Mental Health

Audrey just turned 18 and relishes crossing into adulthood: She voted for the first time this year, graduated high school and is college-bound next month. The honors student typically wakes up "a bundle of nerves," she says, which had fueled her work volunteering, playing varsity sports and leading student government.

But for years, she also struggled with anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder — all of which drove her to work harder.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents an encore conversation with Selena Sage, publisher, inspirational speaker and author of Get Free: 7 Simple Steps to Free Your Mind & Live Your Dreams.

Born and raised in Austin, Sage graduated from the LBJ Science Academy (now LASA), and then went on to graduate from Northwestern University's Honors Program of Engineering and Management, with degrees in industrial engineering and business.

A mural that says "Hope" painted on a boarded-up business on Sixth Street.
Michael Minasi / KUT

As the coronavirus pandemic persists, many people are experiencing fear, grief and loneliness as they struggle with layoffs, self-isolation and adapting to a new normal.

NASA Johnson/Flickr (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

Being confined and socially distanced from others during the COVID-19 pandemic is difficult for many people. But it may help to know that some have lived in quasi-isolation successfully, and even managed to learn valuable lessons from the experience.

Julie Walder, a licensed professional counselor, offers therapy sessions through video conferencing, while Austin follows social distancing rules to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Mental health care providers in Austin say they're finding it hard to provide telemedicine services to a big chunk of their patients – particularly those with large employer health plans from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas.

Gabriel Cristover Perez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

The future of the school year in Texas is uncertain, but what kids and parents are experiencing now isn't just one long spring break. For some little ones who are used to play dates and fun, uncertainty about the future, changes in routine and missing their friends can all take a toll. So how do you talk to your kids about coronavirus without alarming them?

Austin police officers huddle during a briefing before the start of the ACL festival in 2019.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin police officers will start attending more mandatory classes on mental health this month after audits found problems with how officers react to people experiencing mental health crises.

The Lasting Effects Of Moderating YouTube Content

Dec 19, 2019
Rego Korosi/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Tech giants Facebook and Google routinely work with third-party companies to monitor the content users put onto their platforms. Accenture is one of those outside contractors, and it operates Google’s largest so-called moderation site in Austin. There, workers spend hours watching and flagging YouTube videos. The problem is that these workers are constantly exposed to disturbing scenes of graphic violence and sexual crimes.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Idopise Umana, a board-certified internal medicine physician who specializes in managing patients with acute and chronic illnesses and founder of The Wellness Institute, located in Suwanee, Ga.

Dr. Umana talks about wellness for the mind, suicides in the U.S., people who inspired her, her nonprofit and why she became a doctor.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The City of Austin does a poor job of tracking the outcomes of people it refers to mental health services, despite the fact that improving access to these providers is one of the city council’s goals over the next couple of years.

Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio

From Texas Standard:

Students in Odessa returned to class on Tuesday, many of them dressed in yellow. It was planned by Odessa High School’s student council to show support, and convey a sense of hope, after the recent mass shooting that killed one of their classmates, 15-year-old Leilah Hernandez.

 On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents a 2018 interview with Dr. Patrice A. Harris, MD, a psychiatrist and president of the American Medical Association. She served for a year as president-elect and became the first African-American woman to lead the organization in 2019.

Harris talks about becoming a physician, her vision for the organization, mental health in the black community, and being the first African-American woman to lead the AMA.

 

Fellowship Baptist/YouTube

Retired Pastor Al Meredith has become a specialist of sorts on the impacts of mass shootings and the long road ahead for victims' families and survivors.

Twenty years ago in September, a gunman walked into Meredith's Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth. He targeted attendees of a youth rally – killing seven and injuring seven more.

In the decades since, Meredith has received calls for advice after many mass shootings.

St. Martin De Porres Catholic Church
Julia Reihs / KUT

At the dedication of the St. Dymphna Center at the St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church in Dripping Springs last February, Father Charlie Garza told parishioners the story of Christopher Rosilier, who had “set the tone” for the previous five years of his pastoral work.

CletusDitto/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

From Texas Standard:

For people who experience psychosis, getting care early on helps them better manage symptoms and lead productive lives. But for those living in rural Texas, care is often impossible to find. And without it, those living with psychosis can struggle to stay employed, maintain relationships or simply move through the world.

State Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, has tried to kill several bills this session.
Juan Figueroa / The Texas Tribune

A major mental health bill prioritized by the state's top leaders as a way to help prevent school shootings was partially revived late Tuesday night hours after it appeared to have been abruptly killed on a technicality during a dramatic night in the Texas House. 

Elizabeth Trovall / Houston Public Media

More low-level misdemeanor offenders will be sent to Harris County’s Judge Ed Emmett Mental Health Diversion Center instead of jail, local officials announced Wednesday.

The issue of improving mental health care across the state seemed like a unifying theme at the outset of this legislative session. It was also highlighted as an emergency item by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who called for more student mental health screenings in response to last year's Santa Fe High School shooting.

Now, it's become the subject of some controversy at the statehouse. 

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Nathan Araya, a documentary filmmaker and founder of All Creative Digital. His current project is a series called "Growing Up In America." The first episode is "Mental Health Is Wealth."

Araya talks about becoming a filmmaker, why he chose mental health as a topic, his Ethiopian heritage, and why meaningful conversations build community and contribute value.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

African-Americans are 20 percent more likely to experience serious mental health issues than the general population, according to Integral Care, which provides mental health care in Travis County.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

The song says "It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year."  But for some, the holiday cannot come and go soon enough because with them come the holiday blues - that feeling of anxiety and depression that can surge at the holidays. But what about more persistent mental illness? How do we as a society handle that?

American Medical Association

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Patrice A. Harris, MD, a psychiatrist and president-elect of the American Medical Association. She'll serve for a year as president-elect and become the first African-American woman to lead the organization in 2019.

Harris talks about becoming a physician, her vision for the organization, mental health in the African-American community, and being the first African-American woman to lead the AMA.

From Texas Standard:

A 2014 Department of State Health Services report found almost three-quarters of Texas counties had no psychiatrists at all. That means Texans seeking mental health in these mostly rural areas often have to drive hours to an appointment – if they can get one at all. But a new program in Midland could offer at least a partial fix.

Caroline Covington

From Texas Standard:

Over the years, Kandice Mallard and her mom Brenda Dagestad  have traveled hours from their home in Abilene to see psychiatrists. First, it was Midland, then Lubbock – about two-and-a-half hours away. Then, they found a Dallas-based doctor who used telemedicine. That meant Kandice could have her appointments locally. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Twelve percent of teenagers in Texas said they attempted suicide in 2017, according to a report released last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's higher than the national average of 7 percent.

Seventeen percent of ninth- through 12th-graders surveyed in Texas said they seriously considered suicide last year, and 14 percent said they had made a plan for how to do it.

Pixabay

From Texas Standard.

As many reacted with shock this week to the deaths of designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, we also learned from the Centers for Disease Control that suicide rates have risen in nearly every state between 1999 and 2016, the latest year for which complete data is available. Though Texas remains below the national rate, suicides have been rising here, too. The state experiences 12.9 suicides per 100,000 Texans. Across the nation, there were more than twice as many suicides as homicides in 2016. The CDC says these trends cannot be linked to any specific medical diagnosis. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard.

In what many would call the "Bible Belt" of the Lone Star State, an ugly reality looms. Communities in East Texas are grappling with a suicide rate that’s higher than any of the other most populous counties in the state.

Montinique Monroe for KUTX

Austin’s a lonely place, but it’s not alone.

A new survey from health insurance giant Cigna found Austin has a higher-than-average concentration of people – particularly, younger people – who feel loneliness or disconnection from those around them.

Sixty percent of Austinites feel loneliness, compared to the 54 percent national average.

Sean Murphy for KUT

Today is officially “Hi, How Are You Day” in Austin – a holiday that both honors onetime Austinite Daniel Johnston and hopes to raise awareness of mental health issues.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

How people get mental health care is being reimagined in Austin.

Dell Medical School and several mental health providers are working together to figure out a better way to decide who gets what kind of care and who is going to give it to them.

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