A Guy, His Brother, and the Broken Mental Health System

February 19, 2009

My neighbor and friend Jacob Lambert wrote a powerful piece for Philadelphia Weekly recently about his brother David, who has been diagnosed with acute bipolar disorder:

I was at home in Bella Vista when he called. Last I’d heard he’d “eloped” from the hospital and was wandering his old East Village haunts. This was nothing new; many times over the years, his ward status had been upgraded, giving him a bit of freedom – and he’d simply walk off, winding up in Manhattan, then Bellevue, then back at the hospital he’d started from.

Today, though, he wasn’t calling from a pay phone on Bleecker Street. He was on a cell phone at Seventh and Pine, saying he was browsing apartments, was owed $100,000 and would be buying me a new Mercedes. He sounded as bad as ever, and the call ended when he set down the phone to talk to a stranger.

Incidentally, Jacob also runs the hilarious Philly Turkey, a must read for Philly natives.

created The Millions and is its publisher. He and his family live in New Jersey.

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