mental health | KUOW News and Information

mental health

Our guest on this episode of Speakers Forum is David J. Morris, a war correspondent, former Marine and PTSD sufferer.

Morris served as a lieutenant in the Marine Corps in the 1990s, but did not see combat then. He went on to work as an embedded journalist in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2004 he was nearly killed when a Humvee he was riding in hit an IED.

Mental health is one of the top issues in the Washington legislature this year. Several measures cleared the Washington House Monday in advance of a Wednesday cut-off deadline.

Marcie Sillman talks with KUOW Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about Joel's Law, the legislative proposal that would allow families to petition a court to have a loved one involuntarily committed to a mental hospital.

Sillman also talks with David Johnson, CEO of Navos, a Seattle-based mental health service provider.

When we think of Alzheimer's disease or other dementias, we think of the loss of memory or the inability to recognize familiar faces, places, and things. But for caregivers, the bigger challenge often is coping with the other behaviors common in dementia: wandering, sleeplessness and anxiety or aggression.

For the first time, the Washington state Senate has passed a version of “Joel’s Law.”

This past weekend, when I visited my mother in her assisted living home as I do once or twice a week, I brought along a present. That's not unusual: She and I share a craving for chocolate, and I often bring her new varieties of dark chocolate, her favorite, and other little gifts from my travels.

Mental health advocates in Washington are assailing a proposal to allow psychiatric boarding in limited cases.

A listener emailed us this picture of a recovering Blitz on Monday after the Seahawks lost in Super Bowl XLIX.
Courtesy of Michael James Hawk

Ross Reynolds talks to Dr. Kirk Honda, family therapist and faculty member at Antioch University, about how to manage the feeling of loss and grief after the Seattle Seahawks lost to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX.

A poster at Rainier Beach High School's teen clinic lets students know they have a safe place to talk.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

It used to be that students went to their school clinic to have their sore throat checked or get a vaccine. But many kids today have needs that go beyond physical health, whether it’s dealing with exposure to violence or having suicidal thoughts.

In response, a growing number of schools have started offering mental health services.

Washington State Capitol
Flickr Photo/Alan Cordova (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with KUOW's Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about one of the legislature's priorities this session: mental health. 

The father of a Spokane woman shot to death by her husband in a murder-suicide is pushing for expanded mental health laws in Washington.

Courtesy of Deepali

Living with mental illness is never easy, no matter where in the world you live. But it can be particularly hard in India, and even more so if you’re a woman.

For Deepali, a 46-year-old yoga teacher in New Delhi, the problems began about 10 or 12 years ago. “There were financial troubles, there were definite marital troubles,” she says.

Mural near the Fisherman's Cove Marina and Lummi Island Ferry on Lummi Nation.
KUOW Photo/Jeff Emtman

After a visit to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Nation in North Dakota, President Barack Obama announced an initiative to help Native American youth.

Obama's proposal aims to provide culturally appropriate education at tribal schools, access to mental health providers and peer counseling and better preparation for college and careers. KUOW’s Jeannie Yandel spoke with Gyasi Ross, a writer, attorney and member of the Blackfeet tribe. He lives on the Suquamish reservation north of Seattle.

“You can see it in Obama's face, you can hear it in the words that he speaks -- he actually has a passion for trying to do something proactively for Native people," Ross said. "I knew that it was coming from a good place.”

The day after Christmas is the deadline for the state of Washington to end a practice known as psychiatric “boarding.”

My Dad's Descent Into Terrifying Madness

Dec 19, 2014
Lisa Southworth and her dad
Courtesy of Lisa Southworth

Nando Ferahaha was a real man.

Nando was 48 and newly slim, with a shaved head and a septum pierced with a ring, like a bull. He said he was an amateur body builder.

Nando said he was an active member in our metropolitan area’s search and rescue team. He had $10,000 of new REI gear to prove it.

Frank Chopp, Washington Speaker of the House, in 2006.
Flickr Photo/The Children's Alliance (CC-BY-NC-ND)

State Speaker of the House Frank Chopp’s path to politics began in Bremerton, Washington, in a surplus housing unit from the Navy Yard. He started as an activist and hasn’t abandoned that point of view.

“I consider myself still to be a community organizer, I just happen to be speaker of the House,” he said.

Meager beginnings made him passionate about affordable housing, and helping his sister cope with bipolar disorder turned his attention to mental health care.

Jeannie Yandel talks with Natalie Snyder, who was wounded in the 1996 shooting at Frontier Middle School in Moses Lake, Wash., about the long process of healing after a trauma.

Reality, if you think about it, is a kind of social contract. You and I might be strangers, but we agree, at least at a really basic level, on what is real.

So when you talk to someone who isn't signed onto that same contract, it's kind of unsettling.

"What do the gloves do?"

I'm asking a guy named George about the thin plastic hospital gloves he was wearing when we met. "It's so the cosmic dust doesn't get on my hands," is his reply.

Litesprite

If you’re feeling depressed or stressed out, and therapy seems overwhelming, consider spending time with a fox.

Courtesy Joe Guppy/Photo by Ernie Sapiro

  Many Seattle-area residents remember Joe Guppy from his days as a performer. For years he was an improvisational artist and actor, and one of the minds behind the long-running television program "Almost Live." 

Depression is common in teenagers, with 11 percent being diagnosed by age 18, and many more having depressive symptoms. Social and academic stress can trigger depression, and rates of depression tend to peak in adolescence around the age of 16.

It doesn't help that stressed-out teens often fall into hopelessness, says David Yeager, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. "When kids have hard things happen to them, they think it'll be like that way into the future."

The state of Washington now has until the end of the year to stop “boarding” mental health patients in non-psychiatric hospital beds.

The state of Washington will not have to start discharging severely mentally ill patients starting this week. The Supreme Court Monday put a hold on a recent ruling that says it’s illegal for the state to “board” psychiatric patients in non-psychiatric hospital beds.

The Washington Supreme Court recently ruled it’s illegal for the state to “board” mental health patients in emergency rooms and regular hospital beds.

It's almost 4 p.m., and police officers Ernest Stevens and Ned Bandoske have been driving around town in their unmarked black SUV since early this morning. The officers are part of San Antonio's mental health squad — a six-person unit that answers the frequent emergency calls where mental illness may be an issue.

The officers spot a call for help on their laptop from a group home across town.

"A male individual put a blanket on fire this morning," Stevens reads from the blotter. "He's arguing ... and is a danger to himself and others. He's off his medications."

The state of Washington is scrambling to find beds for an estimated 200 mental health patients by August 27. That's when the state must comply with a Washington Supreme Court ruling that said detaining psychiatric patients in emergency room beds is unlawful.

Marcie Sillman talks with Sue Eastgard about suicide prevention and how that differs between gender. Eastgard is the director of training for Forefront, a University of Washington suicide prevention organization.

The Washington Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that the practice of "boarding" mental health patients in hospital emergency rooms is unlawful.

Ross Reynolds talks with Snohomish County public defender Cassie Trueblood about a civil rights lawsuit filed in federal court against Western State Hospital.

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