Mindy McCready Suicide Creates Celebrity Rehab, Dr. Drew Backlash on Twitter

Image Courtesy of VH1

Image Courtesy of VH1

It’s been awhile. I’ve been pre-occupied with various projects– the latest of which is my first documentary film, “Because Of Xena.” But last night was different; last night I was pre-occupied with the news of Mindy McCready’s suicide, and the (mostly negative) reactions blowing up the Twitterverse.

Here’s the kicker–the reactions weren’t aimed at the troubled country star herself. The outpouring of negative reactions were aimed at Celebrity Rehab addiction specialist, Dr. Drew Pinsky.

I’ll admit, when I first heard of the tragic news, I retweeted the breaking news article with these words: “Another of @drdrew patients gone.” My intentions were not meant to be malicious however– not like the thousands of tweets which followed.

Here are just a few of  those tweets.

McCready Tweet


Dr. Drew has since been compared to Dr. Kevorkian.

The unflattering comparison was reported by Perez Hilton some 10 hours ago via washed up musician, Richard Marx. Hilton’s opening statement, “Whoa. This might be a bit harsh,” is 100% accurate. The slew of hateful comments directed at Dr. Drew, along with Marx’s Kevorkian comparison, are grossly unjust. The aforementioned accusations only prove how seriously uneducated society is when it comes to mental illness and drug addiction. It is because of this that stigma continues to linger in the 21st century.

What of those who are not celebrities? I hate to break it to you, but there are thousands of faces in the crowd suffering in silence.

Here are a few facts from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention— for those of you so inclined to learn.

  • Every 13.7 minutes someone in the United States dies by suicide.
  • Nearly 1,000,000 people make a suicide attempt every year.
  • 90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.
  • Most people with mental illness do not die by suicide. (I.e. Accidental Overdose)
  • Recent data puts yearly medical costs for suicide at nearly $100 million (2005).
  • Men are nearly 4 times more likely to die by suicide than women. Women attempt suicide 3 times as often as men.

Now here’s a sad truth: It wouldn’t have mattered whether it was Dr. Drew, Carl Jung, or Freud himself who treated Mindy McCready. The patient must be held accountable for their own actions. They must choose to continue treatment and follow doctors orders. Does this mean they will? Certainly not. That’s the price of mental illness itself and the stigma which follows behind it.


NAMI Tennessee: In Our Own Voice

The National Alliance on Mental Illness, better known as NAMI, is a grassroots mental health advocacy organization dedicated to ending the stigma associated with mental illness. Established in 1979, NAMI began building their legacy by creating a simplistic, yet affective, mission statement- “support, educate, research.”

Since its incarnation three decades ago, NAMI has expanded with over 1,200 affiliates covering 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. The organization now operates at the local, state, and national levels, but their focus on the local and state levels targets each individual state’s needs when it comes to addressing specific issues within the community. One of the highlights that co-occur between affiliates is the vast array of  consumer oriented support programs. Divisions of these include an education, training, and peer support center, a child and adolescent action center, a multi-cultural action center, a legal center, and a veterans resource center, just to name a few.

As part of the education, training, and peer support center, NAMI offers a program called In Our Own Voice, (IOOV) a public education campaign in which consumers are trained to make public speaking appearances at places such as schools, law enforcement agencies, churches, political events, and jails. During these speaking engagements the consumers share their heart wrenching stories of both pain and recovery.

IOOV is a program the state of  Tennessee is pushing in an innovative new direction. Tennessee has 46 NAMI chapters, but it is Middle Tennessee that has set the tone for NAMI affiliates all over the country. By using the popular website Ning, a social networking phenomenon that allows users to create and join their own social networks, NAMI Tennessee’s IOOV has provided an interactive platform for consumers, friends, and families affected by mental illness. It’s a place where peers, along with their friends and family, can find compassion, understanding, and inspiration. They also host a blog of the same name, where you’ll find introductory styled stories, journal type entries pertaining to mental illness, information on IOOV, mental health research news, and other important developments in the mental health field.

Because the NAMI TN Ning site and blog are so new, not many people have caught on yet. Another misconception is that you have to live in the state of TN to join in and participate; on the contrary, the goal of all NAMI affiliates is to “support, educate, and research.”  Don’t be shy, come join in the fight to end the stigma and have some fun while you’re at it!