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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Mental Health
4:25 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Newtown Shooter Adam Lanza's History Reviewed in New Report

Some of Adam Lanza's belongings as discovered by police in his home.
State of Connecticut

Nearly two years after the shooting at Sandy Hook, officials are still looking for answers. A new report from the Office of the Child Advocate provides a window in the mental health of the gunman, Adam Lanza. 

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Drugs
9:28 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Forum in Middletown Examines Substance Abuse and the Effect on the Young Brain

Rebecca A. and Matt Eacott both shared their stories of addiction and recovery.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

This report is part of WNPR’s Mental Health Reporting series, made possible by our founding partner, Hartford Healthcare Behavioral Health Network.

Young human brains are delicate, developing things. A panel last week in Middletown focused on how the brain can be affected by drugs, alcohol, and technology. 

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:00 am
Thu November 13, 2014

The Psychopath Show

Ted Bundy is a famous American psychopath.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

You know lots of sociopaths right?

It could be anyone from your ex-spouse to the guy who cut you off on your drive to work today. It's a term we throw around loosely to refer to anyone whoever lied to us or didn't follow the rules. 

But, if we use it that way, it's not a very useful term. A sociopath is not the same thing as a jerk. In fact, the person you know who strikes you as a jerk is probably not a sociopath because it's not in the best interests of sociopaths to let you know what kind of people they are and sociopaths are usually pretty good about acting in their own best interests.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
8:55 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Sex and Intimacy When You're Fat

Credit Tiffany Bailey / Creative Commons

According to statistics, one in every three Americans is obese and two of every three are overweight.

While we know that extra fat may set us up for heart disease, diabetes, and musculoskeletal problems, we don't really know how fat affects sex and love.

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Mental Health
4:23 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Halting Schizophrenia Before It Starts

Meghan, 23, began experiencing hallucinations at 19. "Driving home, cars' headlights turned into eyes. The grills on the cars turned into mouths and none of them looked happy. It would scare the crap out of me," Meghan says.
Marvi Lacar for NPR

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 11:57 pm

The important thing is that Meghan knew something was wrong.

When I met her, she was 23, a smart, wry young woman living with her mother and stepdad in Simi Valley, about an hour north of Los Angeles.

Meghan had just started a training program to become a respiratory therapist. Concerned about future job prospects, she asked NPR not to use her full name.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon October 6, 2014

A Child Welfare Update With Connecticut's DCF

Joette Katz.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Last Wednesday, the Department of Children and Families submitted a new five-year plan calling for a redesign of the state’s children’s behavioral health system. This hour, DCF's Joette Katz and Kristina Stevens sit down with us to explain how the new behavioral health plan addresses some of the recent criticisms of Connecticut’s child mental health care system.

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Student Mental Health
8:33 am
Mon September 29, 2014

How One New Haven High School Supports Immigrant Students

A classroom at the International Academy at Wilbur Cross High School.
Diane Orson WNPR

Some of the unaccompanied minors who made the dangerous trek across the border between Mexico and the United States are in Connecticut now, and are enrolled in local public schools.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Wed September 24, 2014

America: The "No-Vacation Nation"?

One in four Americans gets no paid time off.
Krystal International Vacation Club Creative Commons

Research shows that using your vacation time can have some major benefits. For one, it’s better for productivity, and -- as one study shows -- it can even be better for your health. But are Americans taking enough time off, or are we really a "no-vacation nation"? 

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Wake of Newtown
12:05 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Sandy Hook Advisory Commission Reviews Draft Recommendations

Scott Jackon, mayor of Hamden, chairs the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission meeting on Tuesday.
Credit CT-N

The panel created by Governor Dannel Malloy to review the Newtown school shooting reviewed its recommendations at a meeting on Tuesday. 

The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission discussed draft language proposed by groups' recommendations on law enforcement, safe school design and operation, and mental health. 

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Mental Health
2:20 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Best To Not Sweat The Small Stuff, Because It Could Kill You

Keith Negley for NPR

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 8:21 am

Chronic stress is hazardous to health and can lead to early death from heart disease, cancer and of other health problems. But it turns out it doesn't matter whether the stress comes from major events in life or from minor problems. Both can be deadly.

And it may be that it's not the stress from major life events like divorce, illness and job loss trickled down to everyday life that gets you; it's how you react to the smaller, everyday stress.

The most stressed-out people have the highest risk of premature death, according to one study that followed 1,293 men for years.

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Mental Health
8:00 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Talking About Suicide in Order to Prevent It

Credit preventsuicidect.org

The state is rolling out a new campaign to get people talking about a topic they typically avoid: suicide. 

In 2013, there were more than suicides in Connecticut. According to the state, it's a number that has stayed relatively constant over time, and it's also a number that's lower than the national average. On the one hand, that's good news. On the other, fewer suicides would be even better.

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Child Health
11:17 am
Mon September 8, 2014

DCF Unveils Comprehensive Behavioral Health Plan for Connecticut's Children

Credit Kelley Conkling / Creative Commons

The State Department of Children and Families has released a draft plan designed to better meet the behavioral and mental health needs of Connecticut children. The plan is required under legislation passed last year by the General Assembly in response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:09 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Surviving a Suicide

Dr. Hank Schwartz is Psychiatrist-in-Chief and Vice President, Behavioral Health, Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital
Chion Wolf

If things had gone according to his plan, Kevin Hines would have been dead for the last 14 years and therefore, not appearing on today's show. 

In September 2000, he jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, the second most popular suicide site in the world. Somewhere around 1,600 people have jumped to their deaths from that bridge since it opened in 1937. The rate seems to be rising.

But, this isn't really a show about that location. It's about what we learn from a person who survives a very serious suicide attempt.

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Hospitals
2:25 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Examining the Rise in Emergency Room Stays for Children in Connecticut

Spotmatik/iStock Thinkstock

Children with mental health problems are spending more time in emergency rooms, according to a report from the Connecticut Health Investigative Team. In 2010, 40 children spent multiple nights in the emergency room for mental health issues. By the end of this year, C-HIT says that number is expected to rise to 500.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue September 2, 2014

How Well Is Connecticut Caring for Its Child Mental Health Patients?

David Fulmer Creative Commons

As the school year gets underway, the number of child psychiatric visits generally increases. But children are facing long wait times in emergency rooms around the state, especially for those coming in with mental health emergencies. 

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Thu August 28, 2014

The Vibrations All Around Us

Ed Cleveland is a medicinal aromatherapist and holographic sound healer. These are his tools!
Chion Wolf WNPR

You live in an invisible ocean of vibrations caused by the sounds around you. On this show, an almost-creepy experiment shows how the physical changes caused by vibrations can be reverse-engineered to discover the sounds that caused them.

Then, an oncologist, a sonic therapist, and a world-renowned deaf percussionist give their unusual perspective on vibrations.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:13 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Sex and Intimacy When You're Fat

Credit Tiffany Bailey / Creative Commons

According to statistics, one in every three Americans is obese and two of every three are overweight.

While we know that extra fat may set us up for heart disease, diabetes, and musculoskeletal problems, we don't really know how fat affects sex and love.

Read more
Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Talking About Suicide

Robin Williams in a scene from the 2006 film, "The Night Listener."

The recent death of actor Robin Williams left many people shocked, and it re-started the conversation about suicide, its warning signs, and ways to get help. We revisit a show we did about the illness last year.

We also hear a moving story about depression from author Andrew Solomon, who shared it at The Connecticut Forum earlier this year.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri August 22, 2014

America: The "No-Vacation Nation"?

One in four Americans gets no paid time off.
Krystal International Vacation Club Creative Commons

Research shows that using your vacation time can have some major benefits. For one, it’s better for productivity, and -- as one study shows -- it can even be better for your health. But are Americans taking enough time off, or are we really a "no-vacation nation"? 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu August 21, 2014

This Is Your Brain on Poverty

Neil Conway Creative Commons

A recent poll from the the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health found that poverty leads to stress, affecting people’s ways of thinking and their overall health. In our region, researchers and doctors have found that living in poverty can actually hinder brain development.

This hour, we learn more about the psychology of poverty and find out what’s being done to combat some of the the stresses it brings on. We also talk to one researcher who has been looking at the impact of noise pollution on the brain development of children in low-income communities.

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Mental Health
12:03 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Can You Relate to a Sociopath?

Credit Kevin Hutchinson / Creative Commons

"What is your value to the world or to anything if you're not useful?" asked M.E. Thomas, a self-proclaimed sociopath, and author of Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight, on The Colin McEnroe Show Thursday. She continued, "It gets to the fundamental question of what makes humanity valuable, and why we should treat anyone as a person."

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:46 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

The Psychopath Show

Arielle Baskin-Sommers is an assistant professor of Psychology at Yale University
Chion Wolf

You know lots of sociopaths right?

It could be anyone from your ex-spouse to the guy who cut you off on your drive to work today. It's a term we throw around loosely to refer to anyone whoever lied to us or didn't follow the rules. 

Read more
Child Health
10:18 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Children as Young as Ten Battling Eating Disorders

Children younger than ever are struggling with eating disorders.
Wavebreakmedia Ltd. Thinkstock

Thousands of Connecticut adults and children – some as young as ten – struggle with eating disorders with many suffering secretly because the life-threatening psychiatric condition has gone undiagnosed and untreated, experts in the field report.

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Remembrance
7:56 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Robin Williams: A Supreme Talent Who Was Always On

Robin Williams performs during the Sixth Annual Stand Up for Heroes charity event at the Beacon Theatre in New York in 2012.
Mike Coppola Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 11:16 am

For many years, Robin Williams seemed like a talent who had no off switch.

From his standup comedy work to TV roles to talk show appearances to Oscar-caliber movies and performances on Broadway, Williams was a dervish of comedy — tossing off one-liners, biting asides and sidesplitting routines in a blizzard of accents, attitudes and goodhearted energy.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
9:54 am
Thu July 17, 2014

The Prodigy Paradox

Credit Baby Einstein / Creative Commons

In a society which rewards brains over brawn, who better than a prodigy to place your bets on? The answer may surprise you.  

Bobby Fischer was terrible at everything  except chess. His entire life was punctuated by extreme paranoia, bouts of seclusion, and cascading, erratic behavior. Ted Kaczynski, a child math and science prodigy… I don’t have to tell you how that one worked out.  

Thomas Chatterton was writing publishable poetry by the age of 12, and in the immediately ensuing years, wrote work that left its mark on the literature and influenced the  romantic movement. He took his own life with arsenic three months shy of 18. 

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Mental Health
3:30 am
Tue July 15, 2014

When Work Becomes A Haven From Stress At Home

Lucinda Schreiber for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 11:13 am

In the land that came up with the phrase "Thank God it's Friday," and a restaurant chain to capitalize on the sense of relief many feel as the work week ends, researchers made an unusual finding in 2012.

Moms who worked full time reported significantly better physical and mental health than moms who worked part time, research involving more than 2,500 mothers found. And mothers who worked part time reported better health than moms who didn't work at all.

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Mental Health
8:25 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Connecticut Hospitals Responding to Psychiatric Restraint Numbers

Pamela Spiro Wagner and her art.
Davis Dunavin WNPR

Pamela Spiro Wagner's apartment is full of art she's made while in psychiatric care. One piece dominates the room. It looks like a painting at first. It shows a threadbare seclusion room and a restraining bed.

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Good Kind of Stress
3:32 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Like All Animals, We Need Stress. Just Not Too Much

Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 12:09 pm

Ask somebody about stress, and you're likely to hear an outpouring about all the bad things that cause it — and the bad things that result. But if you ask a biologist, you'll hear that stress can be good.

In fact, it's essential.

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War Wounds
8:41 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Years Home, Female Iraq Vets Endure the Wounds of War

After work, Eunice Ramirez finds comfort in a walk at Walnut Beach, Milford.
Tony Bacewicz Connecticut Health I-Team

It’s been nine years since Eunice Ramirez served in Iraq, but she still suffers from war wounds: post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, respiratory problems, and frequent crying triggered by her memories.

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Lifestyle
3:37 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Stress Causes Health Problems, Which Then Cause More Stress

Staci Moritz and her son Aidan, 11, play at a park in their neighborhood in Portland, Ore. Caring for three children and her injured husband exacerbated her health problems.
Beth Nakamura for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 12:38 pm

Stress is bad for your health. And bad health causes a lot of stress.

Poor health and disability are common among people who say they suffer from a lot of stress, according to a national poll by NPR, in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.

And it's not just those whose own health is poor. Serious illness and injury often impose enormous stress on entire families.

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