mental health

Can Mental Illness Be Prevented In The Womb?

Oct 22, 2016

Every day in the United States, millions of expectant mothers take a prenatal vitamin on the advice of their doctor.

The counsel typically comes with physical health in mind: folic acid to help avoid fetal spinal cord problems; iodine to spur healthy brain development; calcium to be bound like molecular Legos into diminutive baby bones.

Kathy Plonka - / Tacoma News Tribune

Bill Radke speaks with Tacoma News Tribune columnist Matt Driscoll about the sad story of Tacoma kindergarten teacher Klara Bowman, who became infamous as 'Drunk Teacher.' 

Jennifer Henderson, a Seattle mental health counselor whose grandfather was killed by police outside of Ferguson in 1925. Trauma can be passed down through generations, she says.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

In downtown Seattle, therapist Robert Gant heard from a father who felt hopeless.

The man had told his sons, ages 12 and 9, that they should obey police. “Whatever, Dad,” the boys said. “They’ll still shoot you.”

Seattle Police Officer Louis Chan partners with Mariah Andrignis, a social worker from DESC who contracts with SPD to help with crisis response.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

It’s 11 in the morning. Officer Louis Chan is scanning through the 911 calls that have come through, waiting to be handled. 

One call stands out: A patient with a history of attempted suicide didn’t show up for an appointment. The case manager was concerned and called 911.

Nearly 1 in 5 children each year suffers a psychiatric illness, according to research estimates. But a national shortage of medical specialists and inpatient facilities means that many still go untreated — despite national efforts to improve mental health care.

My mom's mental illness told through photos

Oct 14, 2016
From the ongoing photography project, You Have Nothing to Worry About. Title: Mom's new makeup, 2014.
Melissa Spitz

Since 2009, I have been making photographs of my mentally ill, substance-abusing mother. Her diagnoses change frequently – from alcoholism to dissociative identity disorder – and my relationship with her has been fraught with animosity for as long as I can remember.

James Balcerak was 23. He had autism and seemed to have lost hope of achieving the life he wanted.

In an argument, he made it clear he was thinking of suicide.

Afraid of clowns? There's a word for that

Oct 5, 2016
Flickr Photo/Stefan Powell (CC BY 2.0)/

The creepy clowns story has finally made it to Seattle.

This week a clown was seen walking around Green Lake at dusk. People described it as covered in blood with a choking device around its neck. Seattle Schools sent a warning to parents yesterday to keep an eye out.

Washington’s troubled Western State Hospital has been plagued by ineffective management, staff reductions and turnover. That’s according to a “root cause analysis” report released Thursday.

There's growing evidence that a physical injury to the brain can make people susceptible to post-traumatic stress disorder.

About one in five children in the United States shows signs of a mental health disorder — anything from ADHD to eating disorders to suicide.

And yet, as we've been reporting this month, many schools aren't prepared to work with these students. Often, there's been too little training in recognizing the problems, the staff who are trained are overworked, and there just isn't enough money.

Sam struggled with depression in middle school.
KUOW Photo/Natalie Newcomb

Sam, 17, has a bright smile and is always making  her friends laugh.

But in seventh grade, Sam struggled. She was trying to figure out her role in the social ladder, and her parents were fighting, and she was feeling extremely sad.

Former CEO of Washington’s Western State Hospital Ron Adler was publicly fired as head of the troubled state psychiatric hospital by Gov Jay Inslee earlier this year after the escape and recapture of two high-risk patients. But Adler continued working for the state.

The main entrance of Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Wash.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Washington's largest psychiatric hospital has operated without national accreditation since June. It became clear Monday, though, that Western State Hospital did not notify staff, job applicants or the public.

Vincent Van Gogh's paintings might not make it obvious that he was an artist troubled with depression and mania. But a computer algorithm might be able to figure that out. Computer programs are getting pretty good at discovering health information by studying heaps of social media data.

A computer script analyzed galleries of photos posted to Instagram and accurately predicted if the users had depression, according to a study posted this month to the public online repository