A kidnapper holds a psychiatrist and a cardiologist hostage. He pledges to release the one who has done most for humanity — and shoot the other. The cardiologist explains that drugs and procedures in her field have saved millions of lives. The psychiatrist begins ruminatively: “The thing is … the brain is the most complicated organ in the body.” “I can’t listen to this again,” says the cardiologist. “Shoot me now.”
This is one of the jokes that Thomas Insel, former head of the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), scatters through early chapters of Healing, his probing analysis of what has gone so wrong with the treatment of people with mental illness in the United States.
Another telling quote
US prisons hold ten times as many people with severe mental illness as do state psychiatric hospitals.