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Fix What You Can: Schizophrenia and a Lawmaker's Fight for Her Son

Fix What You Can: Schizophrenia and a Lawmaker's Fight for Her Son

by Mindy Greiling
Fix What You Can: Schizophrenia and a Lawmaker's Fight for Her Son

Fix What You Can: Schizophrenia and a Lawmaker's Fight for Her Son

by Mindy Greiling


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One mother’s fight to support her son and change a broken system

In his early twenties, Mindy Greiling’s son, Jim, was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder after experiencing delusions that demanded he kill his mother. At the time, and for more than a decade after, Greiling was a Minnesota state legislator who struggled, along with her husband, to navigate and improve the state’s inadequate mental health system. Fix What You Can is an illuminating and frank account of caring for a person with a mental illness, told by a parent and advocate.  

Greiling describes challenges shared by many families, ranging from the practical (medication compliance, housing, employment) to the heartbreaking—suicide attempts, victimization, and illicit drug use. Greiling confronts the reality that some people with serious mental illness may be dangerous and reminds us that medication works—if taken. 

The book chronicles her efforts to pass legislation to address problems in the mental health system, including obstacles to parental access to information and insufficient funding for care and research. It also recounts Greiling’s painful memories of her grandmother, who was confined in an institution for twenty-three years—recollections that strengthen her determination that Jim’s treatment be more humane. Written with her son’s cooperation, Fix What You Can offers hard-won perspective, practical advice, and useful resources through a brave and personal story that takes the long view of what success means when coping with mental illness. 

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781517909598
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Publication date: 10/06/2020
Pages: 232
Sales rank: 654,987
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Mindy Greiling was a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives for twenty years. She helped found the nation’s first state mental health caucus, which successfully lobbied for a significant increase in Minnesota’s mental health funding. She has served on state and national boards of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and is on the University of Minnesota Psychiatry Community Advisory Council. 

Table of Contents

Our Story ix

Prologue xiii

Part I

1 The Call 3

2 Alarm Bells 9

3 Bum 20

4 Psych Ward Silence 26

5 Sharing the News 38

6 Frustration Inspires Legislation 44

7 Allies in Empathy and Action 50

8 Angela Visits 53

9 Advice from a Prisoner 57

10 The Third Rail 61

11 One of Them 73

12 Early Intervention 85

13 Tasks Unlimited 89

14 Debating the Governor 93

15 "This Bill Will Save Lives" 96

16 Mind over Fat 102

17 Jim Is Amazing 109

18 The Depths of Delusion 114

Part II

19 Vulnerable Adult 123

20 Mother's Day Turmoil 130

21 Really B ad News 137

22 ACT 142

23 Celebrating in Mental Health Court 148

24 The Risk of Hospitality 151

25 Colleen 160

26 A Better Job 166

27 One Very Lucky Young Man 176

28 Care-Meeting Chaos 185

29 Deny, Enable, Repeat 190

30 Jail instead of the Caucus 198

31 Escape to Puerto Vallarta 205

32 Relapse and Roses 208

33 Treat to Street 215

34 Where Will Jim Live? 220

35 Hope in the Shadows 224

36 Home, for Now 231

Epilogue 235

Resources 245

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