Mental Health

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.

Nanette Hegamin

Scholars involved in a five-part study that examines the well-being of African Americans in the St. Louis region will seek public feedback on their research during a forum on March 3 at the Forest Park Visitor Center. The session, from 2 to 5 p.m., is free, but participants must sign up through the event registration page.

Blunt Praises Community Mental Health Supports

Jan 11, 2014

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., toured the Independence Center in St. Louis Saturday, aiming to draw attention to mental health legislation and the importance of community mental health centers. 

Blunt is trying to drum up support for legislation he has co-sponsored to expand community mental health services. The proposed legislation would create a pilot program in 10 states establishing criteria for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Gage Skidmore | Flickr

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., is optimistic that actress Glenn Close may help his cause to expand government access to treatment for those dealing with mental illness.

“I’m hopeful this is something we can get done,’’ Blunt told reporters in a conference call this week.

Mental health, he contended, has been shortchanged.  Unlike other medical issues,  mental health “has not been looked at as a society or government as something we want to deal with.”

Jason Purnell
Washington University

Third Brief: For the Sake of All

The third brief of a groundbreaking and interdisciplinary study on African American health in St. Louis examines how mental health affects social and economic opportunities.

The latest brief in the “For the Sake of All” study asks how we can improve mental health in St. Louis. 

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In the '60s, it often seemed OK to ridicule serious social issues, including mental illness. The book "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest" took aim at the administration of an institution in the Pacific Northwest. The real world of mental health policies began to change, however, in 1963, a year after the book was published, when a watershed federal law, the Community Mental Health Act, took effect.

(via Flickr/stevendepolo)

When mental illness hits the headlines, it's usually connected to mass shootings or suicides. The focus is on mental illness as the reason for a tragedy, and increases the stigma against an already misunderstood  condition, says Mike Keller, executive director of the Independence Center in the Central West End. According to Keller, that kind of negative media exposure has created a human rights emergency.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: La’Shay Williams, a graphic artist, likes nothing better than spending time creating fancy brochures, colorful outfits or even a striking mural that attests to the peace she feels since shaking off the taunting voices of demons in her head. Those imaginary voices used to fill her with rage as they drew her into expletive-filled shouting matches that made her “forget what peace was like.”

(via Flickr/NWABR)

A multi-disciplinary study released today finds that in relation to school dropout rates, health plays a bigger role than one might think.

The study is part of ‘For The Sake of All,’ a five part series from Washington University and Saint Louis University that focuses on the health of African Americans in the St. Louis region.

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