Please sign up to learn when audio and electronic formats of the book become available, and to get informed of events.


With Testimonials From ...

  • Robert F. Brown, J.D., Attorney, pursuing the insanity defense in criminal cases; Attorney, representing patients and hospitals - civil commitment hearings on inpatient units; Mobile Psychiatric Emergency Clinician (per-diem), Massachusetts
  • William Chanis, Sergeant, Crisis Intervention Team, Worcester Police Department, Massachusetts 
  • Donald P. Desorcy, Chief, Millbury Police Department, Massachusetts
  • Pete Earley, Author, Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness (2007 Pulitzer Prize Finalist); 2008 American Psychiatric Association Award for Patient Advocacy   
  • Jeanne Allen Gore, parent of a young man who suffers from schizoaffective disorder, Coordinator and Co-Chair, Steering Committee, National Shattering Silence Coalition  
  • Michael B. Knable, D.O., Medical Director, Clearview Communities; Executive Director, Sylvan C. Herman Foundation; Psychiatric Advisory Board Chair, Treatment Advocacy Center
  • Mark K. Leahy, Executive Director, Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association; Chief, Northborough Police Department, Massachusetts (retired)  
  • Jonathan Lieff, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine; former President, American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry; Distinguished Life Fellow, American Psychiatric Association 
  • Tim Murphy, Ph.D., Psychologist; Member of Congress - U.S. House of Representatives (retired) (drafted the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act); Author, Overcoming Passive-Aggression: How to Stop Hidden Anger from Spoiling Your Relationships, Career and Happiness; Author, The Angry Child: Regaining Control When Your Child is Out of Control 
  • Ronald W. Pies, M.D., Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, State University of New York - Upstate Medical University; Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine; Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, Psychiatric Times
  • Dominic Sisti, Ph.D., Director, Scattergood Program for Applied Ethics of Behavioral Health Care, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania; Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Philosophy, Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania  
  • John Snook, J.D., Executive Director, Treatment Advocacy Center 
  • E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., Founder, Treatment Advocacy Center; Associate Director of Research, Stanley Medical Research Institute; Author, American Psychosis: How the Federal Government Destroyed the Mental Illness Treatment System; Author, The Insanity Offense: How America's Failure to Treat the Seriously Mentally Ill Endangers Its Citizens; Author, Surviving Schizophrenia: A Manual for Families, Consumers and Providers 
  • Darold A. Treffert, M.D., Research Director, Treffert Center, Agnesian HealthCare; Award recipient, Lifetime Achievement, Envision Greater Fond du Lac; Award recipient, 2017 Badger of the Year, Wisconsin Alumni Association, University of Wisconsin; Award recipient, 2006 Torrey Advocacy Commendation, Treatment Advocacy Center; Director, Winnebago Mental Health Institute (retired); Executive Director of inpatient and outpatient services, Fond du Lac County Mental Health Center (retired); Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin – Madison (retired); Member, Fellow, and former Officer, American Association of Psychiatric Administrators, American Psychiatric Association, and American College of Psychiatrists  
  • Mary T. Zdanowicz, J.D., Attorney, specializing in advocacy for the seriously mentally ill population; former Executive Director, Treatment Advocacy Center  


A Street Social Worker Tells What It's Really Like, by Pete Earley:

A Clinician's Snapshot of a Revolving Door, by the Treatment Advocacy Center:

Seeking Inpatient Treatment? The Mentally Ill Need Not Apply, by the Treatment Advocacy Center:

One Source. One Organ., by the Treatment Advocacy Center:

Illustration by Ivan Potter-Smith

About the Author

Lynn Nanos is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in her eleventh year as a full-time mobile psychiatric emergency clinician in Massachusetts. After graduating from Columbia University with a Master of Science in Social Work, she worked as an inpatient psychiatric social worker for approximately seven years. Nanos is an active member of the National Shattering Silence Coalition that advocates for the seriously mentally ill population. Nanos can be contacted either here or by email,  


When hospitals release seriously mentally ill patients too soon without outpatient follow-up, the patients can end up homeless, jailed, harming others, or even dead. When patients are deemed suitable for inpatient care, they can languish for weeks in hospital emergency departments before placements become available. Meanwhile, patients who fake the need for care are smoothly and swiftly moved to inpatient settings. Breakdown opens a dialogue with anyone interested in improving the system of care for the seriously mentally ill population. This book helps to answer questions such as:

  • Is inpatient care too inaccessible to those who need it most? 
  • Do mental health professionals discriminate against mentally ill patients?
  • Are more stringent measures needed to ensure that patients take their medication? 
  • Is borderline personality disorder too serious to be classified as just a personality disorder? 

Using vignettes based on real interactions with patients, their families, police officers, and other mental health providers, Lynn Nanos shares her passion for helping this population. With more than twenty years of professional experience in the mental health field, her deep interest in helping people who don’t know how to request help is evident to readers. 

  • A woman travels from Maine to Massachusetts because she was ordered by her voice, a spirit called "Crystal," to make the trip.
  • A foul-smelling and oddly dressed man strolls barefooted into the office, unable to stop talking.
  • A man delivers insects to his neighbors' homes to minimize the effects of poisonous toxins that he says exist in their homes.

Breakdown uses objective and dramatic accounts from the psychiatric trenches to appeal for simple and common-sense solutions to reform our dysfunctional system. This book will benefit anyone interested in seeing a glimpse of the broken mental health system way beyond the classroom. It can guide legislative officials, family members, mental health professionals, and law enforcement officers toward a better understanding of the system. 

My Blog


Advocates' Books and Blogs

Contact Author

Breakdown: Emergency Psychiatry

Click here to Compose a Message for Author