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mental health

Ross Reynolds talks with David Johnson, CEO of Navos Mental Health Solutions, about the connections between mental illness and unemployment. A recent report found that in Washington state, 86.9 percent of people who make contact with the public health system are unemployed. That's higher than the national average of 80 percent.

In 2008, Cara Anna was working as a foreign correspondent in China and feeling overwhelmed by isolation, hostility from local authorities and a gnawing feeling that she was a failure. Her anguish led her to try suicide.

After waking up alive, she kept her attempt a secret. Asking for help seemed shameful, and she feared for her job if her employer found out. But after a second suicide attempt 15 months later, Anna realized that to recover she needed to stop feeling ashamed.

Suicide-Proofing The Golden Gate Bridge

Jul 7, 2014

Suicide prevention activists have long called for a way to prevent people from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, but officials have resisted, citing cost and design concerns.

Last week, the board that oversees the Golden Gate Bridge voted to approve $76 million to install steel suicide “nets” that would hang largely out of sight 20 feet under the walkways of the iconic bridge in San Francisco Bay.

Since the bridge opened in 1937, there have at least 1,600 suicides of people jumping off it. Last year, there was a suicide or an attempt almost every other day.

Lauren Kay has never met her therapist in person. The 24-year-old entrepreneur found it difficult to take time off work for appointments.

So she started seeing a psychotherapist online.

"It's definitely been different," she says. Kay, who lives in New York, found her counselor through an online therapy service called Pretty Padded Room. When it's time for an appointment, all she has to do is log in to the website, click a link and start video chatting.

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

Parking mentally ill patients in the emergency room while waiting for treatment is a common practice, but  also controversial. Psychiatric boarding, as it's known, used to be the exception. But in the last six years, the number of patients who've experienced it has nearly tripled.  Now the state Supreme Court is considering whether boarding is constitutional.

Marcie Sillman talks to Dr. Leslie Butterfield about the challenges new parents face and how to spot the signs of postpartum depression and anxiety.

One in five new moms and one in ten new dads have some form of postpartum depression. Postpartum Support International and Postpartum Support International of Washington State are resources for information about postpartum depression, as well as local support groups and counselors. You can also call the toll-free line anytime to talk to a volunteer: 1.888.404.7763.

Expanded coverage for young adults under the Affordable Care Act substantially raised inpatient hospital visits related to mental health, finds a study conducted by researchers at Indiana and Purdue universities.

That looks like good news: Better access to care for a population with higher-than-average levels of mental illness that too often endangers them and people nearby.

Marcie Sillman talks with Sandi Ando about reforming Washington state's mental health system. Ando is public policy chair for Washington's chapter of the National Alliance On Mental Illness.

As a child, Diany Levy was called lazy and unfocused. She remembers that teachers called home on a daily basis to tell her parents she was not paying attention in class. Now, at the age of 23, Diany has finally been diagnosed with the cause of her problems – ADHD.

When patients receive treatment for PTSD they normally don’t get asked what kind of therapy they’d like to receive. Often the provider will use the therapy that is most familiar to them.

That can include antidepressants or psychotherapy, maybe both.

Advocates for the mentally ill filed a friend of the court brief with the Washington State Supreme Court urging the justices to uphold a Pierce County judge's ruling. The state's high court will hear arguments in the case next month. Last year, Pierce County Superior Court Judge Kathryn Nelsons ruled that boarding the mentally ill was illegal. 

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, is launching a $70 million program to help military personnel with psychiatric disorders using electronic devices implanted in the brain.

The goal of the five-year program is to develop new ways of treating problems including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, all of which are common among service members who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Flickr Photo/Ruth Flickr

Steve Scher talks with journalist Brian Rosenthal about why King County mental health professionals are routinely missing deadlines to provide psychiatric evaluations — causing potentially dangerous patients to be released. Rosenthal reported the story for the Seattle Times. He now reports for The Houston Chronicle.

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

State auditors say Western State Hospital has been losing about $800,000 a year paying for work that's not being done. For decades, the hospital has been letting hundreds of employees start late and leave early -- and still paying for their time.

Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Flickr Photo/camknows (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Re-experiencing, avoidance, hyperarousal: these are the three categories of post-traumatic stress disorder as laid out by the National Institute of Mental Health. They commonly go by more common names: nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, social isolation, poor concentration, insomnia and startling.

Copyright (c) 2012 by Ellen Forney. Reprinted by arrangement with Gotham Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc.

When Ellen Forney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 16 years ago, her first concern was for her creative future. The award-winning cartoonist prided herself on the artwork and stories she'd come up with during periods she described as manic. Right after her diagnosis, Forney was reluctant to try the drug treatments her psychiatrist prescribed for her. Would she lose her creative edge on lithium? But after a serious period of depression, Forney set out on the ongoing journey to achieve and maintain a state of mental balance.

Flickr Photo/Crash Zone Photography

A new policy for the Seattle Police Department aims to change how officers handle crisis situations with people who are mentally ill or under the influence. The crisis intervention policy, which takes effect Monday, is part of the city’s federally-mandated police reforms.

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 (CC-BY-NC-ND)

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.

Mental Health In China With Michael Phillips

Nov 7, 2013

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.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

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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