Mental Health

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Zero tolerance policies send a strong message to students but at what cost?

This hour, we examine how over time, these policies have led to suspensions and expulsions for minor issues -- and can have drastic effects on a student’s future.

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H.M. is one of the most important and studied human research subjects of all time. He revolutionized what we know about memory today because of the amnesia he developed after a lobotomy in 1953 to treat the severe epilepsy he developed after a head injury sustained earlier in life. 

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Illicit use of prescription drugs has almost tripled among high school students in southeastern Connecticut. That's according to the Southeastern Regional Action Council.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Four years ago, Connecticut became the 17th state to legalize medical marijuana. By 2014, the state officially launched its medical marijuana program, making it possible for card-holding patients to buy the drug legally. This hour, we get an update on that program from Connecticut's Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan Harris. We also hear from a Connecticut woman who saw how the program helped her husband, and we check in with doctors and dispensaries in the state. 

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Five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease -- the sixth leading cause of death in this country. There are many caregivers who provide unpaid care for their relatives with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementias -- but it’s not an easy role to fill.

This hour, we explore caregiving and how it can impact a person’s physical and emotional health -- and their finances. 

frankieleon / Creative Commons

Illicit use of prescription drugs has almost tripled among high school students in southeastern Connecticut. That's according to the Southeastern Regional Action Council.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Activists and mental health experts gathered in Hartford this week to talk about the need for more equitable access to health care services. But sometimes, health care isn't on the top of people's minds.

Days after Charles Kinsey was shot by North Miami police as the behavioral health care worker tried to help a patient, we now know more about the officer who fired the shot — and according to the head of the local police union, the officer was trying to shoot Kinsey's patient, a man with autism, not Kinsey.

"Fearing for Mr. Kinsey's life, the officer discharged his firearm, trying to save Mr. Kinsey's life," says John Rivera, president of the Dade County Police Benevolent Association. "And he missed, and accidentally struck Mr. Kinsey."

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Connecticut still ranks high among states in the use of antipsychotic drugs for elderly nursing home residents, but its rate of use has dropped 33 percent since 2011 -- a bigger decline than the national average -- new government data show.

TASER International

Connecticut recently became the first state in the nation to require its police officers to file a report after using an electronic stun-gun or “Taser.” The first year of that data is now in -- and it says Tasers are used more frequently on minority suspects. 

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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. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

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. 

Heather Brandon illustration / WNPR

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.

Sage Ross / Creative Commons

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
Gilles San Martin / Creative Commons

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.”

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