The Girl Who Cried “Wolf!” is a book about a woman who traveled a long road from being an emotionally abused and physically abused child, to being a mental health consumer who had mental health treatment in both inpatient and outpatient settings, and residential group home placements, and who ended up as an advocate for consumers of mental health services. These consumers needed someone to speak for them and tell society of their needs, thoughts, and emotions while navigating the mental health system. Nancy stepped forward and was determined to be a voice for herself and the other consumers.
This book tells the story, from Nancy Jensen’s perspective, of her life and the events that led up to her becoming an advocate for those with mental health issues. She describes her childhood and the influences of religion, abuse, family, school, and medical problems which shaped her as an adult.
Nancy had a speech impediment that affected her self-esteem, and her mother struggled with accepting her as she was. She was emotionally and sexually abused in her family as a child. Nancy suffered with severe depression which followed her most of her life.
Nancy moved into a communal house in Newton, Ks. after she found a job and left home. She moved back and forth between Kansas and Colorado many times, had multiple jobs, had problems in relationships, and then decided to live at the Kaufman House in Newton, Ks. The Director of the treatment facility was Arlan Kaufman, a Clinical Social Worker. Linda Kaufman, an R.N., worked with him. It was a residential facility for people who had mental health issues. Nancy said she experienced abuse there. She later stepped forward and told others what had happened, but no one did anything. She ended up hospitalized. She felt no one was listening to her. The book goes on to describe more hospitalizations, multiple marriages, having a child, and her continuing struggle with depression.
Many years later, she heard Arlan Kaufman and his wife, Linda, had been arrested for fraud, enslaving residents, and other types of abuse at the Kaufman House. There was a court trial at which Nancy gave testimony. The Kaufman’s were convicted and sent to prison.
Nancy went on with her life, and became involved in helping legislation get passed in Kansas that would require Social and Rehabilitation Services to report complaints of abuse, or exploitation. If problems arose, an oversight office would follow through with it. Nancy became a Certified Peer Specialist, and she worked at the Center for Community Support and Research at Wichita State University. She collaborated with Nathan Swink, Ph.D. in Community Psychology, who helped her write her story.
This is a book which shows how depression can affect an individual’s life, but it also shows what hard work, appropriate treatment, determination, and good support systems can achieve in helping mental health consumers meet goals in life and become productive members in society. All it takes is one person reaching out to help another.
————————————————————————————————— Jensen, Nancy; and Swink, Ph.D., Nathan P. 2013. The Girl Who Cried “Wolf!” Middletown, DE. Made in the USA.