Mental Health

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.

Emil Pakarklis/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The first few days of the school year are an anxious time for most kids. But there’s a group whose levels of stress and anxiety are so high that they can only be compared to those who have experienced trauma.

Silvia Zuvieta Rodriguez is one of them.

“Since I was little I always had anxiety when it came to my parents not coming home at a certain time,” she says.

Matt Lankes Photography

Austin Mayor Steve Adler joined mayors across the country in drawing attention to mental health as part of the National Mayors' Mental Health Day of Action on Wednesday. He called on Congress to protect mental health services in the American Health Care Act, which, if passed in its current state, would leave many people without access to mental health care in Travis County.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Depending on what thermometer you’re looking at, this year’s average temperature has been between 5 and 7 degrees hotter than usual so far in Austin. That could set 2017 up to be one of Austin’s hottest years ever.  People who research climate change already know a lot about how warmer temperatures disrupt human activity. But hot days may have an impact on our mental health that we’re only just starting to understand.

Courtesy of Jesse McCrum

People keep secrets for a lot of reasons. Imagine not feeling like you could share something fundamental about yourself with the people in your life. That’s the situation for many people diagnosed with a mental illness. They fear the misunderstanding, judgment or rejection that could come with sharing the details of their situation with others.  

Austin Clubhouse provides rehabilitation and support for adults who have severe and persistent mental illness, with treatment that focuses on quality of life issues. Member Jesse McCrum sat down with KUT to discuss his experience and the impact the Clubhouse has had on his life. 

Stefano Corso/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Editor's note: This story uses first names only because of an ongoing case with Child Protective Services.

Since at least the 1970s, researchers in Texas have been calling substance use a "family affair." A study by the Texas Research Institute's Drug Abuse Clinic compared two groups of families similar to each other in every aspect – from socio-economic status to ethnic background. The only difference was that one group had at least one family member who was an addict. The study found fathers dealing with drugs were critical and arrogant, mothers were disenfranchised and children were bitter and resentful.

That was in the '70s, but the story is not so different today.


Anna Casey/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Editor’s note: Some of the stories in this post may be disturbing to young readers.

Camp Brave Heart sits just outside of Wimberley, near the Blanco River. It looks just like any other American summer camp. But here the swimming, bonfires and camp songs are secondary to the main mission.

All Brave Heart’s campers have experienced the recent loss of a loved one.

 


Courtesy Alex Horton

From Texas Standard:

The parents of Army Captain Humayun Khan have spent the last few days in the national spotlight, clashing with Donald Trump. The Khans are just one couple among the millions of parents whose children have gone to war. But the spotlight has illuminated the agonies and anxiety that military parents struggle with but seldom talk about openly.

Alex Horton, a Texan who served 15 months in Iraq as an army infantryman, is now a national reporter for Stars and Stripes. He recently wrote about his parents' experience while he was gone.

 


Caleb Bryant Miller/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

Out of the Blue: 50 Years After the UT Tower Shooting” is Texas Standard’s oral history on the anniversary of the first public mass shooting of its kind. Throughout the week, we'll be bringing you more stories about the impact the shooting had on Texas and the world.

The University at Texas at Austin motto is meant to inspire: "What starts here changes the world."

Mental illness can be hard to acknowledge or talk about. Two Austinites who are educators and advocates with the National Alliance on Mental Illness want to help people get past that. And they’re focusing on the African American community.

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