Mental Health

Director Desarie Holmes cuts a ribbon to mark the opening of Behavioral Health Services at Touchette Regional Hospital in Centreville.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

As officials at Touchette Regional Hospital cut a bright red ribbon on Tuesday for the opening of a new behavioral health center, another Metro East hospital made preparations to close its own division for the same type of care. 

About 2 percent of children in the U.S. experience at least one episode of depression before reaching puberty.
Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

Depression very early in life can affect the way a child’s brain develops.

A new study by researchers at Washington University is the first to link early childhood depression to physical changes in the developing brain.

Ryan Melaugh | Flickr, Creative Commons | http://bit.ly/1ISisnU

The bustle of office parties, gift-giving and family get-togethers are usually part of the build-up to a joyful holiday season but, for some, the season sometimes brings with it a feeling of sadness. In fact, the holiday blues are not all that uncommon at all.

Tim Bono, assistant dean and lecturer in psychology at Washington University, joined “St. Louis on the Air” on Wednesday to discuss these feelings of depression during the holidays—as well as what to do if you know someone who seems a bit more down during this time of year. 

Turkeys are basted, stuffing is stuffed, the green bean casserole is in the oven—Thanksgiving is just around the corner. There’s just one more thing to consider: How should you handle difficult and oftentimes divisive subject matter that comes up at the Thanksgiving dinner table?

Public health emergencies can range from weather-related emergencies to disease outbreaks to civil unrest.
Robert Boston | Washington University

The St. Louis region faces a wide range of potential public health crises, including natural disasters like tornados and floods, infectious disease epidemics and civil unrest.

Our ability to respond to such emergencies will be the focus of a conference on Thursday hosted annually by Washington University’s Institute for Public Health.

Amonderez Green (top right) with his mother, Lakea Green, and his younger siblings.
provided by the Green family.

The family of an 18-year-old who died of a gunshot wound to the face last week in Normandy after exchanging gunfire with a police officer is disputing police accounts that he was suicidal.

According to St. Louis County Police, Amonderez Green exchanged gunfire with a Normandy officer Wednesday, after officers from both the Normandy and Ferguson police departments responded to a call for crisis intervention. Police say family members called police for help. A police report released Thursday said the only bullet to hit Green appeared to be self-inflicted.

But members of Green’s family say that’s not the actions of the Amonderez they know. 

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

About 80 people, clustered around tables, bent their heads and waited for the voices to start.

“Don’t answer,” a woman’s voice warned as a phone rang. “They’ll know who you are.”

A line of police face off with protesters on West Florissant Ave., last Sunday night.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Fearing for your safety or that of your family; witnessing violence; and the repeated, chronic stress of a traumatic event’s aftermath can all leave mental and emotional scars. Mental health professionals caution that last year's events in Ferguson have likely placed people at risk for developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.

With the hopes that they can help people work through their trauma, researchers from the University of Missouri-St. Louis are trying measure the scope of PTSD in the region, triggered by the Ferguson protests.

On a recent Saturday, Irma Moore and her daughters BreaDora, 11, Lydia, 6, Laura, 4 and Elizabeth, 7 months, visited a longtime Ferguson staple for ice cream cones.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

The first time I met the Moore family, it was in the middle of the night.

On August 17, 2014, protests in Ferguson took a violent turn. After reports of a shooting, police forced demonstrators to disperse with tear gas and rubber bullets. In her suburban home just a few blocks away, Irma Moore and her five children were huddled together on the couch, watching the events on television.

Updated at 10:45 pm to correct spelling of psychiatric in headline.

A proposed outpatient psychiatric treatment facility for uninsured adolescents and children will get an additional $2 million in federal funding.

The city agency that oversees the distribution of federal Community Development Block Grant dollars plans to re-distribute about $7 million in unspent funds from prior years. Some of the leftover money dates back to 2008. Block grants run on a Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 schedule.

Wreath of Sanity by Eileen Cheong, art therapist
Nancy Fowler

One out of every four people will experience mental illness in any given year. And 100 percent of them can be artists, according to an exhibit at UMSL’s Gallery 210.

St. Louis County Crisis Intervention Team officers respond to as many as 60 calls per week involving a person with a mental health issue, according to Sgt. Jeremy Romo.
Jason Rojas | Flickr

Do police do enough to de-escalate encounters with people who may be mentally ill? Why do police use guns against a person with possible mental health issues who is armed with only a knife?

These are questions that seem to crop up after any incident in which police use deadly force against someone who seems to suffer from mental health issues. They arose last week after the fatal police shooting of a man with a history of mental illness in Jennings, and after the death of Kajieme Powell last year in St. Louis.

(via Flickr/M Glasgow)

A panel of community organizers, anti-violence experts and Washington University professors are seeking solutions to reduce the number of shooting deaths by identifying gun violence as a public health crisis.

Gun violence hits the St. Louis region in a profound way. Here are just a few of the numbers: 

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

BJC HealthCare took over operations of a 25-bed, psychiatric acute-care hospital near the West End neighborhood in St. Louis on Wednesday. BJC officials said the move was necessary because the psychiatric hospital was financially unstable.

Jonathan Bailey | NIH

Every day, LaDonna Haley talks to patients who can’t find a psychiatrist or counselor who takes new clients in the St. Louis area. She estimates that 10 percent of those callers live in a rural county.

47-year-old David Whitt has a checkup at a new clinic co-located at Places for People.
Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

For people struggling with homelessness, addiction or severe mental illness, visiting a primary care doctor may be the last thing on their mind. But community mental health providers, including St. Louis-based Places for People, are starting to offer primary care services to their clients in the hopes of reducing rates of premature death among people with mental illness.     

Child therapist Anita Blackwell (right) attends a workshop for Emotional Emancipation Circles on December 6, 2014 at Harris Stowe University.
Durrie Bouscaren / St. Louis Public Radio

“My soul is grieving. Our collective soul is grieving,” Dr. Cheryl Tawede Grills said as she opened her training session for psychologists establishing therapy groups in a post-Ferguson world.  

The groups are called Emotional Emancipation Circles, or EEC’s, and they’re conducted in a specific way: create a safe space for people to talk about the racism they experience. Validate that experience. And give participants emotional tools to go forward.

In 17 days, Mark and Eric Norwine walked 200 miles across Missouri. They hope that the documentary about that trek will help change how people talk about mental health.

Along with mental health advocates and law enforcement officials, St. Louis County Police Sergeant Jeremy Romo coordinates the St. Louis-Area Crisis Intervention Team program.

The program trains officers to respond to people in a mental health crisis. As St. Louis Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reported for NPR Tuesday morning, the need for this service becomes more pronounced as funding for mental health services declines in many communities.  

Jonathan Bailey | NIH

New research from Washington University suggests that schizophrenia is actually a group of eight distinct disorders, each with a different genetic basis.

The findings could eventually open the door to earlier diagnosis and treatment of this debilitating mental disorder, which affects more than 3 million people in the United States.

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