Dear Sooner Than Tomorrow Readers and Writers:

I’m taking a break from my blog for the next 3 or 4 weeks. I must execute my mother’s small estate, attend to a celebration of her life, and reflect on her life and passing. I’ll also be speaking about Sooner Than Tomorrow at the NAMI Kentucky State Conference. I’m leaving you with some of the reviews readers have written on my Amazon book page. Thank you so much for these comments and recommendations. Reviews are among the best tools in a writer’s toolbox to garner more readers. I appreciate them more than you know.

Away from my blog but always thinking of you. You’re the most dedicated and courageous people on the planet. Have a good month.

P.S. If you’d like a copy of Grassroots 2020: A 5-Part Plan to Address Serious Mental Illness (SMI) to send to 2020 presidential candidates, and to local and state influencers, send me your email and I’ll forward the documents to you. You can also read the plan here in the archives on the right hand side: August 6, 2019, “Please Forward to Those in Your Sphere of Influence.” dede@soonerthantomorrow.com


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kayababy 5.0 out of 5 stars
Thank you for putting your experiences, into words
For so many of us, who have a child with these issues, our experiences have been similar, and we struggle to put them into words. I must say, this diary has been at times the "oh my God, I know exactly what she means" and a flood of tears, while other times a familiar feeling of smiles and happiness from that same place of recognition; it just helps to read it. I am so happy to have this book. It has a sort of sacredness about its story, especially with all of Pat's inputs, so that we get to hear from him, getting to know who he is as well through this excellent book his mother wrote. Thank you again Dede.

Christy B 5.0 out of 5 stars
Well written — heart felt — easy read — honest chronicle of a life ended too soon.
I don't know if "enjoyed" is the right word — very touched by this book. The writing is superb — the chapters short — easy to put down and pick up again. I was engrossed by the family dynamics — daughter, grandmother, mother, sister. The entries about the grandkids are delicious. Pat comes across as a highly intelligent, musically talented, funny guy. Loved his FB posts. A must read. Highly recommend.

Erin Eisner 5.0 out of 5 stars
So many reasons to read this great book!
I found this book interesting and important in so many ways! The author writes with an amazing sense of humor and compassionate insight about every thing from her 101 year old mom and grand-kids, to the ants invading her home. She brilliantly weaves in her late son’s poetry and Facebook posts, which gives true timely context, and reveals how she interpreted both monumental and mundane events she encountered in the year before her beloved son would unexpectedly and mysteriously pass away. While gut-wrenchingly tragic in the end, it has so many uplifting moments I found myself deeply engaged and inspired to learn more about many things. It made me want to read. It made me want to write. It made me want to live. It made me want to hold my two young babies a little tighter and pray they will be spared from mental illness, and if not that I will have the same patience, love and resolve the author had in doing all she could in a climate that makes nothing in this realm easy. To the author—thank you for sharing with the world your beautiful stories about your family and life in general, and thank you for your fight and efforts to improve mental health conditions and policies in this country, and for giving support to other families going through their own mental health challenges. I hope you have and will continue to write more not only for your own peace, but because your words and stories must continue to be shared and heard. You don’t have to have a close family member with mental illness to benefit and appreciate this book— if you are a human on this planet who can read English I highly recommend you read Sooner Than Tomorrow because it has much in it for everyone to ponder.

Paula Quertermous 5.0 out of 5 stars
Dede Ranahan shares a glimpse families endure while trying to get mental health help in time
This book has moved me deeply. Dede Ranahan captures the slippery chasm family members with serious mental illness try to navigate to have some quality of life — and in spite of lack of enough good services. Dede, your writing mesmerized me!! I can relate so much as the mother of an adult daughter with SMI. Every day can contain an element giving you a surge of motherly hope — or a crushing incident that spikes to fear for your child. The exhaustion from living in long term doubt requires support. This book is a gem of information!

L. Turley 5.0 out of 5 stars
I highly recommend this book.
I read books these days in short spurts, often just a few pages at a time, especially when the material hits me in a way that I need to stop and process before continuing. This book is like that for me. It is both a daily journal of everyday events and yet, within those events there is a deep, insightful look at a life that is shared with us for a purpose. I had been waiting until I finished this book to write a review, but it may take me awhile to finish, as I sit and savor these snapshots glimpses into the lives of the individuals within. Dede shares her life and her innermost thoughts in a down-to-earth way as she allows us to walk with her through the journey of her son's mental illness, and reminds us that we are not alone, but we walk together. For those who share this journey and share her prayer for change to come "Sooner Than Tomorrow” and for those who are fortunate enough not to share the journey, but who wish to understand, I highly recommend this book.


My 101 year-old mother, Evelyn or GG, is in the hospital and that’s where I’ve been every day for a week. My family and I don’t want her to be alone when she passes. She doesn’t want to go :-( She’s always been a fighter (stubborn might be another word :-) We don’t want her to leave either, but her quality of life is deteriorating quickly. Please hold good thoughts for her.

My mother, Evelyn, and me 1945. I love you, Mom. It’s okay to go. Pat’s waiting for you. He wants to give you a hug.

My mother, Evelyn, and me 1945. I love you, Mom. It’s okay to go. Pat’s waiting for you. He wants to give you a hug.


I’m reposting Pete Earley’s blog with his permission.

(8-8-19) I felt compelled to interrupt my vacation and write an Op Ed for The Washington Post about President Trump’s recent comments about mental illness and mass homicides.

No, Mr. President. Hate is not a mental illness.

Pete Earley is the parent designate on the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee, created by Congress. He is the author of “Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness.”

“Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger, not the gun,” President Trump announced when he condemned shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, which together left at least 31 people dead and dozens wounded.

Mr. President, what you said about hatred rings true. But you are wrong in blaming mental illness.

As the father of an adult son with a mental illness and one of 14  nongovernment experts appointed by your administration to a panel that advises Congress about serious mental illnesses, I’d like to recount some well-established facts.

It’s easy for the public to assume that anyone who commits mass murder is mentally ill. How could he or she not be? And several shooters in recent high-profile mass killings have had a serious mental disorder.

But your implication that the 46 million American adults estimated to have a diagnosable mental illness and the 11.2 million thought to have a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, are dangerous and potentially mass murderers is as wrongheaded as declaring that the 329 million Americans who are white are capable of committing mass homicide. After all, being white is one of the most common traits of a mass shooter. Data from Mother Jones shows that between 1982 and 2017, 54 percent of mass shooters were white men. Research also shows that many of them struggle with a sense of entitlement attached to their white, heterosexual identity as well as economic anxiety in the post-industrial economy.

Other research, meanwhile, highlights that a very small portion of all gun-related homicides in the United States involve mass killings by people with serious mental illness. In fact, only 3 percent of violent crime can be attributed to people with serious mental illness.

As Amy Barnhorst noted in Psychology Today: “Most of the time, mass shooters aren’t driven by delusions or voices in their head. They are driven by a need to wield their power over another group. They are angry at the perceived injustices that have befallen them at the hands of others — women who wouldn’t sleep with them, fellow students who didn’t appreciate their talents, minorities enjoying rights that were once only the privilege of white men like them. It’s not an altered perception of reality that drives them; it’s entitlement, insecurity, and hatred. Maybe some of them also have depression, ADHD or anxiety, but that is not why they opened fire on a group of strangers.” This dovetails with profiles of such shooters as Dylann Roof, the then-21-year-old white supremacist who killed nine African Americans in a Charleston, S.C., church.

Mr. President, hate is not a mental illness. Nor is white nationalism, as acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney suggested. It is taught. It is promulgated. The FBI describes a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”

As forensic psychiatrists James L. Knoll and George D. Annas warn, “Gun restriction laws focusing on people with mental illness perpetuate the myth that mental illness leads to violence, as well as the misperception that gun violence and mental illness are strongly linked.” Hate is fueled by such myths.

They further noted that “laws intended to reduce gun violence that focus on a population representing less than 3 percent of all gun violence will be extremely low yield, ineffective, and wasteful of scarce resources. Perpetrators of mass shootings are unlikely to have a history of involuntary psychiatric hospitalization. Thus, databases intended to restrict access to guns and established by gun laws that broadly target people with mental illness will not capture this group of people.”

Mr. President, I am not a psychiatrist, nor am I an academic or a sociologist. I am a father, just as you are. I have witnessed how bias has and continues to make my son’s life difficult. I have seen how it encourages fear and prejudice against him and others who have an illness that they did not choose.

Conflating mental illnesses with mass shootings hurts people. It stigmatizes, marginalizes and creates bias. So please, Mr. President, just stop.

The post Hate Is Not A Mental Illness: I Respond in Washington Post Today To President Trump’s Words appeared first on Pete Earley.



San Diego Union Tribune 8/7/19

Coalition seeks support for new laws and policies from presidential candidates

By Gary Warth


A grassroots coalition of nationwide and local mental health advocates is asking all presidential candidates to support reforms in laws and policies that they say will make it easier for people to get treatment and for families to help their troubled loved one.

“The first thing you need to do is educate the candidates, because most people don’t understand serious mental illness,” said Poway resident Linda Mimms, a National Alliance on Mental Illness-trained advocate who helped craft a five-point platform that is being presented to candidates.

Mimms has called for reforms to mental illness laws for the past several years, arguing that parents of adults with mental problems should have more rights and courts should have more flexibility to mandate treatment.

Among the proposals in the platform are a call to create a cabinet position exclusively focused on serious mental illness and changes to laws that would ensure mental health professionals are permitted to share and receive diagnostic information with and from parents or caregivers.

Laws about mental illnesses became part of a national discussion this past week after mass shootings in Texas and Ohio. Mimms said she was encouraged when President Trump called for reforming mental health laws to better identify and even involuntarily confine people who may commit violent acts while also ensuring more patients receive early treatment.

She cringed, however, when he referred to “mentally ill monsters,” and noted that a small percent of mass shooters had been diagnosed with mental problems.

There are connections, however. A Wall Street Journal editorial this week cited studies between 2000 and 2015 that suggest a third of mass killers had untreated severe mental illness, while an FBI study found 40 percent had received a psychiatric diagnosis, and 70 percent had other mental health issues.

The platform was drafted after a monthlong online discussion among about 70 people who were not associated with any one group and were from 30 states. Mimms, who has a degree in public policy, wrote the final version that was adopted by organizer Dede Ranahan, author of “Sooner Than Tomorrow — A Mother’s Diary About Mental Illness, Family, and Everyday Life.”

Other local advocates who worked on the platform were Katherine Smith-Brooks and Bob Brooks of Carlsbad and Mary Sheldon of Poway.

The platform’s first topic calls for reclassifying serious mental illness from a behavioral condition to a neurological medical condition, which will unlock more research funding and help in insurance reimbursement, according to the advocates. It also calls for a cabinet position on serious mental illness and the inclusion of schizophrenia in a Centers for Disease Control program that collects data on risk factors of neurological conditions.

The second topic calls for reforming the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, which the platform writers said creates barriers that shut out parents and caregivers from the treatment of family members.

The third calls for the repeal of a rule that prohibits Medicaid payments to facilities with more than 16 hospital psychiatric beds for people ages 21-65, which the advocates argue has created a national shortage of treatment options.

The fourth platform topic calls for long-term care of people with severe mental illness, including early detection and follow-up treatments after release. The platform calls for federal incentives to states that address a full array of services and supportive housing care.

The final topic is about decriminalizing serious mental illness and includes reforms that can lead to more involuntary treatment, which Mimms said was her personal top priority.

“Serious mental illness is the only disease where the doors to treatment are shut unless a crime is committed,” the platforms reads. Specifically, it calls for redefining criteria for involuntary commitment with terms that are objective and based on scientific, medical needs.

A letter that will be sent to all candidates asks each to address the topics in their campaign appearances and debates, Mimms said. 


Click here to read the article in the San Diego Union Tribune 8/7/19 about our 5 part plan for SMI.

NOTE FROM DEDE: If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a country to help a child with SMI. This coalition is from across our country. Let's keep the momentum going. As Linda has done, contact your local media outlets and send them our plan. Unfortunately, our effort is manifesting in a time of wrenching, national grief. Fortunately, our plan is ready to go. If you'd like a copy of the plan, the cover letter, and an addendum of additional ideas, post your email address in the comments section below, or send it to me at dede@soonerthantomorrow.com. Then forward the documents to people in your sphere of influence. Thanks to everyone participating.


Yamileth Lopez holds a photo of her deceased friend Javier Amir Rodriguez at a makeshift memorial for victims in El Paso, Texas. (Mario Tama Getty Images)

Yamileth Lopez holds a photo of her deceased friend Javier Amir Rodriguez at a makeshift memorial for victims in El Paso, Texas. (Mario Tama Getty Images)


I believe that serious mental illness (SMI) should not be a footnote to other issues, i.e., gun violence, and that it needs to be recognized and addressed as its own issue. I'm reposting the 5 part plan developed by grassroots advocates from across the country. It's not comprehensive but it's a beginning.

Before SMI becomes the victim — responsible for gun violence — and before politicians use it more and more as a scapegoat, please join us. Send copies of this plan to local, state and federal representatives. They need to be educated. They need to step up and help 10 million SMI individuals and families who fight every day for life and death services.

Post your email in the comments section below, or send it to me at dede@soonerthantomorrow.com. I'll send you the cover letter, plan, and additional ideas so you can forward them to those within your sphere of influence.




Reclassification will unlock more research funding and help eliminate discrimination in treatment, insurance
reimbursement, and the perception of SMI as “behavioral” condition. SMI is a human rights issue. NIMH ranks
SMI among the top 15 causes of disability worldwide with an average lifespan reduction of 28 years.
* Create a cabinet position exclusively focused on SMI.
* Push for Congressional appropriations to include schizophrenia in a CDC program that collects data on the
prevalence and risk factors of neurological conditions in the US population.

Overly strict HIPAA laws make it extremely difficult for families and caregivers to partner in the treatment of their loved ones, resulting in important life-saving medical information gaps. By eliminating this barrier, family support will be strengthened, reducing the chance of relapse, homelessness, imprisonment, and death.
* Work with legislators to change HIPAA law to ensure mental health professionals are legally permitted to share and receive critical diagnostic criteria and treatment information with/from parents or caregivers of SMI.

IMD repeal will increase the availability of psychiatric inpatient beds. The IMD exclusion is not only discriminatory of those suffering from neurological brain disorders, it is also a leading cause of our national psychiatric hospital bed shortage. It prohibits Medicaid payments to states for those receiving psychiatric care in a facility with more than 16 beds who are 21-65, the age group with the most SMI.
* Work with legislators to repeal the IMD exclusion.

A continuum of care ensures that SMI patients receive early intervention at all stages of their illnesses, longterm care when needed, and follow-up treatment (medications and therapies) when they’re released. It reduces visits to jails, ER’s and hospitals, homelessness, and morgues. A continuum of care provides life-time management.
* Create federal incentives to states which are addressing a full array of inpatient, outpatient, and supportive
housing care.

People suffering from other neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia can get treatment promptly without being kicked out of their homes to wander the streets until they are arrested and put in jail or prison rather than a hospital. Serious mental illness is the only disease where the doors to treatment are shut unless a crime is committed. This is pure and simple discrimination with the disastrous results we see in our country today — homelessness, incarceration, the disintegration of families, and death.
* Work with legislators to change “must be a danger to self or others” criteria.
* Work with legislators to change involuntary commitment criteria, alleviating the subjective nature of “gravely
disabled” and redefining it in objective terms based on scientific medical need for treatment. Psychosis, like a stroke, is a traumatic brain injury and needs immediate treatment for the best outcome.