Episode 48: “Our Son Died with His Civil Liberties Intact” - and What We Did Next
One Story of Bedlam - and Activism - in America’s Mental Health Crisis
Guests: Norm Ornstein and Judy Harris
You are about to meet a couple - Norm Ornstein and Judy Harris - who tragically lost their son Matthew in 2015. Matthew had struggled with mental illness for over a decade, and , as listeners of this podcast well know - that means the entire family was affected.
After Matthew’s death, Norm and Judy (along with their son Danny), created a foundation in his name, which you’ll learn about in the second half of the podcast. Another project of theirs is the PBS documentary film, The Definition of Insanity looks at one judge’s innovative efforts in Miami to prevent people with mental illness from being treated like criminals…narrated by Norm’s longtime friend Rob Reiner.
First, we ask them about Matthews’ story, and, as you will hear, these highly successful activists still live with the feelings that all similar families face - guilt, confusion, anger, and grief. Hear their story…and how they are working to find ways of “taking a tragedy and trying to make something positive,”
The Matthew Harris Ornstein Memorial Foundation
The Definition of Insanity Documentary:
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Miriam Feldman – Artist, Mom, Author “He Came in With It”
Mindy Greiling – member of the Minnesota House of Representatives for twenty years. Activist, Legislator, Author (“Fix What You Can“)