Robert L. Okin, MD

Robert L. Okin, MD, served as chief of psychiatry at San Francisco General Hospital and professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, for 17 years. He is also a former state commissioner of mental health for Vermont and Massachusetts. He is author of "SILENT VOICES: People with Mental Disorders on the Street." The book offers a glimpse of the dark pasts—marked by abuse, violation, tragedies, crime, drugs, and addiction—and everyday challenges of homeless men and women suffering from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other serious mental disabilities. As part of his career devoted to the mentally disabled, Dr. Robert Okin decided to use a powerful artistic medium to advocate for these people. In "SILENT VOICES", Dr. Okin invites all of us to get to know the people society treats like pariahs, people who, beneath their symptoms and rags, struggle with feelings and needs similar to those of the rest of us. He shares the striking and evocative photographs and stories—most often, in their own words—of more than 40 mentally ill people he met on the streets of San Francisco. “I wrote this book,” Dr. Okin reflects, “to contribute to making these people known as human beings.”