mental health

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Advocates say recent budget cuts will have a negative impact on those seeking mental health services in Connecticut. The state's new $19.7 billion budget -- passed by lawmakers last month -- includes significant funding cuts for statewide mental health and substance abuse treatment programs. 

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The State of Connecticut operates a Veterans’ Home on 92 acres in Rocky Hill. Many of its residents were once homeless or in danger of homelessness. But a lot of the buildings are outdated and in need of major improvements.

This hour, we find out what a recent consultant's report says about ways the state can better use the property to serve veterans. 

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As heroin and opiate addictions continue to spread among middle class communities, families who never thought they’d face this problem are finding out one simple truth: treating someone for an addiction can be really, really costly. 

Heather Brandon illustration / WNPR

When it comes to understanding heroin and opioid deaths, data matters. But across the country, medical examiners and coroners vary widely in just how much information they provide on death certificates.

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The rate of denials by the state's largest managed care insurers of requests for mental health services rose nearly 70 percent between 2013 and 2014, with an average of about one in 12 requests for prescribed treatment initially rejected, a new state report shows.

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When people are found not guilty in a court case by reason of insanity, how often do they end up back in trouble? 

In the '80s and '90s, America's suicide trend was headed in the right direction: down.

"It had been decreasing almost steadily since 1986, and then what happened is there was a turnaround," says Sally Curtin, a statistician with the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

University of Connecticut

When Rachel Sczurek wanted to go to college, some people told her it wasn't a good idea.

"I didn't really let that get to me," she said. "It got to me a little bit, but I graduated magna cum laude and I did really well."

Tony Bacewicz

Emerson Cheney has survived drug addiction, an abusive relationship, years of cutting and burning himself, and multiple suicide attempts.

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Pre-prohibition research into alcohol use and consumption was wiped out when the country dried out in the 1920s. In response, American "alcohol science" was created in the post-prohibition era to bring alcohol abuse into the medical realm, triggering a cultural explosion between advocates on each side of the wet/dry divide. It was in this arena that Alcoholics Anonymous was born. 

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Like most of the media landscape, public television is changing. The massive hit Downton Abbey wraps up this weekend, and Sesame Street is now premiering new episodes on HBO! But behind the scenes, broadcasters are taking part in an auction to sell of parts of their over-the-air signal. Most of the population has cable so they won’t be affected, but nearly 15 percent of people watch TV with an antennae.

Paul Gionfriddo

Paul Gionfriddo leads Mental Health America but he has deep roots in Connecticut. He’s a former state representative and mayor of Middletown who now advocates for people with mental illness. During his time in the legislature, he worked on laws and policies that contributed to the nation's current mental health crisis. His book Losing Tim explores his own son’s struggle with schizophrenia and the mental health system that failed him.

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Lawmakers are considering a bill that would limit the use of seclusion and restraints to individuals aged 20 or older at facilities run by the Departments of Correction and Children and Families.

CT Senate Democrats

A report by the Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund shows victims are staying longer at the state's domestic violence shelters, creating a strain on shelters' resources and available space.

Paul Gionfriddo

This is a full transcript of the show broadcast on February 2, 2016. 

Paul Gionfriddo

For former state lawmaker Paul Gionfriddo, mental health isn’t just a matter of policy -- it's also personal. His son, now 30, has schizophrenia. 

Paul Gionfriddo

Paul Gionfriddo leads Mental Health America but he has deep roots in Connecticut. He’s a former state representative and mayor of Middletown who now advocates for people with mental illness. During his time in the legislature, he worked on laws and policies that contributed to the nation's current mental health crisis. His book Losing Tim explores his own son’s struggle with schizophrenia and the mental health system that failed him.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A court monitor said the state is failing to meet critical measurements because of a lack of funding.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Superintendents across Connecticut have put together a document they say will help schools deal with student mental health issues. The recommendations were influenced by the events that led up to the Newtown school shootings.

Bed Bugs: Our Creepy, Pervasive, and Expensive Problem

Jan 11, 2016
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A Norwalk-based exterminator was called to an apartment building in the New Haven area and, entering one unit, he found the walls “dripping with bed bugs.”

A few days into heroin detox—when you’re still in the throwing-up phase of withdrawal—is not a good time to learn your insurance is refusing to pay for your stay. That’s what happened to 22-year-old Joe (a pseudonym) in 2012 when he was in an inpatient detox in Oregon.

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A business student from China who said a bout with depression led to his expulsion for academic reasons has become the face of a labor-driven push for better mental health care at Yale University.

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Violent crime in America has been dropping for years, reaching a point in 2012 that was roughly half of what it was in 1993. But that may be changing.

While there are a lot of reasons why violence is spiking, police officers note a growing willingness to use violence to settle minor disputes.

Yale University

Getting an autism diagnosis can take months, even years of doctor's visits, and the diagnosis depends largely on watching a child play. As a result, who gets put on the spectrum and who doesn't can depend on who and where the doctor is.

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Access to health care has improved significantly since Obamacare, with big gains for previously uninsured minorities who were unable to gain access before the law took effect. But insurance isn’t the only barrier to overcome. Entrenched cultural beliefs and the way we deliver care can also limit access.

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It's not uncommon to see someone wearing a prosthesis, especially after wars in Iraq and Afghanistan sent many veterans home minus a limb. While losing a limb is a life-changing event, a good prosthetist can "carve" a prosthesis with just the right fit. It's a long process that can take years to perfect. 

Limbs today vary from simple body-powered prostheses moved by cables to a "fully robotic arm that has 26 joints, can curl 45 pounds and is controlled by the wearer's mind." As the stigma of a prosthesis lessens, amputees are seeking enhancement over replacement, opting for limbs that transcend what's biologically possible, even if lacking the aesthetic of a natural limb.

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Wednesday is November 11, a date originally designated by President Woodrow Wilson as Armistice Day to mark the end of World War I. After World War II, however, it was renamed Veterans Day to honor all Americans who have served. 

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U.S. Senator Chris Murphy is making another push for mental health reform in Congress that he hopes will overhaul and strengthen the mental health care system. He joins us from Washington, D.C. to explain the legislation and to discuss some recent news on the U.S. policy on Syria and use of drones. 

We also talk to U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal about an Obama administration proposal to help address Puerto Rico's fiscal challenges. 

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Empathy, the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes to get a better understanding of what they're feeling or thinking, is a key ingredient to successful relationships. But studies show that being empathetic doesn't just improve relationships -- it reduces prejudice and racism, decreases bullying, encourages us to help others, and promotes tolerance and emotional well-being.

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