The U.S. correctional system is responsible for having 10 times the number of mentally ill patients receiving treatment than any state psychiatric hospital. People with serious mental disorders are 4 times more likely to be incarcerated for minor charges, such as disorderly conduct. Inmates with schizophrenia also remain in prison longer than others. Host Rachel Star Withers and cohost Gabe Howard examine the effect prison has on people with schizophrenia and the connections between living with schizophrenia and incarceration.
Guest Lloyd Hale joins us to discuss living with schizophrenia and his time in the correctional system after he was convicted of murder. Years later, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Lloyd Hale is a father, certified peer specialist, and the founder of RIDE 4 S.P.M.I. (Ride 4 Serious and Persistent Mental Illness), a 210-mile bike ride across South Carolina to raise awareness around mental illness. As someone living well with schizophrenia, Lloyd has devoted his life to sharing his story in the hopes that others will seek treatment and receive the help and support they need. Lloyd has partnered with SC SHARE (South Carolina Self Help Association Regarding Emotions) to champion the READY FOR LIFE project and THE DREAM TEAM PROJECT, which aims to start healthy conversations in rural areas with youths and their families about mental health and resources in their community.
Featured in the Bevocalspeakup documentary “Beyond Silence” with executive producer, singer and songwriter Demi Lovato. In the documentary, Lloyd shares an unscripted journey with the camera through his recovery and current life. http://www.openeighty.com.
Producer’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript has been computer generated and therefore may contain inaccuracies and grammar errors. Thank you.
Announcer: Welcome to Inside Schizophrenia, a look into better understanding and living well with schizophrenia. Hosted by renowned advocate and influencer Rachel Star Withers and featuring Gabe Howard.
Rachel Star Withers: Welcome to Inside Schizophrenia, a Healthline Media podcast. I’m Rachel Star Withers here with my co-host. Wonderful, as always, Gabe Howard.
Gabe Howard: I love it when you say nice things about me, like it’s,
Rachel Star Withers: It’s nice.
Gabe Howard: It’s nice.
Rachel Star Withers: Ok, I’ll mix it up, I’ll throw in some nice ones, and then one day I’m going to be with my adequate co-host here.
Gabe Howard: Thank you, Rachel. Well, I mean, we had to do something to break up because we’re going to be talking about prison. And as you’ve always mentioned, schizophrenia is scary because it has a Z and prison is scary because it’s prison.
Rachel Star Withers: Yeah, and it’s all connected because where else should we put these scary schizophrenic people? Gotta lock them away. That’s the idea that unfortunately so much of our society does have. And that’s why this topic is so important because it’s so connected with the major mental disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar, anything honestly that has hallucinations, mania, delusions, all these big scary words that people hear. We’re going to talk about that. Also, what are some of the solutions? And Gabe, I’ve never been arrested for anything. But we found a wonderful guest who was willing to talk to us very openly, Lloyd Hale. And he is a man living with schizophrenia who also was convicted of a very serious crime. And he spent years in the correctional system.
Gabe Howard: Rachel, it was an incredible interview, and as I was listening to it, I thought to myself, wow, on one hand, very brave, very vulnerable, admitting to things that we do not talk about openly in public. This gentleman is describing what he did in very candid terms. In some ways that made me uncomfortable, that he was just so open about this major crime. But on the other hand, we’re never going to understand what happened, how to prevent it, how to move forward if people are constantly, you know, retconning what’s going on in the world. It’s uncomfortable. And I think it’s exactly what we need if we’re going to move forward.
Rachel Star Withers: The correctional system, especially here in America, it plays such a major part in mental health. I actually spoke with a woman and her father is in prison and has been for many years and he has schizophrenia. And I was like, you know, so what, what do you think that people need to know from your side? And she was saying that him being in prison to her is a constant fear and a constant relief. She told me that before he was arrested, she was constantly worried. Where was he? What was happening to her father, was he alive or dead? So him being in prison was a relief that, OK, I know where he is. I know for the most part he’s safe and I know he has access to medication. The U.S. correctional system is now responsible for more than 10 times the number of mentally ill patients receiving treatment than any of the state psychiatric hospitals that are still open. The prison system, in effect, has become the new mental health facility for a lot of people, especially long term. There are so few long term mental health facilities that are accessible without paying quite a bit. Right now, L.A. County Jail, Chicago’s Cook County Jail and the infamous New York Rikers jail all hold more mentally ill inmates than the hospitals in those states.
Gabe Howard: And that, Rachel, pardon the pun, is nuts. I understand that it’s a solution and it’s certainly better than doing nothing, but it’s not a good solution. And this is where society’s thinking breaks down. I think that the average person in society believes that this problem is solved, that we’re done, that we’ve done it. And in actuality, we’ve just put a Band-Aid on a gaping wound. And there’s much better options out there if anybody would take the time, effort and energy to look. And I want to be clear when I say there’s better options, there’s also better options financially. There’s less expensive options on the taxpayer. Putting somebody in prison is incredibly expensive. And I don’t think people realize this. We’re spending more and getting less.
Rachel Star Withers: Around 20% of the inmates that are in jail are thought to have a serious mental disorder and 15% that are in the federal prison system are thought to have serious mental disorder. And a lot of that is self reporting. It could be much higher and that percentage is shocking. But it also plays into the belief that then, well, obviously, for you to commit bad crimes, you must have a mental disorder. So let’s talk why is that percentage so high? The myth that I’ve always heard was when Reagan shut down the mental hospitals. But then you’re like, well, that was the 80s. Why would this still? Like that’s not the reason it’s still happening. You know, we’ve had all this time. You feel like if that was the main problem, it would have been fixed. And it did contribute. They’ve actually said that shutting down the state hospitals, as they did when they cut them back in the 80s, that accounted for a 7% growth in the prison population. That is a big number. That’s not 20%, though.
Gabe Howard: Once again, I think that people are looking for single answers to a very complex problem. There are multiple things that contribute to where we are today, from the lack of understanding of exactly what mental illness is to people’s desire to get treatment for it, to society’s willingness to put up resources. Even state by state. It varies. You know, somebody listening to this episode in California is going to respond to it very differently than somebody listening to this episode in Alabama because they have very different mental health resources. And culturally and societally, frankly, they have a different relationship with the prison system, state by state, and even in some cases, county by county. All of this sort of meshes together to create this very complex social problem that somebody is trying to resolve with a sound bite. I mean, you can stop listening to the podcast now if you’re like, oh, well, Gabe and Rachel know the solution. The reality is, is that we don’t, but, Rachel, this is a real issue for people with schizophrenia because you are one public crisis away from entering the legal system or entangling with law enforcement. And that’s not to say that the legal system or law enforcement is bad. It’s just as somebody who lives with schizophrenia, you sincerely hope that your crisis isn’t in public.
Rachel Star Withers: Yes, and on that note, it also plays a lot into just racism in general, I’m a white female, 35. That that is a privilege of mine, is that I can get away with throwing temper tantrums and stuff as opposed to probably if I was a black male, it might not go so well for me. I always tell this story because it blew my mind. I have a friend with very serious schizophrenia and she was arrested for driving down the wrong side of the interstate. And when the cops arrested her, she started lashing out, hitting, punching, biting, and they were like, oh, wow, this girl has a problem. And they immediately took her to the hospital. And I think how different that would have been if she wasn’t a white female, five foot two, probably 110 pounds. I mean, she assaulted them. Like she assaulted multiple police officers. And right away they were like, oh, no, we need to get this girl to the hospital, which is great. That’s the response we want. But it’s scary to think that they might not have thought that if she’d been another race, even. Just another race, the same size.
Gabe Howard: Obviously, the issues that society faces befall people with schizophrenia because they are also members of society, I think people mistakenly think, oh, well, the person with schizophrenia doesn’t live in society and therefore isn’t impacted by the exact same societal pressures, issues, good, bad and ugly that everybody else is. All of those things that impact everybody else in society also impact the person with schizophrenia. And in addition to that, schizophrenia impacts the person with schizophrenia. The reality is, is many people with schizophrenia do end up in the legal system and they have all kinds of challenges from the moment that they’re arrested moving forward.
Rachel Star Withers: People with serious mental disorders are actually four times more likely to be arrested and then incarcerated for less serious charges, such as disorderly conduct. So where they say disorderly conduct, I think most people think like attacking someone when really that’s more kind of talking to yourself. It can be whatever makes other people uncomfortable. But especially like if you were in, let’s say, a store and you’re talking to yourself, one woman was having an intense delusion that she actually worked at the store. So she kept rearranging the shelves and they were like, we don’t know what’s wrong with this lady. So they called the police and she was arrested for disorderly conduct. She wasn’t really doing anything bad. In her mind, she worked there. And it’s scary to think there is something about delusions that take disorderly conduct to the next level. That can be scary for the person with schizophrenia and those around. I think a lot of when we talk about changing any sort of system, so much of it is we need to change how we view things and what we consider like threats and whatnot. I wish there’s more people who can recognize, hey, there’s something going on here. This person isn’t trying to destroy. There’s something off in this person. And that’s just like a very public awareness campaign. And there is again, there’s no quick solution.
Gabe Howard: You hit the nail on the head, though, because what you’re describing is that the people around that individual were uncomfortable.
Rachel Star Withers: Yes.
Gabe Howard: Now they’re allowed to be uncomfortable. But did that person commit a crime? And if that person did commit a crime, is it a serious crime warranting of arrest, three months in jail, a prison term, etc.? And then finally, this is what schizophrenia looks like. It unfortunately looks like this delusion or hallucination where there’s a dragon following you or where you work in the store. So you’re just having the symptoms. Could you imagine if you went to a store and you sneezed and the people around you became so uncomfortable with your sneeze that they called the police and you spent three months in jail and you’re like, look, I just had the flu. Now you’re saying, well, that would never happen. That’s ridiculous. Remember, sneezing is a symptom of the flu. And thinking that you work someplace is a symptom of schizophrenia. If we want to push the analogy to its limits, we’ll say that the sneezing fit made you unable to comply. We’ll say that the sneezing fit made you unable to explain why you were sneezing. So people were uncomfortable that you were, you know, sneezing and blowing your nose constantly and not obeying simple commands like, you know, please leave my store. I don’t want you in here sneezing and blowing your nose. It would just be unfortunate that the flu cost you three months in jail. But it is reality for people with schizophrenia. We always like to think that people are in prison because of these really serious, serious crimes, you know, assaults, murder, you know, stealing cars, threatening people. The reality is, is this is mostly petty misdemeanors.
Rachel Star Withers: And even once arrested, mentally ill inmates remain in prison longer than others, and it’s usually because of breaking like small rule violations. Like the other day my dad had to come into my room and he does this all the time. He’s wonderful with this. He checks on me. If I’m not up and moving around, it’s time to check on me. And usually in these moments, I’m kind of like, not all here. I’ll be kind of delusional. And that’s actually one of the number one things they have issues with people with schizophrenia in prison is them having to, like, report somewhere, to be awake. And I can imagine, yeah, it being like my dad trying to come in and check me out and I’m just like, confused. I don’t know what’s happening. And in a prison setting, yes, that could be scary for the guard. They’re coming to check on the inmate like, hey, you’re supposed to get up at this time and the person not understanding what’s happening to them. So when I was reading that statistic, that was very relatable to me because I could easily see myself getting kind of a whole bunch of rule violations where I wasn’t being bad. I was just easily confused. Mentally ill inmates are more likely to spend time in isolation, which if you have schizophrenia, if your loved one has schizophrenia, you need to know that’s bad. Isolation, isolating yourself off from the world, unfortunately, is a symptom with schizophrenia. And it’s not good. And so then you think about, let’s say, doing something wrong in a prison setting and you’re literally put in isolation for 23 hours a day. I can’t imagine anything worse, honestly, for my schizophrenia. Medicated or not, I can’t imagine anything worse for me than being, yeah, cut off from everybody for 23 hours.
Gabe Howard: There’s a significant amount of data that shows that isolation is just cruel and unusual punishment period, not for
Rachel Star Withers: Yes,
Gabe Howard: People with schizophrenia, just
Rachel Star Withers: Just everyone. Everyone.
Gabe Howard: Just for everyone.
Rachel Star Withers: Mm hmm.
Gabe Howard: Well, the rules and regulations of the jail aren’t set up for people with schizophrenia. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if these rules and regulations aren’t set up for the person with schizophrenia. The person with schizophrenia probably will not excel under these rules. If they’re not doing well, if they’re not excelling, it’s more likely than not that they become and I’m making air quotes again, “problems.” Jails and prisons don’t like problems. For the safety of the guards, for the safety of the other inmates. It’s understandable why they’ve reached this conclusion. But it doesn’t change the fact that somebody who has committed a misdemeanor petty crime based on a symptom of an illness is now considered to be a problem by a jail and prison system and therefore is not getting the resources and help that they need to not be a problem. The misunderstanding at the beginning, it’s a symptom, not a crime, just falls all the way down into people being incarcerated for years.
Rachel Star Withers: Yes. In prison, people with mental disorders are more likely to be physically victimized, more likely to commit suicide, and they’re more likely to be denied parole. A lot of what the parole hearings have to do with following basic jail rules, that means if convicted of a crime, little or big, usually people with mental disorders end up serving the entire time. They’re not able to get paroled on good behavior or whatnot. And that, again, I mean, if you imagine taking care of someone with schizophrenia for an additional months to years, when they’re not a threat to themselves or others, but they just are not good at waking up. They’re not you know, they’re small things they just keep doing that unfortunately discounts them to come up for parole. And once out, mentally ill prisoners do return back to prison at an alarming rate. Forty four percent of mentally ill inmates were found to be back behind bars within three months.
Gabe Howard: That’s incredible.
Rachel Star Withers: When you’re out on parole, people with schizophrenia have a very hard time maintaining that, especially when they’re kind of put out on their own. You know, you have to check in with a parole officer. You have to do certain things when you’re allowed back into society. And a lot of those little things people with schizophrenia have a very hard time doing and their paroles will be revoked.
Gabe Howard: Rachel, one of the things that I don’t think that we’ve covered is there’s a big difference between jail and prison, and one of the biggest differences is that you can sit in jail for days, weeks, months without ever having been convicted of anything. You can be awaiting trial. And, of course, if you’re sitting in jail and you’re not getting the support that you need, it means that you’re getting sicker. And if you’re getting sicker, you’re probably not a good defendant, which increases your likelihood of being convicted at trial or not making a good deal or unfortunately, reoffending in jail because once again, you’re having symptoms. What the jail sees as reoffending or being non-compliant or not following the rules all impacts your ability to make a deal with the prosecutor to get out.
Rachel Star Withers: Pretrial inmates actually represent the largest and fastest growing segment of the U.S. jail population. So people who are waiting for their court date, that is just a huge strain on our resources. And something to understand, prison versus jail. Jail is paid for by the county. Prison is the state. So that’s when you’re getting into the federal system. And with jails, it’s going to be county to county. You could easily be in a major city and a jail looks one way and be out in the country area and the jail is something completely different, whether it’s facilities, programs that you’re going to have access to. And unfortunately, mental health. The vast majority of people with schizophrenia who are in jail right now have been charged with misdemeanors such as trespassing. And I will say, Gabe, I trespass a lot. And it sounds bad to say, but I do. I get confused. I’ve had issues where I’ll just kind of, I don’t wake up like from a sleep, but I’ll wake up as in like I guess come to mentally and I’ll be like, where am I? How did I get here? I won’t be 100% sure how I got to this side of town and what I’m doing. And that can be scary for the person with schizophrenia. So imagine I’m somewhere I shouldn’t be. And now a policeman has come over and they’re asking me, why are you here? And I’m like, I don’t know. I can easily see myself being arrested for something like that and not being a threat to others or myself, but being in the wrong place at the wrong time and not able to articulate myself as I am right now. That’s a very scary thing. And I think it’s something scary for my mother also.
Gabe Howard: Once again, this all comes down to a small problem compounding rapidly because a person with schizophrenia is not in the position to understand what’s going on and they make it worse for themselves unknowingly. The system is not set up for people with schizophrenia. So once again, this is where jails and prisons, etc., are not the best place to help or to treat or to prevent anything when it comes to a person with schizophrenia. And that is why we need to start looking at other alternatives. I don’t want anybody to hear we’re saying that if you have schizophrenia, you can just do whatever you want. You can just walk into somebody’s business, pretend you work there and start rearranging things. We’re not saying that at all. But what we are saying is, is that jails and prisons are epic failures at reducing recidivism and issues surrounding people with schizophrenia. So if you want to protect society, you’d come up with a method that works because prison and jail just does not.
Rachel Star Withers: The care that’s in a prison jail system is kind of like a mental illness triage, it’s meant to stop a person from hurting themselves or others, killing themselves or others. It’s not meant to, OK, let’s get some behavioral training in here for. It isn’t, it’s made to like stop major issues like that. And so much with schizophrenia is the small things. And the reason I bring up the trespassing, the reason I brought up the woman working in the store is I just want to make it clear, especially to friends and family, that being arrested while having a mental disorder is a very real possibility. It isn’t, you know, like, oh, well, I would never do anything horrible. I wouldn’t do anything bad. It’s like, yeah, when you have a mental disorder, the hallucinations and things, you can easily be kind of filed under that disorderly conduct, the trespassing, all the misdemeanors.
Gabe Howard: Rachel, I have not had any experience with law enforcement, short of the occasional speeding ticket, but I want to be clear, it’s just because every advantage that could be afforded to somebody with a mental illness has been afforded to me. It’s not that I never trespassed. It’s not that I never caused a problem publicly. It’s not that I wasn’t publicly intoxicated. It’s not that I didn’t abuse drugs and alcohol. And it’s not that I didn’t commit any crimes. I just didn’t do it in a place where law enforcement was looking. My behavior was absolutely no different than the thousands upon thousands of examples that we discovered during the research for this show. The people who have spent days, weeks, months, even years in prison were no better or no worse than Gabe Howard. They just weren’t as fortunate. For me personally, Rachel, that’s disturbing.
Rachel Star Withers: Another big problem that comes up with our jail system is you have to be a lot of times evaluated for competency to stand trial, which is very important. Are you, you know, mentally here enough to even go to trial? And so a lot of times what happens is there’s these big waiting lists to actually be evaluated for your mental health to stand trial. Average time to be evaluated, Gabe, is 35 days. So it’s not even like this person has not been convicted. We’re not even sure if they’re going to be able to go to trial. And that’s over a month that you are waiting. And a lot of the time, you don’t have very good access to health care, especially mental health care. New York, Rikers Island, the average stay in the jail there is 42 days. For people with schizophrenia and bipolar, it is 215. Two hundred and fifteen days is an average. As you’re waiting to be found competent to go to trial? What?
Gabe Howard: And again, right, it’s important to understand that you have not been convicted
Rachel Star Withers: Right.
Gabe Howard: Of anything, you have just been arrested yet 215 days. I can’t imagine being in jail over 215 hours
Rachel Star Withers: The solutions are so complicated. There is no, like, Band-Aid for it. One really amazing thing. In March 2018, Congress did appropriate 30 million dollars to trying to get in different treatment programs into the correctional system. And one of the big focuses of that was to go to the jails. They have recognized that a lot of the mentally ill inmates in jail probably should not be there. There’s slow solutions, but it’s good when the government acknowledges, hey, there’s a problem, there’s something going on here. We have too many mentally ill people in the prison system. And let’s look at where they’re coming from. It starts with the jail system.
Gabe Howard: This is another one of those sounds good is good kind of things. You said 2018; in 2018, the government across all the states, counties, etc., gave $2.2 billion to subsidize sports stadiums. They gave $30 million for people with mental illness. Now, $2.2 billion for a for profit business. When we subsidize these sports stadiums were literally going into private businesses and saying, hey, you can’t make the business work by yourself? Here’s a government handout so that your business can be more successful. Oh, no, keep the profits. Of course, we don’t want paid back. And then we say, oh, you’re severely ill? You’re sick? Eh, we’ll spend $30 million to see if we can help you out. It’s important to understand that the 215 days that somebody spends in jail, the taxpayer is paying for, society is paying for. So this $30 million, it sounds great, it sounds like a big number. But when you really consider it against other government spending, it’s not really all that helpful. We need long term solutions.
Rachel Star Withers: Absolutely, and starting with that is acknowledging there’s a problem. When I was looking up and kind of researching, I was trying to find what organizations work with mentally ill and the issues with the jails and prisons. And the majority of the stuff I found came from non-profits. This isn’t the government. It’s just people who are advocating for change on their own. It’s great that there’s people like that. It’s great that there are people trying to do things. But it’s also sad that that’s what it takes to get change is pretty much organizations and just people on their own doing this. One of the big initiatives that I like is the Stepping Up Initiatives, and it is a national call to action for the counties. So the different counties over the jails and 500 counties have signed up since 2015. And what they do is they’re working to actually measure and track this problem so that they can get more funding, hopefully from the federal system. And the things that they track are the jail bookings, the length of jail stay, the connections to treatment that the different individual jails have, and then the chances that the person is then rearrested once they’re released. And all of this is a good start. This is, again, a voluntary thing. If you work in the county and you are interested in looking at your county to be part of this, it is StepUpTogether.org.
Gabe Howard: Rachel, once again, I’m going to go back to my sounds good is good. That is just remarkably sad. I can’t believe that this charity needs to exist. We have sick people who are in harm’s way. And by helping them, we would not only help people keep people safe, but we’d also save money. Like maybe the only thing that the society should care about is that it’s cheaper to do it Gabe’s way. It’s cheaper to help people up front instead of letting them languish forever and ever and ever and paying for them forever and ever and ever. The fact that a charity needs to exist to tell people to do that is frankly disturbing to me as a person. The fact that it’s the charity exists to help Gabe, to help people like Gabe, that’s just really sad because it lets me know that I am not a priority to our society. And I thought I was. And I feel that I’m deserving. And Rachel, I don’t want to speak for you, but you’re my friend and you’re important, too. And obviously, we’re in the mental health field. We know so many people. I can’t look at them and think to myself, none of you are important.
Rachel Star Withers: Gabe, this is a great spot to come in with our interview with Lloyd Hale because he experienced all of this stuff firsthand. He went through all of this. He came out of all of this, and he actually started and worked with a bunch of organizations because he saw, hey, there needs to be change. I’m going to be the one to step up and do it. So I was excited to talk to him. Let’s just jump into that.
Gabe Howard: Yeah, Rachel, you always do a great job. Here we go.
Rachel Star Withers: We’re speaking today with Lloyd Hale, who is an advocate and a certified peer specialist, and I’m always excited when I get to talk to a fellow person with schizophrenia. He also has schizophrenia and he’s going to be sharing with us today some parts of your life that have been really incredible. So thank you so much, Lloyd.
LLoyd Hale: My pleasure. Thank you for having me here today.
Rachel Star Withers: So now the other thing I’m always excited when I talk to another person with schizophrenia, but also when I talk to another South Carolinian. When I was doing research, you were one of the first people that popped up. And then I was like, oh, wait a second, he’s in South Carolina. And I got so excited just because
LLoyd Hale: Oh, yeah.
Rachel Star Withers: I feel we’re very underrepresented as like a state. But it was so cool for me to, like, find all this stuff that you’ve been doing in South Carolina to raise awareness for mental health. And thank you so much for doing that, especially in, you know, here in the south.
LLoyd Hale: Definitely, definitely, you know, I’ve been able to do some really cool things in South Carolina, especially in the more rural areas. So I’m thankful for the opportunities that have come my way and thankful for health and strength to be able to do the work. So, yeah, I’m here.
Rachel Star Withers: That’s awesome. So you’re a bit of a celebrity, you actually are featured in a movie that Demi Lovato executive produced called Beyond Silence. And it’s a really great movie. I encourage everyone out there to check it out. Give us just a little bit about yourself.
LLoyd Hale: Ok, OK, sounds good, you know, that was a really cool experience on the documentary Beyond Silence with Demi Lovato was the executive producer. I was able to travel the country and things like that. That’s some of the more recent work that I’ve done. I’m 40 years old now. I am the father of two, a boy and a girl. My son is actually twenty four years old. My daughter is eight. I was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was about 17 years old and unfortunately, I was diagnosed after the illness had kind of gotten the best of me. My symptoms of schizophrenia were hearing voices that weren’t real to others. And at times I saw things that weren’t necessarily there and I believed lots of things that weren’t true. When I began to act on those things, I was about 16 years old, 15 and a half, and I started doing things that were strange and in some cases were violent. And after being arrested and sent to juvie and all of that good stuff, I was then diagnosed with schizophrenia after having several episodes inside of the detention center. After being released from that experience, I moved on to wash dishes, actually.
LLoyd Hale: That was my area of expertise at that time of my life is washing dishes. So this is for a few years. And I started hearing about this job with peer support. So I applied for the job in 2003, I got the job in 2004 working for the South Carolina Department of Mental Health as a certified peer support specialist, did that for 14 and a half years, moved over to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina, where I helped them develop their peer support program here in the state of South Carolina. And then I left there and went over to South Carolina SHARE where I became the assistant director. South Carolina SHARE is responsible for training peer support specialists in the state of South Carolina. When the director retired last year, I became the director of South Carolina SHARE.
Rachel Star Withers: That’s absolutely awesome. So take us back. What led to your arrest when you were younger?
LLoyd Hale: I was about 13, was the age that I recall when I experienced something different happening in my mind. I started having these conversations in my mind, and these conversations were only with people that I have heard their voice and I’ve seen their face and I knew their name. Oftentimes, people living with schizophrenia call it I’m hearing voices. But for me, it was real conversations that I thought I was having. And those conversations would be about everyday things. My life began to change from living in the now and what I can see and what’s around me. And this what I would call a third world. This place inside of me, this place where we could talk and we would interact and no one could actually hear us in this in the real world is what I thought. And I like to highlight that this wasn’t just a thought. This had already tapped into my belief system, just as we believe the color of the sky is blue. It became that real for me where doubt was out the window. I was 100% certain I would have these conversations with different people in my mind and in their mind. So time went on for the next couple of years. This is kind of how I lived. And I lived in this third world and then it was music out at the time. It was an MC out at the time his name was Nas and he’s
Rachel Star Withers: Yeah,
LLoyd Hale: A famous emcee. I’m a huge fan of Nas and this is while I’m making sense of all of these things going on in my brain and I’m wondering why no one talks about it. And in one of his songs he said, it justifies my escapades, leaving things mesmerized, mega lives like the Third World. And for me, I thought he was making reference to this place where I was having these conversations, making reference to what I was experiencing. Time went on and in this third world that I was having a conversation with my mom and I thought my mom was asking me to take her boyfriend’s life at that time. That he wanted to die. He didn’t know how to kill himself and they were asking me to do it. So that’s how I ended up in DJJ. I actually shot my mother’s boyfriend and he did pass away. It’s not one of the most heroic stories of my life, but it’s definitely a real story of my life. But that’s how I ended up incarcerated.
Rachel Star Withers: And how old were you when that happened?
LLoyd Hale: When that happened, I was a fresh 16, I turned 16 in June of 1996. This was July of 1996.
Rachel Star Withers: And was there any talk at that time, like when you were first arrested about you having a mental disorder?
LLoyd Hale: No, there wasn’t anything talk about then. While all of this is going on for like this nine month period in my life before my arrest, I’m having these radical conversations with who I think is God and these radical conversations with who I think is the devil. I begin to piece together this idea that my mother is the devil and this is real. I really believe that. So I asked her a few days later, I said, is this really who you are? And she’s like, No, Lloyd, why would you ask me something like that? No. There was a little talk about, Lloyd, we got to find you some help or something like that for you to ask me a question like that. We’ve got to find you some help. But that was as far as it went at that point, just the talk of seeking some help.
Rachel Star Withers: When you were arrested, was the correctional system, did any of them think that you had a mental disorder? Were you evaluated? Was that brought up?
LLoyd Hale: No, initially, I would say maybe the first seven months, it was just detention and asking me if I want to plead guilty or not. And then I was sent to the state hospital for evaluation. I stayed there for seven days for evaluation. And that’s when I got the diagnosis of schizophrenia.
Rachel Star Withers: When you would have a psychotic episode, what was the response by the staff, the guards and all that? How do they respond?
LLoyd Hale: So I can pinpoint one very real experience. I turned 16 in June. I was incarcerated in July, the next year of June, I turned 17. And when you turn 17, you can no longer be housed with the juveniles. You have to be housed with the adults. They sent me to the county jail, which was Georgetown County Jail. I’ve already been diagnosed. I’ve been prescribed medications the whole nine yards. So everything is on the table and I gotten into trouble for a fight. I got into a fight, was sent to the lockup for seven days. And after that seven days I came back to population and I just knew something was wrong. Something was happening. Something was changing inside of me. I pulled the sergeant that was on shift to the side and I said, Sarge, I don’t know what’s going on with me right now, but I think I need to be by myself right now. I don’t think I need to be around all of these people right now. So she’s like, you know, Hale, I’m putting you back in that same cell you came from I’m tired of dealing with your nonsense. And now seclusion was twenty three hours a day in lockup. You had an hour out a day in shackles and handcuffs to clean your room, make a phone call and take a shower in shackles and handcuffs, so that’s where I was sent back to. So that was kind of how it was dealt with. You misbehave, you go to lockup period. Like it was just there was no in between with that.
Rachel Star Withers: So how did being put in seclusion, how did that affect your schizophrenia?
LLoyd Hale: I think it exaggerated it, it gave it a microphone. So it’s louder now. Now in lockup, you have 23 hours a day in lockup. And for the most part, it’s quiet in there for the most part. And the doors are electronic. And when the door is unlocked, it makes loud popping sound. I mean, I’m talking that loud, almost as loud as if you were to maybe slam a door inside of a hollow building. It’s kind of loud right? Now, I’m dealing with my symptoms. And it was things like that that exaggerated the symptoms like a loud popping of the door. When you would flush the toilet in the room, had this loud sucking, flushing sound. Then you had sometimes the inmates that were also in seclusion that were angry they would start kicking their doors. All of this is going on on top of me, inside of my cell, punching on the walls and, you know, going through what I’m going through with my illness. So it was, it was rough. Seclusion was rough.
Rachel Star Withers: What, in your opinion, are the biggest obstacles for those in the correctional system who have schizophrenia?
LLoyd Hale: Well, one is finding the help that’s going to believe you. I’ll go back to juvie where there are 31 other young fellows in there with me on this dorm. And out of that thirty one, about twenty five are all saying everything that I did was because of a mental illness. There’s a huge majority that are all saying, I’m crazy, I need help. This is what everyone is saying in there. So it’s kind of hard to find the help that’s going to believe you because everyone is saying the same thing. When you get into that correctional system, it’s kind of like, Ah, save it for the judge, don’t want to hear it, there’s nothing wrong with you, nothing was wrong with you when you committed the crime. You know, that’s kind of the tone taken for anyone who is experiencing anything. So the biggest obstacle is finding the help that’s going to believe you, in my opinion. I had a physician, while I’m actively experiencing my symptoms, I’m sitting at his desk and I’m shaking. What I’m dealing with, this is so present in my life that I’m shaking and I’m trying to explain it to him the best I can. And he looks at me and he says to me, I think you’re putting on a show. It was kind of devastating. Because it’s like, man, you know, I’m finally at a place where I’m accepting that something might be wrong with me and I’m shot down as soon as I say it. So I would say for me, that was the hardest part, is I’m not asking for any sympathy. I’m just asking for some help at this point. I can’t do this by myself. Having a support system there is probably the biggest for me.
Rachel Star Withers: What would you say to someone who is in that situation right now, someone who is, you know, whether it’s in juvie or jail or prison? And what do you suggest they do? How can they, like, find someone like that?
LLoyd Hale: Well, you know, I believe that our supporters are all around us and sometimes we just can’t see them because of what we may be focusing on. For myself, every now and again, I had a correctional officer would come to my door and she would say, you know, there’s help for what you’re going through. You don’t have to go through this by yourself. And then you have my father, who was also incarcerated at the time. He would write me letters. And in his letters, he would say things like, you don’t have to wait for other people to ask you questions. You can ask yourself some questions and you can give yourself some honest answers. And the questions would be like, did you hear a voice today? What did it say? How did you respond? Are you sure no one was around you when you heard that question, that voice? People are around us all the time. And then there are some people who show lots of interest in who we are as people, just general interest of who we are as people. Those may be people that we can reach out to and say, hey, I’m having a hard time. Even if we do it on a one on one basis and on an informal basis, like the correctional officers come through and do their rounds and they do a count and it’s.
LLoyd Hale: It’s easy for someone who’s seemed like a very genuine person. It’s easy to say, hey, you know, when you finish doing your count, can we talk for a little while? I really need to talk to somebody and we’ll be surprised. This is something that I found to be true over the years. We’ll be surprised that the people who we think won’t listen but will listen if we were to have that serious conversation. So I would say just reach out to those people who are showing a genuine interest in who we are. And there’s always one or two.
Rachel Star Withers: So during this time, how did you begin to get help while you were locked up?
LLoyd Hale: It’s interesting how it happened, I was in lockup, I was in the county jail. And the thing about this entire experience is some of our paranoia is valid. Inside lockup, you have people who have gotten in fights and stuff like that. You have people who need to be under close supervision because they have presented suicidal thoughts or suicidal talk. They may be a danger to themselves or others if they go back into the population area. So there’s a mixture of different kinds of people in there and also the other people who are having symptoms with their own illness. There was a level of heightened awareness just being in seclusion. So with all of that going on in the other people experiencing this stuff, I’m too experiencing my stuff, which is voices and hearing talking to people and stuff like that.
LLoyd Hale: This one particular night I’m in this room and the rooms are positioned, five rooms on the top, five rooms on the bottom and in the room above me, I’m hearing all of this noise, this loud banging and thunderous kind of noise like two people are fighting. And the winner of the fight is saying to me, this is all happening in my brain, but the winner of the fight is saying to me now, when I’m done up here, I’m coming down to get you, so you better be ready. I’m thinking if you come down here, you’re going to have the fight of your life trying to get me. But at the same time, I’m thinking, OK, this sounds like a big guy. In this small room he might get me. So I need to get out of this room. I’m thinking if I can just punch through this glass in this door that I could somehow leave from the room out into the open area and give this person a good fight when he comes down the stairs.
LLoyd Hale: I’m punching on the door. I’m punching until both of my hands are swollen. One of them was actually bleeding. And I still have a scar on my hand to this day from this night. So I’m punching on the door, punching on the door, couldn’t get through the door, of course. So I gave up and I laid down. Woke up the next morning, though. Now, remember, we get an hour out every day in shackles and handcuffs to take a shower, clean my room, make a phone call, shackles and handcuffs. I said to myself, I want to know who was in this room threatening me last night. So shackles and handcuffs thinking and there and I’ll walk up those stairs and the room was empty. Looked like it had been empty for a while. And the only thing that was in the room was like a little small pile of trash in the middle of the floor. And I’m thinking to myself now, I know someone was in this room last night threatening me. And that was a moment for me. That was probably the biggest moment for me, where I begin to accept that I’m hearing some stuff that no one else is hearing, as my mom had already mentioned, as a correctional officer that was at this facility had already mentioned. So it was at that moment when I realized you can’t run from this anymore. What’s the next steps? What will you need to do? And that’s kind of how I came to grips with it.
Rachel Star Withers: And then what happened?
LLoyd Hale: So from there, I started taking medications regularly at that time, I was prescribed medications before this, but it wasn’t taking them as regular. I would take them when I had no other option, like when they would tell me to lift my tongue or something like that. So I started taking my medications regularly. So immediately all it was, was a lot of weight gain, a lot of weight gain and lots of sleep in the very beginning. That was kind of how my life looked for the next probably about a year, just sleeping, taking meds, I’d wake up enough to just take a shower, eat some food and go back to sleep. That was my life in the county jail. Which I’ll note that that’s very dangerous in the county jail because you’re around people who have they’re under a great amount of pressure themselves with their case and whatever they’re dealing with. So to be in population in your room, sleep all day around other people who may have violent intentions is kind of dangerous. I really want to say that. Then about a year after I begin regularly taking the medications, I was sent to the state hospital for treatment. That’s when I begin to really dive in because I started meeting people, people who were regular, everyday people, people who were college educated, people who had jobs and families and all of this stuff that I wanted. And in some cases, I had ruled out that I could ever even have. I begin to meet people in the state hospital who were going through a rough patch of a good life.
LLoyd Hale: So they had a really good life. But this was a part of their life that they had to deal with, which was their mental health conditions. So to take the meds and join in different groups, learning about the symptoms, learning about the possibilities. You’re inside the hospital. And you don’t see life outside of here at all. It’s just I’m in here. I’m looking for only a cigarette break and the next meal. That’s kind of what my life looks like for a period of time. And then there is starting to get these images and this belief even that possibly one day I’ll go back to the outside. It’s things like that that begin to happen initially that really begin to reshape my life. It was that peer support, the peer support in those groups that I was learning about the symptoms and how I can combat those symptoms, learned about the medications and how I can combat the side effects. I spent a good deal of time just giving an honest look at the possibilities, giving an honest look at the treatment, giving an honest look at the recovery, and then saying, I’m going to promise myself that I won’t take shortcuts.
Rachel Star Withers: You admit that you did a very serious crime, but also you have, you know, a very serious mental illness at the same time. How does that make you view people like should someone who has schizophrenia be placed in the prison system even if they’ve committed a crime?
LLoyd Hale: I say no. Because the level of care that that person is going to need, I think that that level of care will poke at the disciplinary system inside of any type of jail or prison. I may be responding to the symptoms of my schizophrenia, but for someone who does not heed that, it’ll look like I’m just misbehaving or I’m aggressive or I’m violent or I need to be locked down. A person with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, any type of severe and persistent mental illness should be placed in an environment where they can be treated by professionals who understand the dilemmas of dealing with a mental illness in the first place. So I definitely don’t think a person with schizophrenia, even though I respect that a crime was committed and I am deeply saddened, even in my case deeply saddened that I committed the crime. I think that even under those circumstances, there should be some sense of hospitalization or treatment based hospitalization so that a person can at least return to a well state or attempt at returning to a well state, honestly.
Rachel Star Withers: So. Lloyd, what do you have to say to a society that thinks that mental health advocates believe that people with schizophrenia deserve a free pass because of our illness?
LLoyd Hale: So I speak from my personal experiences a lot, because I feel like I really can’t go wrong by sharing my experiences. I was sentenced to treatment versus being sentenced to prison. And being sentenced to treatment, I think that that is the appropriate option for someone who is presenting symptoms of mental illness. I’m sentenced to a place where I can get care for this illness that caused an action. Right. It’s not a get out of jail free card because I couldn’t leave when I wanted to. I was still under lock and key. I was on a locked unit. There was a supervised movement. So any time that I left the dorm that I was living in, it was with another officer or a therapist. It’s not a get out of jail free card. And I was actually sentenced, I’m sentenced to the state hospital for the amount of time that I would have been sentenced had I been convicted and sent to prison, or until I become well. That’s kind of the caveat there, is that it’s not necessarily a free get out of jail pass or anything like that, the sentence is just appropriate. He is sentenced to a facility that is in some ways like a prison. But you have specialists there that can help you to rehabilitate, if that makes sense, while you are serving this time. So I’m behind the wall, incarcerated in a locked facility where there are trained professionals that can help me versus being locked in jail in a facility where there are no professionals that understand what I’m going through. That’s the difference. And that’s why I say that, a person should be sentenced to treatment instead of sentenced to prison. I realized and this is just how I carry it, is the debt to society that I have. Some of the work that I do and the work that I’ve done has been to, in my own way, repay some of the wrong that I’ve done.
Rachel Star Withers: I love that, thank you. That was a great way of putting it.
LLoyd Hale: Thanks.
Rachel Star Withers: So many people who have schizophrenia, unfortunately, they get very caught up in a cycle where they commit some sort of crime, they’re arrested, locked up, then they’re let go and then they wind up right back in the system. You have managed to avoid that. Talk to us a little bit about that, because you’ve completely changed everything in your life around.
LLoyd Hale: Right, I think more than anything, I have been scared straight. I am terrified of the symptoms of schizophrenia, and because of that fear, I have been willing to do whatever it takes to stay well. If something like taking meds is going to be the thing that keeps me well, I’m willing to take them. If side effects become unbearable, that I have a team or treatment team is willing to listen to that. If this medication isn’t working anymore, that I have a team that I can talk to about that. Taking medicine was easy for me as long as my team is on board with me being a team player in this process. Stay away from drugs and alcohol. That was easy. It was probably the ignition to my symptoms. The fear to remain well just drove me for years. And after a while I became so familiar with doing right, it just became easy. For the first eight years of being out of the hospital, I was on probation and parole, so I had to go do random drug screens and all of this stuff. But every time I would go in and I’m no longer on probation or parole, but every time I would go in, he would say, Man, we’re wasting our time with you, man. Every time you come in, you’re at the same address, same phone number, working the same job, always clean. So the stability was huge in the eyes of probation and parole as well. As for me, that’s been it. I drew a liking to doing right.
LLoyd Hale: I drew a liking to being well. And I begin to like the person that I’ve become. That person that wasn’t dropping the F bomb every time I open my mouth. And then I begin to like the person that society began to like in me. People begin to call me to do presentations and talk to kindergartners and first graders and high schoolers and people in rural areas, treatment providers. I was getting these calls. I’m like, man, I must be a pretty cool person. And it’s reversed. So just as when I was symptomatic and didn’t realize it and people would come to me and say, Hey, Lloyd, that was kind of strange what you did there. Let’s take a look at that. When I didn’t see it myself, people were saying stuff like that to me. And even in reverse, when I begin to make better decisions, people begin to notice that before I did as well. And they would say it and I begin to gain a liking for that. And it just became easy and results came in doing the right thing. So the results that I wanted, I wanted to have my own car. I’ve got a car. You know, I wanted to be independent and live on my own. I’ve been living on my own and I’ve been independent ever since. So fear started it. And then I begin to like the results. So it was easy to just continue.
Rachel Star Withers: What advice do you have for families and loved ones who are dealing with a family member who is incarcerated, who has a very serious mental illness?
LLoyd Hale: Well, I guess I’d say that that’s still your family or loved one, that’s not the illness, that’s not schizophrenia that you’re talking to when you talk to them on the phone. That’s not schizophrenia that you see when that loved one is maybe doing some things that you don’t understand. It’s still your family member. Helping them connect with the help. Is helping them connect with treatment and treatment options or therapy options is probably the way to go. And we need a team. A mother can’t do it alone or a father can’t do it alone. A grandmother can’t do it alone. We need a team. We need a team of family members to help out. We need a team of community. Even oftentimes we rely on our ministers or our own therapists for support. I think it’s important to tap into them as well as you are supporting your loved one. But just at the root of it, just remembering that that’s still your son or your daughter or your loved one that is experiencing those things and it’s OK to still love them, just as you did before the symptoms became present. I do believe that love took a huge, a huge role in my own recovery. So I would definitely advise or not advise, but I would suggest or mention the same.
Rachel Star Withers: That’s awesome. Thank you so much for talking to us today, Lloyd, for sharing your experiences with us.
LLoyd Hale: My pleasure.
Rachel Star Withers: Tell our listeners, what else do you have going on? How can they find out what you’re up to?
LLoyd Hale: In the midst of all of this, I wrote a book, the name of the book is OpenEighty, all spelled out one word so you can find me online at OpenEighty.com. If you want to send me an email with any specific questions, you can e-mail me at OpenEighty@gmail.com. I’m launching a new recovery workbook that I’ve been working on that will be launching, hopefully, fingers crossed, this summer and also a recovery CD. It won’t be much music on it. It will be lots of just thinking and words of encouragement that I found to be useful in my own recovery. So those two things are going on. And then Ride 4 SPMI is another movement that I really challenge your listeners to be a part of. Ride 4 SPMI stands for Ride for Severe and Persistent Mental Illness and it’s an annual bike ride. I hadn’t done the bike ride last year, but I plan to do it again this October.
Rachel Star Withers: Oh, nice.
LLoyd Hale: Ride 4 SPMI, it’s just a bike ride to get people talking about mental health and recovery and seeing what we can do to support our peers and our neighbors and our loved ones. So those are the things that I got going on right now. Check me out, OpenEighty.com.
Gabe Howard: Rachel, incredible interview, as always. What was your biggest takeaway? I have many thoughts, but I’m interested in yours.
Rachel Star Withers: One of the things that stood out was that when he started taking the medications and while he got better at the same time, it made him sleep a lot, which was also a dangerous situation to be in. And that made me, you know, realize like if I was in a situation, I’m in a prison and where, yeah, it’s like I’m trying to get better. But at the same time, that’s also leaving me open to being physically attacked to other problems. What’s more important, my mental or physical health?
Gabe Howard: Rachel, a big thing for me was I noticed how uncomfortable I was with his candor about his crime. It almost appeared cavalier, but it wasn’t. It was direct. It was this is what happened. And this is what needs to be done to prevent it. And I thought to myself, I’m a mental health advocate, and this is my job. And there was just still this part of me that’s like, wow, that’s, that’s just so serious. And my initial reaction was, I don’t want to hear it. I want to just stick my fingers in my ear and go, la la la la la la la. Let’s go back to the little misdemeanors. The reality is, is that these are the conversations that we need to be having. These are the discussions that we need to be having. And many people think that it just sounds nonchalant, but it’s not, it’s direct. He’s not beating around the bush. And I just took notice of my own desire to bury my head in the sand and pretend this wasn’t a problem. And that’s obviously not going to get us to a solution.
Rachel Star Withers: The reason I reached out to Lloyd was because his crime was so serious. I think a lot of the times you hear us on this show saying people with schizophrenia aren’t killers. They’re not this, they’re not that. But what I love about the way he describes what happened is he’s able to paint a picture where things make sense. The same way it’s easy for me to paint the picture of how I could trespass without doing anything actually wrong. The way he describes what was happening, it made sense. It was like, yeah, I can see the schizophrenia thought process that led to this. He points out how many red flags there were before it happened, him actually saying and telling other people and people noticing the red flags.
Gabe Howard: Rachel, in general, I think that mental health advocates do a disservice to the general society by not discussing the scary part. It’s very important to point out that it is rare. People with schizophrenia are much more likely to be victims of violent crimes than to perpetrate them. That’s not untrue, but I think, in our haste to paint people with schizophrenia in the light most favorable, we’re not discussing those red flags. And if we’re not discussing those red flags, we can’t prevent it. And if we can’t prevent it, we’re not helping people with schizophrenia or general society, and we’re certainly not going to get change. So, yeah, it was scary for me, but that’s OK. It’s a scary thing and scary is the appropriate response. But I also believe that we learned a lot from it. Rachel, what can people do right now? I don’t want to end the show on this bummer that, oh, everything’s broken. It’ll never be fixed. Gabe and Rachel have no answers. Thanks for listening. Rachel, what can people do right now?
Rachel Star Withers: Right now, to our listeners and those who have a loved one who is in the correctional system, whether we’re talking the juvenile, the jail, the prison, any kind of area like that, what you can do right now is make sure that they know you are part of their support system. One thing that we talked about that I really liked was he said that his father was writing him. His father was actually incarcerated also. So don’t think like whoever you are out there, well, you know, I might not be the best example. I might not be the best person to try and help my loved one. Anyone is. Anyone. And as he was telling us, you know, you have to find your support system wherever it is. So, loved ones, reach out, even if you’re not the best at writing, send a postcard. Let them know they’re not alone. Do your best. And again, this goes back to wherever you’re located. You have different resources that are available. But look up what resources and programs are available to your loved one at the facility they’re being held at? Because honestly, they might not know themselves, especially if they are having problems with delusions, with even following basic rules, they might not know they have access to certain mental health programs.
Rachel Star Withers: Look up what organizations are doing things in the area to help. Make sure that your loved one is aware, because sometimes, like you think, well, you’re in prison, not much going on. You should know what’s available to you. But it’s not always that simple. And certain people don’t know where to look for help. If you’re someone who is in the jail, prison systems and whatnot, do your best to find that stuff out and take it upon yourself. One of the most powerful things I think about Lloyd’s story is the fact that he got out and he didn’t go back. He made that decision of he set a goal. I want to live by myself. I want to do this. And he’s a father. He works full time in mental health now. And he started multiple organizations. Like, he made that decision all while he is still mentally ill. His schizophrenia did not go away.
Gabe Howard: He just got help and resources.
Rachel Star Withers: Yes, and he made the decision that he needed help, and when he was strong enough, he decided that he was going to start helping others. I always stress this, but so much is taking responsibility for yourself, for your schizophrenia. And you can’t always do that. When I am, like, delusional, it’s going to be pretty hard for you to tell me to take responsibility. Like Rachel, are you tracking your delusions? No, I’m in the middle of one. You know? So that’s where that support system comes in. I always ask my mother to tell me when I’m acting weird and sometimes, she doesn’t want to. She’s like, I don’t want to make you self-conscious. And I’m like, no, point that out to me because I don’t know it. My people out there who are the support system, reach out to your loved one. Let them know, like, hey, I want to check on how you were doing. I haven’t spoke to you in a while. Hey, are you still doing that program? Hey, did you look into this? Step up and be that support system. Because no matter what you are, what your background is, you can help other people. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Inside Schizophrenia, a Healthline Media podcast. Please, like, share, subscribe and rate our podcast. We’ll see you all next time here on Inside Schizophrenia.
Announcer: Inside Schizophrenia is presented by PsychCentral.com, America’s largest and longest operating independent mental health website. Your host, Rachel Star Withers, can be found online at RachelStarLive.com. Co-host Gabe Howard can be found online at gabehoward.com. For questions, or to provide feedback, please e-mail talkback@PsychCentral.com. The official website for Inside Schizophrenia is PsychCentral.com/IS. Thank you for listening, and please, share widely.