mental health

Government
8:40 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Mental Healthcare Professionals Decisions May Be Overruled By Patients' Family

File photo of the Washington State Capitol Building
Wikimedia

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 5:36 pm

More than 10,000 mental health patients were involuntarily hospitalized last year in Washington. But not every patient qualifies for forced hospitalization under the law.

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Mental Health
4:04 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Mental Health Advocates Push For Change Of ‘Shattered System’

A proposed law would allow people to petition a court to have family members involuntarily committed to a mental facility.
Flickr Photo/Micheal J (CC BY-NC-ND)

Steve Scher talks with mental health advocate Sandi Ando about a proposed law that would allow people to petition a court to have a family member committed against his or her will.

Ando is public policy chair for Washington's chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Mental Health
3:53 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Hypervigilance And Crowds Complicate Holidays And Life Back Home For Veterans

Flickr Photo/United States Air Forces - Iraq

Steve Scher gets tips from licensed mental health counselor and suicidologist Randi Jensen on how to help combat war veterans get through the holiday season and beyond.

Postscripts
12:14 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Living With A Loud, Busy Bar In Your Head

Jon Buckland collects sea corals. It's a hobby that keeps him busy. Watching the sea creatures relaxes him.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Medication has helped Jon Buckland’s symptoms, but the voices in his head never go away.

By his description, it’s like being in a loud, busy bar. “It’s like throwing that whole bar, and what you can’t control, into one moment inside your brain during that time that you’re still trying to hold on to conversation normally outside your head,” Buckland said.

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Myth Buster
7:32 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Why George Bailey's Suicide Attempt Is A Statistical Outlier

George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, rethinks a plan to kill himself in “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
National Telefilm Associates

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 9:38 am

Portland and Spokane have been trying to prevent people from jumping off the cities' iconic bridges. In the last few weeks, police in both cities have responded to suicides or attempted suicides.

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Mental Health
3:23 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Coming Out Of The Depression Closet

Flickr Photo/Piermario

Steve Scher sits down with psychiatrist Thomas Patamia with suggestions on how to talk about depression with your family.

Seasonal Affective Disorder
4:43 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

The Difference Between Being Sad And Having SAD

Flickr Photo/Josh Semans

Steve Scher talks with psychiatrist Dr. Tobias Dang from Group Health about Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Health Care Reform
4:28 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Insurance Coverage Of Mental Health Services Grows Under Affordable Care Act

Ross Reynolds talk with Amnon Shoenfeld, the director of King County’s Mental Health, Chemical Abuse and Dependency Services Division, about the new health care regulations for insurance companies.

Mental Health
9:33 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Mental Health In China With Michael Phillips

China is listed as a country with one of the highest rates of suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mental health services often carry a stigma, though that’s starting to change. The government recently passed the country’s first national mental health law.

Michael Phillips has lived and worked in China since 1985 at the end of the Cultural Revolution. He discussed China’s mental health landscape at the University of Washington’s Kane Hall as part of the graduate school lecture series on October 15.

Mental Health
8:00 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Assaults Are "Constant Disruption" At State Mental Hospitals

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

Violence is a “constant disruption” at the state’s two main psychiatric hospitals, according to a new report jointly commissioned by The Department of Social and Health Services and the SEIU Healthcare 1199NW union that represents much of the front-line staff at the hospitals. 

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Psychiatric Boarding
2:35 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Wash. Mental Health Advocates Pushing For Increased Funding Of Outpatient Programs

Emergency rooms in Washington often act as stop gap for those needing mental health care.
Flickr Photo/Michael J (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Washington state is facing a crisis when it comes to providing beds for psychiatric care. On a per capita basis, according to a 2009 national report, Washington ranks at the very bottom.

When beds are unavailable at psychiatric hospitals and regional mental health providers, hospital emergency rooms are often a last resort. Mental health advocates say this is a huge problem, because in some cases, mentally ill people are housed in emergency rooms for months, without access to sufficient treatment.

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Mental Health
3:24 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Psychiatric Boarding On The Rise In Washington State

Emergency rooms are the stop-gap for treating people with mental health concerns in Washington.
Flickr Photo/Michael B

Nationally, Washington state ranks dead last in providing beds for mental health treatment. As a result, people with severe mental illnesses often end up in emergency rooms where they don’t receive proper care. On average, they’re housed in emergency rooms for three days. In some cases, they wait months.

It’s a practice called “psychiatric boarding.” Mental health advocates say it’s dangerous for patients and  hospital staff. Brian Rosenthal is a staff reporter for The Seattle Times. He talked with Ross Reynolds about why psychiatric boarding has become an epidemic in our state.

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Affordable Care Act
2:01 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

The (Head) Doctor Is In: Physicals Would Include Mental Health

The US faces a shrink shortage: An estimated 62 million Americans will become eligible for mental health benefits under the Affordable Care Act, but there aren’t enough psychiatrists to treat them.

What to do?

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The Depressed Cake Shop
9:28 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Baking Away Depression

From The Depressed Cake Shop's Facebook page.

Back in August, a baker named Emma Thomas, opened up a series of pop-up bakeries across London. Unlike most colorful cakes and cookies, all of the baked goods in Emma’s shop were in shades of grey.She called it the “Depressed Cake Shop.” Local bakers and businesses donated delicacies and proceeds from the sales went to charities that supported people struggling with mental illness.

It wasn't long before Emma’s pop-up idea spread across the globe. Bakeries began appearing in Malaysia, Australia, India, San Francisco and now Seattle. On Saturday visitors to Sole Repair Shop will have the chance to buy a variety of dark baked goods. Fifteen local bakers and pastry shops will be donating everything from cake pops to champagne-flavored marshmallows flown in from San Francisco.

Megan Seling, writer for The Stranger and author of the cookbook "Bake It In A Cake," is one of the bakers donating sweets to the shop. She used baking as a distraction and coping mechanism to help her through depression.  Seling said that baking gave her a chance to take the cookies to people and interact with co-workers in a way that was positive and the formulaic process provided a much needed distraction in the dark days of fall and winter.

If you want to indulge in some dark sweets, The Depressed Cake Shop in Seattle will be open Saturday October 5 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. For more information on the event visit their Facebook page. All proceeds from the event will be going to support the National Alliance on Mental Illness in the Greater Seattle area.

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Religion and Mental Health
3:06 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Public Safety, Pope's Call For Balance, And Other Stories Of The Week

Pope Francis is Brazil in July.
Flickr Photo/Semilla Luz

It’s Friday — time to talk over the week’s news with Joni Balter of the Seattle Times, Crosscut's Knute Berger and Eli Sanders of The Stranger. 

A shooting at the Navy Yard in DC and a fatal stabbing in Seattle's Pioneer Square again raise questions about public safety and mental health care. Seattle's race for mayor sees a new round of polling and endorsements. Plus, Pope Francis says Catholics need to find "a new balance" on issues like abortion and homosexuality.  What stories were you following this week?

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