Mental Health

Mental Health Reporting on WNPR and WNPR.org is made possible by our founding sponsor, the Hartford Healthcare Behavioral Health Network.

The Institute of LivingNatchaug HospitalRushford, MidState Medical Center, Backus Hospital, and The Hospital of Central Connecticut are working together to connect children, adolescents and adults with the inpatient and outpatient mental health and substance use services they need.

Click here to subscribe to WNPR.org's monthly Mental Health Report newsletter. 

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RX: Take a Chill Pill
7:07 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Stressed Out: Americans Tell Us About Stress In Their Lives

Aly Hurt/NPR

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 7:57 am

Everyone seems to talk about feeling stressed out. But what's the reality of stress in America these days?

NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a nationwide poll in March and early April to find out.

Our questions zeroed in on the effect of stress in Americans' lives. We asked about people's personal experiences with stress in the preceding month and year. We also asked about how they perceived the effects of stress, how they cope with stress and their attitudes about it.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue June 24, 2014

How Healthy Is Connecticut?

Our third Health Equity panel discussions was held at CPBN's Chase Family studios.
Steve Honigfeld

Our third Health Equity Forum is a project we’ve been working on for a few years now with our partners at Connecticut Health Foundation, exploring the idea of health equity in Connecticut. How do we make sure that everyone has the best possible health outcomes regardless of race, regardless of how much money you have?

It’s a tricky issue for policy makers, which is why we’re so glad to have as the basis for our conversation a new set of information called the Connecticut Health Care Survey. Six organizations came together to put out this report, which is drawn from some 5400 households interviewed. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Once Thought to Be Caused By Demons, What Do We Know About Epilepsy Today?

The CDC says often, it can be difficult to find a definite cause of epilepsy.
Saad Faruque Creative Commons

Historically, people with epilepsy were thought to be possessed by demons. Research has come a long way since then, but epilepsy remains mysterious. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy in their lives. Annually, it costs more than $15 billion in medical costs and reduced work production.

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Connecticut First
5:33 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Task Force Makes Mental Health Recommendations; Governor Signs Pet Shop Legislation

A task force created after the Newtown school shooting is recommending state lawmakers take steps toward improvement of mental health services to children and young adults. The 20-member panel, charged with examining mental health services for people between the ages of 16 and 25 released 47 recommendations on Tuesday for the General Assembly to consider when it reconvenes in January.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Caring for Those on the Autism Spectrum

Dr. John Molteni.
Chion Wolf WNPR

A new report from the CDC suggests that Autism Spectrum Disorder may be even more prevalent than we thought. The report estimates that roughly one in 68 children born in the U.S. has autism -- a 30 percent increase since 2012.

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Connecticut First
4:54 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Blumenthal Co-Sponsors Veterans' Bill; Connecticut Has High Rate of Patient Restraint

U-S Senator Richard Blumenthal announced today that he’ll co-sponsor and help lead legislation with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders , that would give veterans facing delays the ability to seek private health care outside the VA.

Connecticut Has High Rate of Psychiatric Patient Restraint

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Mental Health
9:50 am
Mon June 2, 2014

State Restrains Psychiatric Patients at High Rate

Connecticut Health I-Team

As the state works to improve its mental health system, new federal data shows that hospitals in Connecticut restrain psychiatric patients at more than double the average national rate, with elderly patients facing restraint at a rate seven times the national average.

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Tech Detection
5:22 am
Sat May 31, 2014

Phone App Might Predict Manic Episodes In Bipolar Disorder

Manic, sad, up, down. Your voice may reveal mood shifts.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 8:31 am

There are smartphone apps for monitoring your diet, your drugs, even your heart. And now a Michigan psychiatrist is developing an app he hopes doctors will someday use to predict when a manic episode is imminent in patients with bipolar disorder.

People with the disorder alternate between crushing depression and wild manic episodes that come with the dangerous mix of uncontrollable energy and impaired judgment.

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Mental Health 101
10:19 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Empathy Lessons: Training Police to Understand People With Mental Illness

Somerville Police Officer Eli Kim, left, tries to book Officer Samir Messaoudi — playing the role of a man with schizophrenia — while Cambridge Police Officer Fred Cabral does the sound effects of voices in Messaoudi’s head.
Cambridge Police Department

Earlier this month, Somerville Police Officers Alan Monaco and Timothy Sullivan responded to a call about a fight between two young men. They found one of them, Mike, in an agitated state.

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Training Police
12:55 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

More Police Officers to Get Mental Health Training

Michelle Malven/iStock Thinkstock

Edward Yergeau, a patrol sergeant with the Hartford Police Department, has seen how changing attitudes about mental health has actually changed outcomes.

"Ten years ago," Yergeau said, "you either arrested a person, or threw them in the ambulance, and you were done with them. That was it." 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue May 27, 2014

How Healthy Is Connecticut?

This Health Equity panel discussion was held at CPBN's Chase Family studios.
Steve Honigfeld

Our third Health Equity Forum is a project we’ve been working on for a few years now with our partners at Connecticut Health Foundation, exploring the idea of health equity in Connecticut. How do we make sure that everyone has the best possible health outcomes regardless of race, regardless of how much money you have?

It’s a tricky issue for policy makers, which is why we’re so glad to have as the basis for our conversation a new set of information called the Connecticut Health Care Survey. Six organizations came together to put out this report, which is drawn from some 5400 households interviewed. 

Read more
Mental Health
2:08 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Military Plans To Test Brain Implants To Fight Mental Disorders

In epilepsy, the normal behavior of brain neurons is disturbed. The drug valproic acid appears to help the brain replenish a key chemical, preventing seizures.
David Mack/Science Source

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 1:35 pm

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.

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Mental Health
11:13 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Mental Illness Can Shorten Lives More Than Chain-Smoking

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 10:58 am

Mental disorders can reduce life expectancy by 10 to 20 years, as much as or even more than smoking over 20 cigarettes a day, a study finds.

We know that smoking boosts the risk of cancer and heart disease, says Dr. Seena Fazel, a psychiatrist at Oxford University who led the study. But aside from the obvious fact that people with mental illnesses are more likely to commit suicide, it's not clear how mental disorders could be causing early deaths.

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Mental Health
9:20 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Marathon Bombing Study Makes Link Between Brain and Trauma

Boylston Street in Boston on April 24, 2013, nine days after the Boston Marathon bombing.
Rebecca Hildreth Creative Commons

When the Boston Marathon bombing occurred, neuroscientists at Harvard University were midway through a study on trauma and the adolescent brain. As a result, they said they were able to make some new scientific links between PTSD and media exposure.

Last April, Professor Katie McLaughlin and her colleagues at Harvard were studying the brains of young people who’d been through serious adversity. They had recruited about 150 children and teens. Half had reported early trauma or stress, and half had not.

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Suicide
6:39 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Task Force Says Asking All Patients About Suicide Won't Cut Risk

Alexandra Thompson iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 9:26 pm

Suicide remains a leading cause of death in the United States, especially among teenagers and young adults. Anything that could reduce the toll would be good.

But asking everyone who goes to the doctor if he is considering suicide isn't the answer, according to a federal panel that evaluated the effectiveness of existing screening tools for suicide. They found there wasn't enough evidence to know whether screening the general public helps or hurts.

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The Things They Carried
11:53 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Captain Jason Pace as Physician Assistant in Afghanistan

Captain Jason Pace
Credit Jake Warga

Captain Jason Pace tries to treat symptoms of depression and stress without medication. He believes that there are burdens a solider must carry inside that may never be lifted.

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Mental Health
9:45 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Middletown Forum Focuses On the Needs of the Mentally Ill

Pogonici/iStock Thinkstock

A forum taking place on Thursday afternoon in Middletown will bring together mental health providers and advocates to discuss the many challenges facing people with mental illness. 

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Juvenile Justice
12:23 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Transgender Teen at York Moved to Different Part of Prison

Sarah Eagan is Connecticut's child advocate.
Credit Chion Wolf

A 16-year-old transgender girl who has been detained at the state women's prison for more than a month has been moved to another location at the prison.

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Medicaid and Therapy
10:32 am
Tue May 13, 2014

State to Expand Medicaid to Cover Private Therapy

State health care advocate Vicki Veltri.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Single adults on Medicaid will soon be able to get therapy someplace other than a clinic. A bill passed by lawmakers last week aims to make the coverage available this year. 

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Mental Health
8:26 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Mental Health 101: Program Helps Police Intervene In Crises

A police officer stands outside the entrance to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 15, 2012.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 8, 2014 8:24 pm

How do you tell the difference between someone who needs to be taken to jail and someone who needs to be taken to the hospital? It can be a delicate situation to decipher, and it's been a big concern in Connecticut since the Newtown shootings of 2012.

Lance Newkirchen, a regular patrol officer in the town of Fairfield, is also specifically trained to respond to mental health calls. On a recent weekday, he headed out in his patrol car for a follow-up call.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Tackling Violence in Our Schools

Is violence on the rise in our schools?
Credit Caitlin Regan / Creative Commons

Earlier this week, the General Assembly passed a bonding package allocating $22 million to strengthen school security across the state.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Once Thought to Be Caused By Demons, What Do We Know About Epilepsy Today?

The CDC says often, it can be difficult to find a definite cause of epilepsy.
Saad Faruque Creative Commons

Historically, people with epilepsy were thought to be possessed by demons. Research has come a long way since then, but epilepsy remains mysterious. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy in their lives. Annually, it costs more than $15 billion in medical costs and reduced work production.

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Mental Health
7:55 am
Fri May 2, 2014

As Funding Runs Low, Two Early Intervention Programs Advocate for Support

One early intervention program in Connecticut is iCare, based in Middletown, which helps elementary-aged children in their schools, homes, and communities.
Paul Horton Creative Commons

School officials and health care professionals joined lawmakers at the state capitol on Thursday, touting the importance of early mental health care intervention for kids. It's a cause that's gotten increased attention since the school shooting in Newtown.

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Civil Rights
4:04 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Effort To Force Treatment On Severely Mentally Ill Meets Resistance

Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., speaks during a December 2013 news conference in Washington to discuss the introduction of a legislative package of major mental health reforms.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 8:32 pm

Ed Kelley and his wife have three children. They live in a comfortable suburb of Baltimore. And for a long time their life seemed perfect.

"We were churchgoing; we were involved in the community. We had a very close-knit family all around us."

And he adored his 14-year-old son.

"He was funny, he was getting good grades, he loved playing sports; he was so humorous. Actually for the longest time he was sort of the center of the family."

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Health Disparity
9:43 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Advocates, State Working to Expand Behavioral Health Coverage For the Poor

Pamela McGuire is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Hartford.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

The Affordable Care Act is all about getting people health insurance. Once they're insured, there's another hurdle: getting them access to care. That's a particular problem for people living on low incomes.

It's even more of a problem for the poor who seek behavioral health care. 

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Crisis Intervention Teams
11:45 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Training Connecticut Police in Mental Health 101

Fairfield Officer Lance Newkirchen on his way to visit the family of a man who, two days earlier, considered suicide.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

How do you tell the difference between someone who needs to be taken to jail and someone who needs to be taken to the hospital? That’s a big concern in Connecticut, where the intersection of law enforcement and mental health has been a huge issue since the Newtown shootings of 2012. 

WNPR spent time with police officers to learn about their training in mental health.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:52 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

The Boston Marathon Bombing and the Road to Resilience

Credit miz_ginevra / Flickr Creative Commons

Consider America from 1985 to 2000. You wouldn't say nothing happened in those 15 years but America was a fairly calm place to be most of the time.

Now consider the period that came next. It began with a presidential election so riddled with such uncertainties that the effort to confirm the result dragged on for days and went to the Supreme Court.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue April 8, 2014

An Honest Look at Mental Illness at The Connecticut Forum

Moderator John Dankosky, at left, with panelists Hank Schwartz, Kay Redfield Jamison, and Andrew Solomon.
Nick Caito The Connecticut Forum

For a bit more than a year, we’ve been trying to find different ways to tell the stories of mental health and mental illness in America.

The shootings at Sandy Hook presented a national narrative that was conducted at two poles. On one end, we made the conversation about guns. On the other, it was about mental illness.

It seems we conducted these different conversations the same way: too simply, with too little nuance, and too little listening to others. Many seemed content in their belief that we really knew all that we could know about that incident, and about that shooter; that just keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, and strengthening our mental health system, would solve our problems.

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Fort Hood Shooting
8:14 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Shooting Unfairly Links Violence With Mental Illness — Again

Lt. Gen. Mark Milley speaks to reporters April 2 regarding the second shooting in five years on the Fort Hood Army post in Texas.
Drew Anthony Smith Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 9:05 am

With the Army's disclosure that Army Spc. Ivan Lopez was being evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder before he went on a shooting rampage Wednesday, there were once again questions about whether the Army could have prevented the violence at Fort Hood.

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