Posts in News Commentary

Greenville Deputy Prevents Man Jumping Off Bridge

October 1st, 2014 Posted by Articles, Media, News Commentary, Published Media, Video 0 thoughts on “Greenville Deputy Prevents Man Jumping Off Bridge”

 Oct 01, 2014



This past Thursday a man in Greenville County was attempting to take his own life by jumping off of a bridge when Greenville Deputy Gene Clark successfully pulled the man back from the ledge.

When investigators weren’t getting far talking him down, Deputy Gene Clark said he saw an opportunity to step in before it was too late. Working traffic patrol, Clark responded to a call to help block the highway around 6:30 p.m. He said an off-duty investigator tried negotiating with the man, and when Clark drove past the man sitting on the wall, he realized the man wasn’t paying attention to him. That’s when he decided to try to grab the man by his shirt. “When he saw me, he started to lurch forward, and I started to pull back as hard as I could, and we both fell to the interstate,” said Clark. In 13 years with the sheriff’s office, Clark said he’s never done anything like this. “You don’t realize it at the time that you’re doing something, but once you realize, ‘OK, everything’s safe now,’ then you start to come down and realize, ‘Wow, that was scary,'” explained Clark. He, along with many other police and deputies, are trained by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, or NAMI, on how to work with the mentally ill.

Paton Blough was also interviewed about this situation–praising how well it was handled.

Now Blough trains Greenville city and county officers on how to best to interact with people who need mental health. Blough watched the deputy’s video and thinks that law enforcement handled the situation very well. He said he was impressed that the officers didn’t stand too closely as they tried to speak with the man.

You can read more on this story on Fox Carolina’s Website

Paton has also been able to witness improved treatment of mentally ill individuals and their families by the Greenville police in a recent settlement case. Greenville County has recently paid a settlement to the family of the deceased Andrew Torres who lived with schizophrenia. Torres was tragically killed during a violent encounter with police officials in 2010. Since then, Paton and NAMI Greenville have been working to implement CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) training into the Greenville police force to help prevent such tragedies happening in the future.

“It hit home to me personally very closely,” Blough said. Blough has bipolar disorder and he has experienced being tazed and pepper sprayed. He said watching what happened to Andrew Torres was a catalyst for him getting involved as an advocate. After getting treatment, he thought it was important for police to understand mental illness and how best to handle it. He took part in meetings put on with police and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “It was a big turning point in my life because i had officers clapping for me versus arresting me,” Blough said. In the years since Torres’ death, the Greenville Police has put an emphasis on crisis intervention training.  118 officers have now been trained in a 40 hour course, which makes it one of the most trained departments in the state. The training teaches officers how to understand what goes through the minds of the mentally ill and how to de-escalate crisis situations. Blough and a lieutenant from Greenville Police will be going to a national Crisis Intervention Training conference next month.

Read the full article on WSPA Channel 7’s Website

Free CIT Webinar presented by NAMI

September 9th, 2014 Posted by Media, News Commentary 0 thoughts on “Free CIT Webinar presented by NAMI”

September 09, 2014

Tune into a free webinar presented by NAMI to see Paton Blough speaking about CIT: Transforming Communities after Tragedy! The Webinar is THIS Wednesday (09-10-14) at 11:00am, EST.

Major Sam Cochran of the Universty of Memphis CIT Center, Laura Usher, the CIT Program Manager of NAMI, and Paton Blough of Rehinge will be discussing CIT Training and how it benefits our communities.

How to join the Webinar:

1. Follow this link: http://nasmhpd.adobeconnect.com/cit/

2. When the Adobe Connect Log-in screen appears, select “Enter as a Guest,” enter the name and state of the participant in the “Name” field (Ex. Jane Doe-AK) and click on “Enter Room.”

3. Once prompted to join the Audio portion of the meeting, please select: “Dialing-in to the Audio Conference Via Phone.” Then dial 1-888-727-2247 and enter the conference ID number 5433540#.

4. Dialing in allows for interaction and dialogue. Please ensure that your computer speakers are turned down so that there is no audio feedback.

Note: If you are only able to join the audio portion, then you will not be able to see the webinar presentation.

Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) programs do more than train police to respond to mental health crisis safely and humanely. They also help transform tragic events into an opportunity for communities to improve mental health crisis response, build partnerships and break down the stigma of mental illness.

A Goodbye to Robin Williams

August 12th, 2014 Posted by Media, News Commentary 0 thoughts on “A Goodbye to Robin Williams”

August 12th, 2014

Famous actor and comedian Robin Williams tragically passed away on August 11th due to committing suicide. The hearts of us at Rehinge go out to the friends and family of Robin Williams, as well as to everyone whose life he has touched in some way. Robin Williams lived with depression and would openly talk about his difficulties with mental illness and trouble with addiction. Despite his own struggles, Robin Williams made so many of us laugh and tried to get us to look past our troubles to see the good in life and the hope it can bring.

This tragedy shows that mental illness is very real and can affect anyone regardless of their status. While Robin William’s death is heartbreaking, we must keep moving on to provide better support for those living with mental illness. If you or a loved one is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Hotline: 1.800.273.8255.

A message of HOPE from the beloved Robin Williams – he often broke through my depression and made me laugh. This message breaks through even deeper and gives us all HOPE! – Paton Blough

Bleak Picture for Mentally Ill: 80% are Jobless

July 10th, 2014 Posted by Media, News Commentary 0 thoughts on “Bleak Picture for Mentally Ill: 80% are Jobless”

July 10, 2014

This is heartbreaking article from USA Today. Those living with mental illness face a much greater unemployment rate compared to the national average. The article highlights some solutions towards this issue, but right now no one is implementing these solutions. We still have a long way to go for mental health reform in our country.

Read the full article on USA Today’s website

Eighty percent of people with mental illness are unemployed, a statistic that says more about the lack of support for this group of people than it does about the economy, according to a new study.

As in so many other areas of mental health, solutions to this problem exist, but simply aren’t utilized, says Mary Giliberti, executive director of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“These statistics paint a pretty bleak picture,” she says. “We think we can do a lot better.”

About 60% of people with mental illness want to work. And two-thirds can successfully hold down a job, if they’re given appropriate support, the report says. Yet fewer than 2% of people in the public mental health system receive this help, a cost-effective program called supported employment, which has been studied in 20 high-quality clinical trials over the past 25 years.

Yet supported employment programs are rare, partly because of the difficulty of cobbling together sufficient funding, says Robert Drake, a professor at the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center in New Hampshire. Unlike medication, which is covered by health insurance plans, there’s no central funding source for employment support.

Read the full article on USA Today’s website

The Cost of Not Caring: Nowhere to Go

May 13th, 2014 Posted by Media, News Commentary 0 thoughts on “The Cost of Not Caring: Nowhere to Go”

May 13, 2014

An amazingly detailed and tragically beautiful article from USA today about the state of mental health in the United States. It’s a bit of a read, but well worth it to take the time to learn more about the sad state of US mental health care and its cost.

Read the Full Article on the USA Today Website

More than half a million Americans with serious mental illness are falling through the cracks of a system in tatters, a USA TODAY special report shows.

The mentally ill who have nowhere to go and find little sympathy from those around them often land hard in emergency rooms, county jails and city streets. The lucky ones find homes with family. The unlucky ones show up in the morgue.

“We have replaced the hospital bed with the jail cell, the homeless shelter and the coffin,” says Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., a child psychologist leading an effort to remodel the mental health system. “How is that compassionate?”

States looking to save money have pared away both the community mental health services designed to keep people healthy, as well as the hospital care needed to help them heal after a crisis.

tates have been reducing hospital beds for decades, because of insurance pressures as well as a desire to provide more care outside institutions. Tight budgets during the recession forced some of the most devastating cuts in recent memory, says Robert Glover, executive director of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. States cut $5 billion in mental health services from 2009 to 2012. In the same period, the country eliminated at least 4,500 public psychiatric hospital beds — nearly 10% of the total supply, he says.

The result is that, all too often, people with mental illness get no care at all.

Nearly 40% of adults with “severe” mental illness — such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder — received no treatment in the previous year, according to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Among adults with any mental illness, 60% were untreated.

Read the Full Article on the USA Today Website

McAuliffe Signs ‘First Step’ to Reforming Virginia’s Mental Health System

May 2nd, 2014 Posted by Advocacy, Media, News Commentary 0 thoughts on “McAuliffe Signs ‘First Step’ to Reforming Virginia’s Mental Health System”

May 02, 2014

Exciting news from Virginia as Governor Terry McAuliffe and Virginia Senator Creigh Deeds take the first steps for mental health reform in the state. Senator Deeds began to take action after his son tragically stabbed Deeds in late 2013 before killing himself. Hopefully, from the midst of this tragedy, mental health reform in Virginia will soon occur.

Read the Full Article on the Washington Post Website

With Sen. R. Creigh Deeds at his side, Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Monday signed legislation meant to reform the mental health system that Deeds said failed his mentally ill son, who stabbed the senator before killing himself in November.

McAuliffe (D) traveled to Charlottesville to ceremonially sign the bill at the hospital that treated Deeds, the Democratic nominee for governor in 2009, for stab wounds. A bipartisan group of senators and delegates came from as far as Northern Virginia to witness the event, pledging to keep pushing for more reforms.

“It’s an important first step,” McAuliffe said. “Let us be crystal clear: We have a long, long way to go.”

Read the Full Article on the Washington Post Website

SC Could Expand Mental Health Court Program

April 15th, 2014 Posted by Advocacy, Media, News Commentary, Speaking Events, Video 0 thoughts on “SC Could Expand Mental Health Court Program”

April 15, 2014

Paton Blough of Rehinge spoke in front of the Greenville County Delegation last night on the topic of mental health courts. Paton is pushing for South Carolina to adopt more mental health courts in each county of the state. This expansion of mental health courts would reduce recidivism rates of mentally ill inmates and also save the state millions of dollars.

Watch and Read the Full Article at WSPA News Channel 7

A Greenville mental health advocate spoke with lawmakers Monday night to raise support for more mental health courts in South Carolina. Right now, there are three in Greenville, Richland and Charleston counties. The courts allow non-violent mentally ill offenders to meet with a judge and sign up for treatment.

Paton Blough graduated from Greenville’s mental health court several years ago. “I believe the program was a big part of my recovery without a doubt,” Blough said. Blough faced some misdemeanors as he struggled with bipolar disorder.

Federal money fund many existing courts. Blough has worked with a state senator and hopes that a bill can be introduced this year. Several members of Greenville County’s legislative delegation seemed supportive when Blough talked with them Monday.

Watch and Read the Full Article at WSPA News Channel 7

Criminal Records Leave Mentally Ill Struggling to Succeed

April 15th, 2014 Posted by Media, News Commentary 0 thoughts on “Criminal Records Leave Mentally Ill Struggling to Succeed”

April 15, 2014

The Post and Courier has written an extensive article on the state of mental health in South Carolina and throughout the US. The article follows the story of a man named Glen Yerkey who has bipolar, and is struggling to find work and to escape his criminal record. The article explains how the prisons in the US have become the new mental asylums in our country. A number of other experts and advocates weigh in on the article, including Rehinge’s Paton Blough. Comprehensive mental health reform is needed in the US, especially our corrections systems.

Read the Full Article on the Post and Courier Website

At 19, Glen Yerkey notched his first arrest, an act that branded him a criminal. Today, his rap sheet of thefts and petty crimes is so long, his stays behind bars so many, that he sees no meaningful future.

Yerkey is 26.

He can’t find a job or a place to live. With few options, he wonders how he can escape a life of crime.

“I can’t stand it,” Yerkey, who’s living with his mother on James Island, said. “I’m disgusted with my situation.”

Yerkey contends his problems, in large part, are rooted in his struggles with bipolar disorder. For years, he has suffered manic highs (like the time he took an MUSC hospital bus on a joy ride) and severe lows (which he medicated with alcohol and illegal drugs).

But like tens of thousands of mentally ill people across the nation, Yerkey’s troubles are often more apt to land him in a jail cell than in treatment.

Prisons and jails have become the new asylums for those who once might have ended up in psychiatric hospitals or other care, experts say.

“There is a clear consensus that prisons are now the largest mental hospitals,” said Dr. Harold Morgan, a long-time forensic psychiatrist in Columbia who examined seriously ill inmates to take part in the recent class-action lawsuit against the state Department of Corrections.

About 40 percent of people with serious mental illnesses today have been in jail or prison at some point, studies show.

In South Carolina, at least five times more are in jails and prisons than in hospitals, a 2010 study by the nonprofit Advocacy Treatment Center and the National Sheriffs’ Association found.

Only three states – Nevada, Arizona and Texas – had higher rates.

And when the advocacy center’s researchers released a new report about the problem last week, what did they have to say about South Carolina?

“The state ranks near the bottom on availability of public psychiatric beds, efforts to divert mentally ill individuals, per capita state mental health expenditures, and almost every other measure of treatment for mentally ill individuals.”

Blough, who has bipolar disorder, spent one-third of his life from 2005 to 2008 behind bars or in psychiatric hospitals.

He’s seen the criminal justice system become the frontline of mental health care. He was arrested six times. Three times it went badly. Three times it went well.

“The difference wasn’t me. I was fully manic in all six. The difference was the officers who dealt with me,” said Blough, now a married father in recovery.

During one arrest, he spit on a detention officer. Another time he yelled threats against a local sheriff’s deputy. Both led to felony charges.

Today, he deals with what he deems PTSD from being jolted with a stun gun, strapped to chairs, pepper sprayed and locked in isolation. He also gained a record of felonies.

He blames a lack of hospital beds for those who need it.

“Instead, it’s jail,” he said. “We criminalize the mentally ill.”

Now, he’s an advocate and speaks to law enforcement groups and lawmakers.

Blough didn’t set out to commit crimes. He believed he was waging nuclear war with China and that former President Bush was obeying his signals from a jail cell. He was trying to save the world.

“It felt as real as the sky is blue,” Blough said. “It’s all from a mental health basis. It’s not a behavioral issue. It’s not who I am.”

Read the Full Article on the Post and Courier Website

Greenville County Mental Health Court Presentation

April 14th, 2014 Posted by Advocacy, Media, News Commentary, Speaking Events 0 thoughts on “Greenville County Mental Health Court Presentation”

Greenville County Mental Health Court Presentation

Paton Blough has created a presentation pushing for a SC bill for mental health courts. The presentation includes mental health statistics throughout the nation and South Carolina, and shows the This presentation will be shown at the Greenville County delegation on 4-14-2014 by Paton Blough. The council meeting will include 7 Senators and 15 House members from the state.

View & Download the Presentation

There Are 10 Times More Mentally Ill People Behind Bars Than in State Hospitals

April 9th, 2014 Posted by Media, News Commentary 0 thoughts on “There Are 10 Times More Mentally Ill People Behind Bars Than in State Hospitals”

There Are 10 Times More Mentally Ill People Behind Bars Than in State Hospitals

April 09, 2014

Our prisons are currently being overrun by mentally ill inmates. These people should be given a place in psychiatric hospital beds, but instead our country is sending them to prison. This article from Mother Jones puts the issue into perspective.

Read Full Article on Mother Jones Website

Severe mental illnesses, like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, are brain diseases—biological conditions like heart disease or epilepsy. Yet in this country, the institutions most likely to be treating people with these illnesses are not hospitals, but rather jails and prisons.

According to a new report from the Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC), a nonprofit advocacy organization, the United States has fully returned to the 18th-century model of incarcerating the mentally ill in correctional institutions rather than treating them in health care facilities like any other sick people. In 2012, there were roughly 356,268 inmates with severe mental illnesses in prisons and jails, while only 35,000 people with the same diseases were in state psychiatric hospitals.

The numbers of incarcerated mentally ill have been growing, and TAC reports that their treatment in the corrections system is nothing less than abominable. Mentally ill inmates are more likely to become the victims of sexual assault and abuse. They’re also overrepresented in solitary confinement, and they are much more likely than other prisoners to commit suicide.

Putting the mentally ill in jails instead of hospitals isn’t saving the government any money. In Washington state, for instance, in 2009, the most seriously mentally ill inmates cost more than $100,000 a year to confine, compared with $30,000 for others. One reason for the disparity: According to the report, mentally ill people tend to stay in jail longer than other prisoners because they aren’t likely to get bail and also because they are often chronic rule-breakers. For example, according to the report, in Florida’s Orange County jail most inmates stay an average of 26 days, but mentally ill inmates are there for 51 days on average. Even worse is New York’s Rikers Island jail, where last month a homeless, mentally ill veteran, who’d been arrested for sleeping on the roof of a public housing project, “basically baked to death” in his cell. The average stay for an inmate at Rikers is 42 days. Mentally ill inmates get stuck there for an average of 215 days.

Read Full Article on Mother Jones Website

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Rehinge exists to provide hope, education, and spiritual inspiration for all people affected with mental health issues and to fight stigma while pushing for global mental health reform.

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What People Are Saying

  • “It has been one of my greatest rewards as NAMI Greenville, SC Program Director to see your recovery from when we first met to your award as NAMI South Carolina’s Recovery Person of the Year to your appearance on the same stage with author Pete Early. I hope your book is every bit as successful as his has been.”

    Brian Lewis
    • Fletcher Mann
    • Program Director NAMI Greenville, SC
  • “It’s incredible. If you aren’t sure, always go for Cast. I don’t always clop, but when I do, it’s because of Cast. I made back the purchase price in just 48 hours!”

    Patrick Bates
    • Patrick Bates
    • CEO, SouthCentral
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  • “It has been one of my greatest rewards as NAMI Greenville, SC Program Director to see your recovery from when we first met to your award as NAMI South Carolina’s Recovery Person of the Year to your appearance on the same stage with author Pete Early. I hope your book is every bit as successful as his has been.”

    Brian Lewis
    • Fletcher Mann
    • Program Director NAMI Greenville, SC
  • “It’s incredible. If you aren’t sure, always go for Cast. I don’t always clop, but when I do, it’s because of Cast. I made back the purchase price in just 48 hours!”

    Patrick Bates
    • Patrick Bates
    • CEO, SouthCentral
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