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mental health

Schizophrenia might be linked to a gene that tells the immune system to destroy too many connections in the brain, according to the results from a massive gene-focused research effort.

Bill Radke speaks with Dr. Jennifer Stuber, professor in the UW's School of Social Work and founder of the suicide prevention organization Forefront, about Washington state's new Suicide Prevention Plan.

Flickr Photo/Chuck Coker (CC BY-ND 2.0) HTTP://BIT.LY/1ZPVQSL

Washington is going to take a different tack on reducing gun violence, Gov. Jay Inslee says: Treat it as a public health problem.

At a warehouse near Dallas, a black Lab named Papi tugs on a rope to open a fridge and passes his trainer a plastic water bottle with his mouth.

Service dogs are often trained to help veterans with physical disabilities. Now, a growing number are being trained to meet the demand from vets with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues.

Those dogs learn extra tricks — how to sweep a house for intruders, for example, so a veteran feels safe.

Diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are up around 30 percent compared with 20 years ago. These days, if a 2-year-old won't sit still for circle time in preschool, she's liable to be referred for evaluation, which can put her on track for early intervention and potentially a lifetime of medication.

Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, who died Dec. 25 at the age of 83, was considered one of the most influential psychiatrists of his generation. He headed the effort to more rigorously categorize mental disorders for the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (D.S.M.), the handbook used by health care professionals.

Mental health courts have been embraced in many communities, and it's easy to understand why.

Rather than sending someone who's mentally ill to an overcrowded jail that is poorly equipped to manage his condition, mental health courts offer treatment and help with housing and other social services.

The community saves on the cost of locking someone up and offenders get support to stay healthy and may have their charges expunged.

Everybody wins, right?

Bernie Sadowski at the Ballard Senior Center. He credits the senior center for giving him direction after the death of his wife of 50 years.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

When Bernie Sadowski first came to the Ballard Senior Center in 2009, he didn’t care about life. His wife of 50 years had died.

Washington is unlikely to meet a January deadline to provide jail inmates with court-ordered mental health services within seven days.

A staffing shortage at Western State Hospital has created a crisis situation. Federal inspectors this week determined that patients and staff face immediate risk for harm.

Each year, nearly three times as many Americans die from suicide as from homicide. More Americans kill themselves than die from breast cancer.

As Dr.Thomas Insel, longtime head of the National Institute of Mental Health, prepared to step down from his job in October, he cited the lack of progress in reducing the number of suicides as his biggest disappointment. While the homicide rate in the U.S. has dropped 50 percent since the early 1990s, the suicide rate is higher than it was a decade ago.

The definition of postpartum depression is broad. The symptoms can range anywhere from feeling exhausted and disconnected from your baby to paranoia that someone else might hurt your child or, even worse, that you yourself might do your baby harm.

While this wide-ranging spectrum makes it hard to diagnose, the CDC says between 8 percent and 19 percent of women suffer from postpartum depression.

Note: This story is an update to a story first reported in 2012 in collaboration with the Seattle Times.

Between 2008 and 2011, more than 20,000 soldiers and Marines were given “other than honorable” discharges from the military. Now, one soldier from Salem, Oregon, has learned his discharge will be upgraded.

Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Washington, pictured Oct. 2015.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

David Hyde talks with Associated Press reporter Martha Bellisle about her investigation into safety conditions at Western State Hospital. This year, the federal government has threatened funding cuts on three separate occasions.

Mentally disabled sex offenders housed on Washington’s McNeil Island aren’t getting the treatment they deserve. And, in some cases, they’re being held in isolation.

Children of anxious parents are more at risk of developing an anxiety disorder. But there's welcome news for those anxious parents: that trajectory toward anxiety isn't set in stone.

Therapy and a change in parenting styles might be able to prevent kids from developing anxiety disorders, according to research published in The American Journal of Psychiatry Friday.

When Deciding To Live Means Avoiding Guns

Sep 24, 2015

When you're managing a mental health issue, home's not always a safe place.

I recently talked with a 23-year-old in Oakland, Calif., who says he's worried about an upcoming visit to his aunt's home on the East Coast. He's afraid of what he might do to himself there.

"I know that in my aunt's house there are three guns in the basement," says the young man, who asked that NPR not use his name.

Brian Phillips spent 71 days in solitary confinement this summer. He was locked up in the Thurston County Jail near Olympia, Washington, after he went off his psychiatric medication and had several run-ins with police.

The incident command for Washington’s biggest wildfire requested a mental health team to help people in Okanogan County. A national nonprofit called Green Cross has responded to the call.

Masooma, pictured with her children, recounted the events of pre-dawn March 11, 2012 when she says a U.S. soldier rampaged through two villages killing 16 people, mostly children. Staff Sergeant Robert Bales pleaded guilty to the massacre.
AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Adam Ashton, military reporter for the Tacoma News Tribune, about Sgt. Robert Bales and how the military evaluates the mental health of their troops. A new report from the military shows Bales exhibited warning signs of potentially violent behavior before killing 16 Afghan civilians in 2012.

The state of Washington is on a hiring spree for forensic psychologists. They’re needed to help address a backlog of mentally ill jail inmates whose competency to stand trial is in question.

The case of Sandra Bland has raised anger and suspicions nationwide since she was found dead in a jail cell in Hempstead, Texas, two weeks ago. Bland's family and supporters have rejected the medical examiner's finding of suicide, and the criminal district attorney for Waller County, Texas, says he's recruited two outside lawyers to assist in the investigation of her death. The local investigation has been reviewed by the FBI, and local prosecutors have pledged to bring the case to a grand jury next month.

The state of Washington is under a federal court order to address the issue of mentally ill inmates languishing in jail. But the problem has actually gotten worse, not better.

People With Depression: You Are Not Alone

Jul 23, 2015
Hosts Rogelia Sanchez and Lola Garcia.
KUOW Photo/Lola Garcia

Welcome to RadioActive's second podcast of summer 2015. We are talking about depression. We got some advice from a psychiatrist at the University of Washington and recorded personal experiences with depression that we'd like to share with you.

Idaho ranks consistently among the top states with the highest rates of youth suicide in the nation.

The court battle over wait times for Washington jail inmates to get mental health competency exams is not over.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has signed several new mental health laws in recent days. The question is whether they will be funded.

Marcie Sillman talks with KUOW Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about new mental health policies and how the state will pay for them. 

Mentally ill inmates continue to languish in Washington jails despite a recent federal judge’s ruling that the practice is unconstitutional.

It’s been nearly two years since Joel Reuter fired a pistol from his condo balcony and was shot to death by Seattle police. Thursday, Governor Jay Inslee signed “Joel’s Law.”

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