mental health | KERA News

mental health

Recovery coaches and peer mentors – known in Alcoholics Anonymous as "sponsors" — have for decades helped people who are addicted to alcohol or drugs. Now, peer support for people who have serious mental illness is becoming more common, too. Particularly in places like Texas, where mental health professionals are in short supply, paid peer counselors are filling a gap.

It was about a year ago that Ornella Mouketou walked into the emergency room at the George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., and told them she wanted to end her life.

She was in her early 20s, unemployed and depressed.

"I was just walking around endlessly. I was walking around parks, and I was just crying all the time," she says. "It was like an empty black hole."

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Telemedicine, which connects doctors and patients virtually, has made a big difference in North Texas schools for students with physical issues.

This fall, the same technology will be available to connect students and their behavioral therapists in a pilot program from Children's Health.

Gerry Realin says he wishes he had never become a police officer.

Realin, 37, was part of the hazmat team that responded to the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando on June 12, 2016. He spent four hours taking care of the dead inside the club. Now, triggers like a Sharpie marker or a white sheet yank him out of the moment and back to the nightclub, where they used Sharpies to list the victims that night and white sheets to cover them.

Lauren Silverman / KERA

Maybe you’ve heard of sponsors or recovery coaches to help with drug and alcohol addiction. How about for mental health? In the last decade, peer support for people with serious mental illness has hit mainstream.

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Nine in 10 Texans think it's harder to talk about a mental health condition than a physical health issue. The one place where it’s easier to talk about mental rather than physical health seems to be in the Texas Legislature, where a handful of bills are speeding through the House with near unanimous support. Among them is a bill to help enforce coverage of mental health benefits.

 

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On any given day, about 5,000 inmates are held in Dallas County’s Lew Sterrett Justice Center. A third of them have some kind of mental illness.

Texas House Approves Bill Focused On Mental Health Insurance Benefits

Apr 4, 2017
Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune

Texas House members endorsed a bill Tuesday that would prevent health insurance companies from offering mental health benefits differently from medical benefits and offer more help for consumers who believe their insurance is wrongly denying them coverage.

By a 57-43 margin, the Republican-led Senate voted Wednesday to repeal an Obama-era regulation designed to block certain mentally ill people from purchasing firearms. The vote, which approves a House resolution passed earlier this month, now sends the measure to the White House for President Trump's signature.

Updated Feb. 3 at 4:45 p.m. ET

On Thursday the GOP-controlled House voted to overturn an Obama administration rule designed to keep firearms out of the hands of some people deemed mentally ill.

The action was the latest move by congressional Republicans to undo several of President Obama's regulations on issues such as gun control and the environment through an arcane law called the Congressional Review Act.

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Most of us experience stress at some point in our lives, personally or professionally. Here's a look at what actually causes that reaction in the body and some steps to relieve stress.

Lauren Silverman / KERA

Traditionally, ambulance crews arrive with sirens blaring — ready to rush someone to the hospital. In Fort Worth, some paramedics are doing the opposite and scheduling visits to treat patients in their homes. It's known as "mobile integrated health care," and a ride along shows it's gaining traction.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

A big city library has turned around the way it handles some of its most marginalized visitors. The Dallas Public Library has committed to not just tolerating—but welcoming—every homeless person who walks through the door.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The Dallas Commission on Homelessness recently published a 51-page report recommending strategies to tackle the city's significant homeless issue. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Keeping young kids focused in school can be tough. That’s why the Dallas Independent School District and Dallas Yoga Center are working together to create a mindfulness meditation program for students and teachers.  

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: Almost 100,000 more voters turned out early in Dallas County this election than in 2012; local artists are helping asylum seekers tell their stories; the Dallas Zoo won a prestigious award for gorilla protection; and more.

Stephen Becker / KERA News

Four months before his granddaughter, Mariel, was born, American writer Ernest Hemingway shot himself in a cabin in Idaho. He struggled with addiction – and his suicide was one of several in the Hemingway family. 

In case you needed more evidence of the toll this divisive campaign is taking on America, a new survey says more than a third of social media users are "worn out" by the amount of political content they encounter.

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Music and art have thrived in Dallas’s Deep Ellum neighborhood since the 1920s. But over the past six years, at least a dozen of the artists and musicians that called those four blocks their creative home have taken their lives. Fortunately, there’s a group in Deep Ellum with deep roots to the neighborhood and its music scene that hopes to prevent suicides in the creative community. 

To Help Rehabilitate Juveniles, Texas Keeping Them Closer To Home

Oct 2, 2016
Jennifer Whitney / The Texas Tribune

More than a year after state lawmakers told it to stop incarcerating so many teenagers, the Texas Juvenile Justice Department has diverted 52 juvenile offenders to local programs for help and rehabilitation instead of shipping them to state lockups.

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Video gamers will opt to lose sleep if they're about to reach a new level or accomplish a satisfying goal. But some gamers can acquire what's called "sleep debt" if they're unable to stop playing, according to new research.

Why Doctors Are So Quick To Diagnose ADHD

Sep 19, 2016
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About 10 percent of American children are diagnosed with ADHD. There’s evidence, though, that suggests many people who have been told they have the condition may not.

Today on Think, Krys Boyd talked with Alan Schwarz, author of “ADHD Nation: Children, Doctors, Big Pharma, and the Making of an American Epidemic,” about kids who are misdiagnosed.

The KERA Interview

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Susan Hawk announced her resignation as Dallas County district attorney Tuesday afternoon so she can focus on her mental health.

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A new study from UT Southwestern Medical Center has found work productivity can be a key factor in measuring a patient’s recovery. The study’s lead author explains.

Christopher Connelly/KERA News

One of the most difficult challenges for police after traumatic events, like the July 7 shootings, is getting officers the counseling and mental health services they need. Many have to be convinced to seek out help. But that “tough-guy” attitude of police departments in the past might slowly be melting away. 

Here's Why Texas Students Wait Weeks For Basic Mental Health Services

Aug 9, 2016
University of Houston

By the fall of her sophomore year at the University of Houston, Mariellee Aurelio had already thought of several ways to kill herself.

STEPHANIE KUO

In 2004, Steve Papania was patrolling Kirkuk, Iraq, as a rifleman in the U.S. Army. He’d enlisted immediately after 9/11.

WIKIPEDIA

If you thought you knew Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe or Albert Einstein, think again. 

Imagine this. You're a 15-year-old student in a remote village with maybe a couple of hundred residents, miles from the nearest town. There's no TV. Cellphone service is spotty. The dirt road to your village floods regularly. Your link to the outside world is the family wind-up radio.

Timberlawn

State health officials want to close one of the oldest psychiatric hospitals in Texas. Timberlawn Mental Health System in East Dallas has had a series of violations, including a suicide and fights between patients, dating back to 2009.

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