Mental Health

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.

Regina Greer of the United Way Coaches volunteers at the new community resource drop-in center at the Dellwood Community Center on August 21.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio / St. Louis Public Radio

In the past two weeks, residents in Ferguson have seen familiar businesses broken into and looted, heard gunshots at night and had to drive through police checkpoints to enter their neighborhoods. Some say their trust of law enforcement has been deeply shaken since the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of a Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson.

via Wikimedia Commons

According to the Pew Research Center, hundreds of thousands of Americans could live to see 100 by the year 2050. Women in France, Japan and the United States have already lived past the age of 114. With the now realistic possibility that individuals may live into the triple digits, planning ahead for retirement becomes both more important, and more challenging.

Living Longer

Bradley Schlaggar

  

Most people have heard about the undesirable side effects that chemotherapy has on the body of people suffering from cancer. There's balding, fatigue and loss of appetite, to name a few.

Until recently, however, chemotherapy’s effects on the brain weren’t widely recognized. The cognitive side effects – a  fuzzy memory and poor attention span – were usually dismissed by physicians, scientists and even some cancer patients.

The symptoms have a name: Post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment, or “chemobrain,” among those who suffer from it.

(St. Louis Public Radio file photo)

A video that shows two St. Louis police department officers striking a man has once again put the spotlight on the fraught interaction between police and the mentally ill.

The man, Mario Crump, has a history of mental illness. His family had called police for assistance because he was acting erratically. It’s not clear what happened before and after the 40-second video, which was shot by a family member. The incident happened March 21 at Crump's house in the 4300 block of Lee.

(via Flickr/kcds)

The Newtown massacre has been seared in our collective memory. Gun violence involving teens in St. Louis, especially teens of color, is among the highest in the country.  The emotion in Roxana, Ill., after an April Fool’s prank this week put local focus on the issue. 

 

From school shootings to drive-bys to suicide, the level of exposure children in America today have to gun violence is in the news and on the minds of many. Because of this prevalence, some health care professionals contend that it has become a public health issue.  Among them:

(Courtesy AnthemUSA)

Plans are coming together for Oasis Residential@Emerson, a new supportive living community in St. Louis for veterans and other individuals with mental health issues, said business partners Sherman Strong and Kendall Brune.

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