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mental health

FILE: University of Washington Medical Center
Flickr Photo/I-5 Design & Manufacture (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/8NiGU6

The University of Washington Medical Center says it will build a new facility to replace an aging inpatient psychiatric unit that’s slated for closure.

At the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, inmates with mental illness are locked down in their cells for up to 16 hours a day, even if they pose little risk. That’s one of the allegations in a lawsuit Disability Rights Washington plans to file in federal court in Spokane on Monday.

UW's Medical Center operates a psychiatric unit with 10 beds.
KUOW Photo/Angela Nhi Nguyen

One of Seattle's psychiatric facilities is facing an uncertain future. The University of Washington Medical Center could shutter its psych unit, unless it makes "costly" upgrades.


The Washington legislature passed a measure banning conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth in the 2018 legislative session.
Flickr photo/sea turtle (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The entire U.S. West Coast now prohibits counselors from using conversion therapy on minors.

On Wednesday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill into law that prohibits licensed therapists from using conversation therapy with youth under age 18. Inslee, a Democrat, was surrounded by kids and LGBTQ rights advocates when he signed the bill.


As the nation's dairy farmers struggle through their fourth year of depressed milk prices, concerns are rising that many are becoming depressed themselves. The outlook for the next year is so bleak, it's heightening worries — especially in the Northeast — about farmer suicides.

Agri-Mark Inc., a dairy cooperative with about 1,000 members, saw three farmers take their own lives in the past three years. The most recent was last month. It's a very small sample, but very sharp and disturbing increase.

Students walk in front of Gerberding Hall on Thursday, November 16, 2017, on the University of Washington campus in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Kim Malcolm talks with University of Washington associate professor Jennifer Stuber about suicide prevention on college campuses. Last week, the Washington state Senate passed a bill that would fund suicide prevention programs at colleges across the state.

Stuber is faculty director for Forefront Suicide Prevention at the UW.

Terese Marie Mailhot started her new memoir, Heart Berries, while she was in a mental institution, where she had committed herself after a breakdown. The pages bleed with the pain of mental illness, lost love and her family history on an Indian reservation in British Columbia.

It's a collection of essays filled with what she called "heavy material": experiences of poverty, addiction and abuse. But she also says she's finding joy in cultivating art. She spoke with me about her work and her life from Spokane, Wash.

More Religious Leaders Challenge Silence, Isolation Surrounding Suicide

Feb 11, 2018

The Rev. Talitha Arnold was just 2 years old when her father, a World War II veteran, took his own life.

"You just didn't talk about those things back then. We didn't even talk about suicide when I was in the seminary," says Arnold, who leads the United Church of Santa Fe in New Mexico.

Then, when the wife of one of her divinity school professors killed herself and no one muttered a word about it during the service, Arnold says she was appalled. "I was sitting there thinking, 'This was nuts. Why can't you name it?' " That was almost 40 years ago.

About 5 percent of people in the U.S. suffer from seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression brought on by the dark days of winter. Many more may experience a mild form of the disorder.

Casey Martin / KUOW

What kind of medical care would you want if you had Alzheimer's -- or dementia?

That's an uncomfortable question -- but you might be better off answering it now before dementia comes on.

Statue in the Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno in Genoa, Italy.
Flickr Photo/Alexander Edward (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/atrV5j

Matt Calkins was in junior high when he first started feeling intense social anxiety.

"I remember I would go on high school debate trips and I wouldn't say a word for like three days until I was actually debating," he said, speaking with Bill Radke on KUOW's The Record.

Condolences are pouring in for Washington State University quarterback Tyler Hilinski . He was found dead in Pullman Tuesday of an apparent suicide.

If the Space Needle can make it through winter, hopefully we can too.
Flickr Photo/Great Beyond (CC BY 2.0)/flic.kr/p/5G8RJ7

The winter solstice was this morning at 8:28 a.m. – if you’re reading this, you’re through the darkest point of the year. But we know it may not feel like it. What to do to beat the winter blues in Seattle? Host Marcie Sillman spoke to some experts to help us answer that question.

Flickr Photo/Andrew Malone (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/4unt5o

Every healthcare worker in Washington is required to undergo suicide prevention training. That includes nurses, dentists and even chiropractors. Now, University of Washington researchers have developed an interactive, online training program called All Patients Safe.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is often associated with combat, but trauma comes in many forms.

Devin Kelley, the man we now know killed more than two dozen people at a Texas church on Sunday, escaped a mental health facility before the Air Force could try him on charges that he beat his wife and baby stepson back in 2012.

And President Trump, like many people before him, is pointing to mental health — not guns — as the cause of the church massacre.

Joel’s Law allows families in Washington state to petition a court to involuntarily commit a mentally ill loved one. In Pierce County, home to Tacoma, nearly 100 percent of petitions are granted, but in Seattle’s King County, most are rejected.

People who have obsessive-compulsive disorder can get trapped inside a thought. It repeats itself, like a stuck song. Did I lock the door? Is that doorknob clean enough to touch? I better wash my hands again — and again.

The biology underpinning this loop remains murky to scientists, but scientists are beginning to sniff out potential genetic factors behind OCD and shed light on how the disorder affects the brain.

In the living room of her Olympia home, Crystal opens up a large file box that contains her son’s life history.

“As a mom you keep those shot records and those test scores in their little file even if they’re in their 20s,” said Crystal, whose last name we’re not using to protect her son's identity.

But this plastic box has something else: a detailed record of her son’s battle with addiction and mental illness beginning when he was 12.

On a recent Wednesday morning, Denise Vermillion stood outside the Thurston County Courthouse and expressed the frustration that had been building inside her for days.

Efforts to turnaround Washington’s troubled Western State Hospital are taking longer than expected. The federal government this week granted yet another extension to give the state’s largest mental hospital more time to fix systemic problems.

Teens and children struggling with anxiety are often prescribed medication or therapy to treat their symptoms. For many, either drugs or therapy is enough, but some young people can't find respite from anxious thoughts. For them, a study suggests that using both treatments at once can help.

Josh Hanagarne is a dad, a librarian and an author. He also has an extreme form of Tourette's syndrome. But he doesn't let it and his tics — his involuntary movements and sounds — stop him from living his life. He says he actually chose to work in a library because it was the quietest place he knew of.

Josh first started showing symptoms of Tourette's syndrome when he was in elementary school, about the same age that his son Max is now.

Charleena Lyles' father, Charles Lyles, with his wife and attorneys
KUOW Photo/Kate Walters

The family of Charleena Lyles has filed a legal claim against the city of Seattle. Lyles, an African American mother of four, was fatally shot by police in June.

This claim is the first step toward bringing a civil rights wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the Seattle Police Department.

The author around the time that she was first assaulted. Tara Weaver
Courtesy of Tara Austen Weaver

Editor's note: Tara Weaver posted this essay on her personal Facebook page after the second presidential debate, when Donald Trump said that his talk of sexual assault was merely locker room banter. More than 4,400 people shared this story, and hundreds commented with their own devastating stories in the comments.

Illustration by Drew Christie

Bill Radke speaks with Katherine Switz, founder and executive director of The Stability Network. The nonprofit includes professionals who give talks and workplace presentations about their own mental health diagnoses and the stigma surrounding taking a day off work for mental health. 

Kendra Roberson, lecturer at the University of Washington School of Social Work.
KUOW photo/Megan Farmer

When 30-year-old Charleena Lyles was shot and killed by Seattle Police, her death became part of a legacy of trauma absorbed by the black community. Brain scientists are only now researching impacts this kind of violence has on the psyche of African-Americans and their involvement in the criminal justice system.  

Kendra Roberson, a lecturer at the University of Washington School of Social Work, provides therapy services for black school-age girls. She told reporter Patricia Murphy that young people experiencing long-term trauma can begin to believe that bad things will happen to them.

Officer John Hill and Ryan Miles, a designated mental health professional with the Tacoma Police Department.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Could Charleena Lyles still be alive today if police had not gone to her apartment alone? 

In Tacoma, an officer can call for help dealing with someone who might be mentally ill. They can call a mental health co-responder. And now, this co-responder program might go statewide.

KUOW’s Bill Radke speaks with Tacoma Patrol Officer John Hill and a mental health co-responder who works with officers – Ryan Miles.

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