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In "Healing," Dr. Thomas Insel critiques & offers solutions to America's mental health crisis

On this edition of Your Call, we're kicking off a series about our mental health crisis. We begin by speaking with Dr. Thomas Insel, author of Healing: Our Path from Mental Illness to Mental Health.

In 2015, when Dr. Insel was serving his last year as director of the National Institute of Mental Health, an encounter with the parent of a 23-year-old with schizophrenia caused him to think hard about how the work he and his colleagues were doing had not translated into better outcomes for the millions of people who were suffering and dying from mental illness. During his time at the NIMH, the suicide death rate climbed 33 percent, overdose deaths increased threefold, and people with serious mental illness were chronically unemployed and dying 20 years early.

Dr. Insel left his job to investigative why our mental health system fails at every stage, not as a psychiatrist, but as a journalist in search of solutions. He shares his findings in his new book.


Dr. Thomas Insel, psychiatrist and neuroscientist, special advisor to California Governor Gavin Newsom, director of the National Institute of Mental Health from 2002-2015, and author of Healing: Our Path from Mental Illness to Mental Health

Web Resources:

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Psychology Today

The Atlantic: What American Mental Health Care is Missing

The New York Times: The ‘Nation’s Psychiatrist’ Takes Stock, With Frustration

The Wall Street Journal: Psychiatrist Thomas Insel Looks for a Cure to America’s Mental Health Crisis

Scientific American: A Renaissance for Psychedelics Could Fill a Long-Standing Treatment Gap for Psychiatric Disorders

Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.