Healing the Broken Mind

Transforming America’s Failed Mental Health System

214 pages

August, 2009

ISBN: 9780814748121



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Timothy A. Kelly is Director of TAK Consult and Research Associate Professor of Psychology at the Fuller Graduate School of Psychology in Pasadena, California. He is the former Commissioner of Virginia’s Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Substance Abuse Services, and has served on the Boards of Directors for both the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors and the National Research Institute.

All books by Timothy A. Kelly

Few afflictions are as frightening or as heartbreaking as mental illness. It may be a topic that many would prefer to sweep under the rug, but it is a fact of life that we as a society can and must face. We have come a long way over the past few decades in our understanding of mental illness and its potential treatments. Yet, tragically, many across the country who struggle with serious mental illness are unable to find effective, quality medical treatment. As a federal commission on mental health concluded, the system of care is in shambles. But why? And how do we fix it?

Timothy A. Kelly, former Commissioner of Virginia’s Department of Mental Health, Retardation, and Substance Abuse, brings his three decades of experience as mental health commissioner, psychology professor, and clinician to bear in confronting this crisis in America’s mental health care system. In clear and accessible terms, he exposes the weaknesses in the current system, examining how and why one of the world’s richest and most advanced countries has allowed its most vulnerable citizens to be victimized by the very system designed to help them.

Armed with the latest statistics, a lifetime of experience, and heartrending life stories, Kelly argues that the patchwork of care traditionally employed to treat mental illness is simply not up to the task, and that what we need is profound, fundamental, and system-wide change. He then goes on to provide an easy-to-follow road map for achieving lasting transformation, centered on five recommendations for creating a truly effective mental health system of care that enables patients to achieve a lasting recovery.

Mental illness is not going to just go away, but Kelly prescribes a comprehensive plan to make treatment accessible and effective so that those who suffer can rejoin their families and their communities. He shows how a transformed system of community-based care allows those with serious mental illness to finally be able to go home.


  • "Kelly understands the mental health system with all its warts. His approach to repairing its ills is as radical as some of the major reformers of mental health treatment in history. Don’t be misled by Kelly’s insistence on data to support mental health treatment. This book is not dull. It is a refreshing, creative, consumer-friendly manifesto for the United States to treat its people who have serious mental illness with dignity."

    —Everett L. Worthington, Jr., Virginia Commonwealth University

  • "An excellent look at mental health policy and services. Kelly tells us where we are and, more importantly, where we need to be to provide quality mental health services to both served and under served populations."

    —Robert J. Resnick, Former President, American Psychological Association

  • "Healing the Broken Mind is based on Kelly’s research as well as his personal experience as Commissioner for the Virginia Department of Mental Health. It provides significant insights into the persistent problems of mental health services and identifies an excellent set of solutions that will ameliorate these problems. An important read for the general public, consumers, and policy makers."

    —Len Bickman, Psychiatry and Public Policy, Vanderbilt University

  • "A thoughtful introduction to a subject that’s often shunted aside in the health care reform debate. "