the key problems in our nations mental health system and "The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act H.R. 2646" at:

A version of the bill may be voted on as early as the end of November 2016. Murphy anticipates bi-partisan support. This important bill currently includes a focus on evidenced-based treatment, expanding the number of beds and the mental health workforce and advancing early intervention and prevention programs and much more. 

Congressman Murphy released the following statement:

“This is a landmark moment. The federal government’s course in addressing mental health and illness in America is being fundamentally changed. Congress has finally come together in a bipartisan effort to bring serious mental illness out of the shadows. Now federal agencies will be moving from feel-good programs for behavioral wellness to ones that emphasize evidence-based care for those at highest risk and those with symptoms of serious mental illness. We’ve achieved long-sought reforms by creating an Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use to elevate, integrate and coordinate programs; investing in services for the most difficult to treat cases; expanding the mental health workforce, and so much more.


NPR Story on Mental Illness in Schools - Part 1

NPR article describes prevalence of mental illness in school age students as a hidden crisis. As I talk about in my book, addressing this crisis will allow early intervention that research is showing is key to better management of teenage onset mental illness and critical to reducing high school drop-out rates. This article, by Meg Anderson and Kavitha Cardoza, describes the shocking prevalence of mental illness in school-age youth and the role parents, teachers and other school and mental health professionals could play in providing wrap-around services to help struggling youth. Adequate funding is a major barrier.



Clinton rolls out plan to improve mental health care

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton just announced her proposal for addressing the state of our nation's broken mental health care system. She has put mental health on the national agenda. Her wide ranging proposal includes critically needed brain and behavior research. This is a big step towards building awareness of the prevalence and cost of mental health and initiating steps to improve the system. Read Liz Szabo's USA Today article.