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mental health

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Between books and movies, you probably have a general idea of what a criminal psychopath looks like.

BARBARA BRADLEY HAGERTY: Psychopaths tend to be people who show no remorse, no empathy. They're very manipulative. Often they're very charming.

Diagnosing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can be difficult. The symptoms of the disorder, as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, or DSM, have changed multiple times.

Even if you know what to look for, many of the symptoms are pretty general, including things like trouble focusing and a tendency to interrupt people. Discerning the difference between people who have a problem and those who are just distracted requires real expertise.

Impulsive children become thoughtful adults only after years of improvements to the brain's information highways, a team reports in Current Biology.

A study of nearly 900 young people ages 8 to 22 found that the ability to control impulses, stay on task and make good decisions increased steadily over that span as the brain remodeled its information pathways to become more efficient.

Courtesy of Dylan Rae Metcalfe

Growing up, Dylan Rae Metcalfe could do whatever she wanted.  

“My mom let me do all kinds of sideways shit,” she said. “Like, if I wanted to smoke pot or drink or smoke cigarettes or have sex or whatever, my mom allowed it ‘as long as it's happening in the house.’ That was awesome to me.”

Suicide rates in the U.S. are at their highest in 30 years. In 2014, the last year for which there are official government figures, nearly 43,000 Americans killed themselves. That’s nearly four times as many as were shot to death by others.

The rise in suicide comes despite intensive prevention efforts by mental health professionals, citizen-volunteers, people affected by suicide, teachers, religious leaders and others.

Could the key to prevention be identifying people about to make an attempt?

Ashley Ahearn, host of terrestrial, a new national podcast housed at KUOW in Seattle.Ashley Ahearn, host of terrestrial, a new national podcast produced out of KUOW in Seattle.
Photo by Melanie Moore

When I first heard the term eco-anxiety — a chronic fear of environmental doom — I brushed it off. It seemed like something for people who sit on yoga mats and worry about how the world is going to end because we’re not recycling enough.

Young black and Latino men are more likely than any other group to be the victims of violent crime, but American society has devoted too few resources to helping these young men heal after their violent encounters, according to researchers with New York City's Vera Institute of Justice.

Who Will Listen To The Suffering Syrians?

Mar 23, 2017

Dr. Hussam Jefee-Bahloul, a Syrian psychiatrist, writes poetry that reflects his deep longing for a lost homeland.

"Poetry and art is another way to cope," he says, "we are all grieving in our own ways. The country is no longer the one that I left and it still haunts me in my dreams." (Click here to read one of his poems.)

Outside the home of her foster sister Renee Davis, Danielle Bargala breaks down in tears while talking about how Davis' young children are living with different families. Davis, who was pregnant, was shot at her Muckleshoot reservation home last October.
Dan DeLong for KUOW

The young mom texted her boyfriend: “Come and get the girls or call 911. I’m about to shoot myself.”

Last year, gun violence shook communities in Marysville and on Whidbey Island, Washington. Some lawmakers in Olympia said it was the result of inadequate mental health resources.

Brothers Galen and Arthur Emery at KUOW.
KUOW Photo/Matt Martin

What should you do if a loved one is contemplating killing themselves? It’s a scary thought — and one most people aren’t prepared to answer.

President Trump signed a measure into law Tuesday that rescinds an Obama-era rule aimed at blocking gun sales to certain mentally ill people.

The GOP-majority Senate passed the bill by a 57-43 margin earlier this month, following a House vote to overturn the rule.

It's tough to be a teenager. Hormones kick in, peer pressures escalate and academic expectations loom large. Kids become more aware of their environment in the teen years — down the block and online. The whole mix of changes can increase stress, anxiety and the risk of depression among all teens, research has long shown.

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For a revolutionary, Deepali Vishwakarma is more quiet and reflective than you might expect. She's in her 30s, small, with a round face that holds intense brown eyes and a shy grin.

Cody Lee Miller, known internationally as #manintree, about five years ago in Roseburg, Oregon. He lived there with his grandmother.
Courtesy of Lisa Gossett

Lisa Gossett was home in Alaska when her sister called about a YouTube video.

Gossett’s son had climbed an 80-foot sequoia tree in downtown Seattle, stayed there for 25 hours and inspired an international hashtag, #manintree.

Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

Not every teacher wears a onesie, diaper and gets greeted with a song.

"Hello Baby Declan, how are you today?" sings a roomful of second-graders to 5-month-old Declan on his monthly visit to Highland Terrace Elementary in Shoreline.

On Dec. 24, 1956, when Judy Charest was 3 months old, her father went to take a shower and when he came out, Judy and her mother, Marguerite Hunt, were gone.

"She had driven to the Shelby Street Bridge, and with me in her arms, she jumped 90 feet," Judy recounts for 90-year-old Harold Hogue during a recent visit to StoryCorps in Nashville, Tenn.

Harold, who worked as an engineer with the Nashville Bridge Co. at the time, was part of a group of people who ran to the river after someone spotted her mom floating in it.

Ken Yeh thought his school was buying software to keep kids off of certain websites.

What he didn't know was that it could help identify a student who might be considering suicide.

Yeh is the technology director at a private K-12 school near Los Angeles. Three years ago, the school began buying Chromebook laptops for students to use in class and at home. That, Yeh says, raised concerns from parents about what they'd be used for, especially outside of school.

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Seattle P-I reporter Levi Pulkkinen about his story that looked into the treatment of mentally ill inmates in Washington state jails.  

It's a problem around the world: People who need mental health care don't get it.

A new kind of treatment strategy in India — delivered by nonprofessionals — offers a potential solution. And it's one that could be adopted in other countries, including the U.S.

In India, providing mental health care is a special challenge. Many people, especially in rural areas, don't understand much about mental health or mental illness.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants to make sweeping changes to the state’s mental health system. The Democrat Wednesday proposed a six-year plan to downsize the state’s two mental hospitals.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee plans to propose significant new investments in education and mental health. The Democrat will roll out his priorities for Washington’s next two-year budget at a series of events beginning Tuesday.

"I lost more than 80 percent of my university friends," recalls Jagannath Lamichhane.

After silently struggling with depression for two decades, Lamichhane published an essay in Nepal Times about his mental illness. "I could have hid my problem — like millions of people around the world," he says, but "if we hide our mental health, it may remain a problem forever."

There's a perception that children don't kill themselves, but that's just not true. A new report shows that, for the first time, suicide rates for U.S. middle school students have surpassed the rate of death by car crashes.

The suicide rate among youngsters ages 10 to 14 has been steadily rising, and doubled in the U.S. from 2007 to 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2014, 425 young people 10 to 14 years of age died by suicide.

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.”

Under new crisis intervention policies, Seattle Police Officer Louis Chan partners with Mariah Andrignis, a social worker.
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.