Mental Health

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As the slogan goes, "Guns don't kill people; people kill people." But the people who do get killed are frequently the ones pulling the trigger.

Matthew Miller at the Harvard School of Public Health, who will appear Friday on WNPR's Where We Live, found that gun owners are more likely to die by suicide than non-owners. Across the U.S., the more available guns are, the more frequently suicide occurs.

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

The discussion after last year's Newtown shootings was dominated by two topics: gun control and mental health. Many people focused on possible illnesses of the shooter, but there’s another side to the mental health discussion. In the aftermath of a tragedy, communities need help healing.

Chion Wolf

I suppose you could say that today's show is about a fairly obvious truth--singing with other people feels good. 

But, it's a little bit more complicated than that. When you go to a church and pick up a hymnal and sing what everybody else sings, it feels okay. And, a fairly complex set of activities takes place in your brain, and that's nice, but it pales in comparison to really singing with others. 

That is, getting together with other people and rehearsing and working toward a truly successful blend of voices.

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 requires health plans that offer benefits for mental health and substance use to cover them to the same extent that they cover medical and surgical care.

Among other things, the law prohibits treatment limits and copayments or deductibles that are more restrictive than a plan's medical coverage.

The mother of a child killed in the Newtown school shootings spoke to staff at Connecticut Children's Medical Center Tuesday morning. Nelba Marquez-Greene was a featured speaker during a lecture on child traumatic stress and PTSD.

Middle-Age "Senior Moments" Just Part of Aging

Nov 27, 2013
Jordan Harrison Graphic / Connecticut Health I-Team

Everyone occasionally struggles to remember a name, blanks out on an appointment or forgets why they walked into the other room. But somewhere around age 40, those “senior moments” start to take on a new seriousness. They suddenly seem like scary signs of aging, perhaps harbingers of major memory loss to come.

Parents who have a child struggling with serious mental illness live in fear that the worst will happen.

The apparent suicide of a young man in Virginia after he allegedly attacked his father, a state senator, shows how difficult it can be for families to get help in the midst of a mental health crisis.

The recession brought deep cuts in states' spending on mental health. The reductions made it harder for people to get help before they're in crisis, mental health advocates say, and even harder to find a hospital bed in an emergency.

Visual Law Project

Yale Law School’s Visual Law Project has created a film about Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, Connecticut. The documentary film sheds light on the hidden world of supermax prisons, where inmates may be held in solitary confinement for weeks, months, and even years at a time. The film is called "The Worst of the Worst."

Office of Governor Dannel Malloy

Governor Malloy announced three new initiatives that will make it easier for families to access mental health services, and to provide better identification and intervention for children and teens with mental health issues. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

I really meant to donate to the NPR fund drive. I just forgot. Well, actually I didn't. But still, I should have donated. I feel so guilty! Guilt is a funny thing. It's a pervasive emotion with the power to both motivate--and oppress.

The death of Miriam Carey, killed by police gunfire Thursday after leading a car chase from the White House to the Capitol, is prompting questions from her family about whether she deserved to die. The incident, of which details remain unexplained, is leading experts to analyze the actions of the officers present.

"We're still very confused as a family why she's not still alive," Carey's sister Amy Carey-Jones told the AP late Friday. "I really feel like it's not justified, not justified."

FBI Seeks Answers Following DC Car Rampage

Oct 4, 2013

FBI agents in Stamford, Conn., are searching for clues about why an unarmed 34-year-old mother who lived there went on a driving rampage in Washington, D.C. yesterday.

The incident resulted in her shooting death by Capitol police.

Miriam Carey was traveling with her 1-year-old daughter when she tried to breach a barrier at the White House, and then veered her car down Constitution Avenue, driving up to 80-miles-per-hour, toward the Capitol buildings. She eventually crashed into a barrier.

Coming up, we'll air the premiere of a new investigative reporting program called Reveal. It's from the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX. In the pilot episode:

A study on guns, violence and mental health, long scheduled to be published this week, finds that gun ownership is a bigger factor than mental illness when it comes to firearms deaths. But the data suggest that both play roles.

The county's Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles is a hulking, massive concrete structure. It is also part of the largest municipal jail system in the United States.

On a recent day, four men enter handcuffed with a police escort. The sheriff's deputies assign them cells, and for the duration of their sentences, this is home. The men wear bright blue pants and neon yellow shirts to set them apart from other inmates.

John Brawley on Flickr Creative Commons

Yesterday marked the beginning of National Suicide Prevention Week and tomorrow is World Suicide Prevention Day, both intended to call attention to a serious public health issue.

We were recently shocked by the suicide of a 15-year-old Greenwich High School student after his first day of school.

But the numbers prove this is not an isolated incident. Every 15 minutes, someone dies by suicide in the U.S. For every one of the almost 40,000 people who died this year, there are many more who think about, plan, or attempt suicide.

Tony Alter / Creative Commons

People with eating disorders like obesity could be getting treatment from a therapist with their own inherent weight bias, that's according to a new study from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

The survey of 329 mental health specialists revealed that while almost all of them agreed it's important to treat obese patients with compassion and respect, they admitted that many of their colleagues have negative biases about their obese patients. 56 percent said they heard or witnessed other professionals making negative comments and fat jokes about obese patients in their care.

Suicide Haunts New Generation Of Veterans

Aug 1, 2013

It’s estimated that more than 20 veterans kill themselves every day. A new survey of men and women who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan shows that mental health is the most important issue they face.

New state legislation may soon be considered to address enforcement gaps in existing federal regulations related to mental health coverage.

Homer Bell was 54 years old when he killed himself in April in a very public way — he laid down his head in front of a stopped bus in his hometown of Hartford, Conn. It was the last act in a life filled with struggle, as Bell and his family endured his schizophrenia.

At a time when there are calls to strengthen the mental health system, Bell's story shows how hard coping with mental illness can be.

Courtesy of Flickr CC by BLW Photography

An amendment to the defense budget bill before Congress could help military families who have children with developmental disabilities including autism.

Love 2.0

May 30, 2013
Camdiluv ♥/flickr creative commons

Tony Bacewicz/C-HIT

Ten-year-old Joey Smith shared a celebratory high-five with Heather Kunkel, a mental health professional who was visiting the boy’s Thomaston home. “Things are great, spectacular even,” he said, as the two chatted at the kitchen table.

It’s a dramatic turnaround for Joey who met Kunkel when she was summoned to Thomaston Center School because he had threatened to harm himself. Now Joey, who has autism, is back at school with a modified curriculum to suit his individual needs and his parents have access to an educational advocate and community resources.

Tony Bacewicz/C-HIT

Ten-year-old Joey Smith shared a celebratory high-five with Heather Kunkel, a mental health professional who was visiting the boy’s Thomaston home. “Things are great, spectacular even,” he said, as the two chatted at the kitchen table.

It’s a dramatic turnaround for Joey who met Kunkel when she was summoned to Thomaston Center School because he had threatened to harm himself. Now Joey, who has autism, is back at school with a modified curriculum to suit his individual needs and his parents have access to an educational advocate and community resources.

Flickr Creative Commons

Marco Arment (Flickr Creative Commons)

The University of Connecticut has come out with a new study on violent video games. It looked specifically at whether video games that pit players against human looking characters provokes more violent thoughts in the player than fighting non-human creatures.

When players fight human looking characters, "they're later more verbally aggressive and they have more aggressive thoughts," said Kirstie Farrar, who is an associate professor of communication and lead researcher of the study.

Chion Wolf

Suicide rates have risen dramatically for middle-aged Americans in the last 10 years. The highest jump is for men aged 50-54. In a report released last week, the CDC says that more people aged 35-64 die from suicide than from car accidents, and they have been since 2009.

This hour, we look at what might be behind this trend, and what resources are available for Connecticut residents struggling with mental health issues.

JoePenna, creative commons

Advocates for mental health have been expressing concern about the conversation in American following the Newtown shootings.  While we still don’t know the details of whatever mental illness Adam Lanza may have suffered from, and we don’t know the particulars of his treatment or medication, lawmakers from all sides of the debate over guns have drawn mental health care into the discussion.  

Photo courtesy of Flickr CC by Adkp

Waterbury police are collaborating with mental health professionals in a pilot program that aims to reduce traumatic stress in children.  As WNPRs Lucy Nalpathanchil reports, the program is meant to provide support to children after the arrest of a parent or caregiver.

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