mental health

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

On a recent afternoon, about a dozen Somali women talk in spurts as they weave 4-inch metal needles through a basket.

It doesn't look like therapy, but in a way, it is.

Flickr Photo/Micheal J (CC BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Mike DeFelice, supervising attorney for civil commitments at the King County Public Defender's office, about a proposed bill that would give people more say over the involuntary commitment of a mentally ill family member.

Seattle police patrol cars.
Flickr Photo/Brittney Bollay

Marcie Sillman talks with Bill Hobson, executive director of the Downtown Emergency Service Center, about the Seattle Police Department's new policy for dealing with people who have mental illnesses or drug and alcohol issues. Hobson is also a member of Seattle's Community Police Commission.

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.

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.

Hypervigilance And Crowds Complicate Holidays And Life Back Home For Veterans

Dec 31, 2013
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.

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.

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.

Coming Out Of The Depression Closet

Dec 19, 2013
Flickr Photo/Piermario

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

The Difference Between Being Sad And Having SAD

Nov 18, 2013
Flickr Photo/Josh Semans

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

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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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