mental health

When I was in elementary school more than half a century ago, there was still widespread ignorance about mental illness.

There were also no home computers, no thought of smart phones, no internet and virtually no seatbelts in cars. Black people were called Negroes, not allowed to vote in many states, and nobody imagined they’d ever see an African-American president.

ArborWiki.org

Washtenaw County officials are concerned about how state cuts to general funds that provide mental health services are affecting the community. 

Felicia Brabec is a chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners.

Michigan State University

This week will bring a gathering of doctors, psychologists, social workers and religious leaders to Dearborn for the 7th Annual Muslim Mental Health Conference.

It's the only conference of its kind in the nation, if not in the world.

Dr. Farha Abbasi is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Michigan State University and a practicing Muslim. She founded this conference in 2008.

texting with a cell phone
Alton / Creative Commons

The idea of a teen crisis line isn't new.

But think about it: When's the last time you've seen a teenager pick up a phone, dial a number and call someone?

The average teen sends some 2,000 text messages a month.

You’d have a hard time finding anyone with deeper Detroit roots than Milton Mack, Wayne County’s Chief Probate Judge. Two of his ancestors were in the canoes with Cadillac when he landed and founded the city on July 24, 1701.

Michigan Radio

It’s estimated that in the United States some 22 veterans commit suicide every day.

“It is a tragedy, one that we have to deal with,” Michigan Democratic Senator Gary Peters said. “In my mind we have a sacred obligation to take care of those who have served us overseas, so we need to address it immediately.”

Pat Ibbotson/"Eloise: Poorhouse, Farm, Asylum and Hospital 1839-1984"

We recently stumbled across some cool, old photographs of life at one of the most well-known psychiatric hospitals in Michigan: Eloise.

Celebrating the holidays was an important part of life for the people who lived and worked at Eloise, which was located a few miles outside Detroit in Wayne County. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

About 20% of Michigan’s inmates suffer from some kind of mental health condition.

So if the state could divert people away from prison and into treatment, the prison population would drop.

That’s the thinking behind a “diversion” program being tested in a few areas of Michigan.

Image from an MRI brain scan video.
Jon Olav Eikenes / Flickr

LANSING, Mich. - Michigan is expanding efforts to offer more treatment options for people with mental illness and developmental disabilities who are at risk of being imprisoned.

Two separate investigations are looking into reports of patient and staff abuse at the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital.  

The state-run hospital has been embroiled in controversy since a patient died from a lack of oxygen in March.

Meanwhile, staff at the hospital are being repeatedly injured by violent patients, says AFSCME's Stacie Dineen.

Jennifer Guerra from the State of Opportunity team checks in with members of two Michigan tribes about some of the issues faced by the young people in their community.

A pilot program to help student-athletes cope with mental health problems is under way at the University of Michigan.

Daniel Eisenberg, associate professor at the U of M School of Public Health, is responsible for evaluating the program's effectiveness. He said the program aims to educate student-athletes about mental health issues – and to reduce the stigma of getting help.

Sue Day / Flickr

Parenting a mentally ill child can be one of life's greatest challenges.

When you keep asking questions, keep searching for mental health care that can help your child, you may not get the right answers.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Alvarez is the Public Insight journalist for the State of Opportunity project.

MDCH

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - Admissions to the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital are on hold while investigators examine allegations that patient rights were violated.

A spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Community Health tells the Kalamazoo Gazette that 17 hospital staff members have been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation. She says her department will continue looking into the allegations and respond with appropriate action.

She says although the hospital isn't currently admitting more patients, it will still take information for potential admissions.

Tiffany Tuttle has been called a combination of Sarah Silverman and Don Rickles – which she takes as a big compliment. The clinical psychologist just self-published a book called "Being and Awesomeness: Get Rad, Stay Rad."

She told Michigan Radio's Kyle Norris that the book is for people who want to learn more about the internal workings of their minds. Listen to that interview here:

The book is available for $5 or you can download it for free at Tuttle's website, drtifftutts.com.

User: lanier67 / Flickr

Have you ever noticed there are certain places where smokers seem to congregate? How about mental health agencies? People with mental illness are far more likely to smoke than the rest of the population.

Part of the problem is that smoking has been seen as therapeutic for people with anxiety or schizophrenia. But advocates in northern Michigan say the short-term effects of nicotine don't outweigh the long-term consequences of smoking.

And they say it’s time to help a vulnerable population quit.

Interlochen Public Radio’s Linda Stephan reported on the initiative.

*Listen to the full story above.

Michigan Photography

When you think of a team of student athletes, the phrase "game face" comes to mind. When they face their opponents, they don’t blink. They are there to win.

Now, imagine being a part of that "suck-it-up" culture as the young athletes struggle with mental illness, with depression. 

Will Heininger knows how it felt like. As he played for the University of Michigan as a lineman, he was battling with severe depression.

Heininger says it was incredibly difficult dealing with the hopeless feelings, but he didn’t know what depression was at the time, because it wasn’t talked about when he was growing up.

“At first, I really tried to do the athlete thing: 'I'm tougher than this I'm gonna beat it, and just grind it out' ...and, of course, that made it way, way worse," says Heininger.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Supreme Court has ordered a judge to undergo a mental health exam.

The judge's name was not disclosed in an order released Friday. The judge's attorney, Brian Einhorn, says the judge went on leave earlier this year because of a physical problem and remains off the bench. He declined to elaborate.

The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission wants the judge suspended, but the Supreme Court didn't go that far. The court says the judge must be examined for "psychiatric disorders."

uofmhealth.org

The National Institute of Mental Health tells us that some 5.7 million American adults struggle with bipolar disorder. 

A critical part of managing the disorder is the ability to sense when the mood swings are about to happen – something the patient isn't aware of – and get that patient to a physician straight away for help.

A research team at the University of Michigan is working on a smartphone program called PRIORI. It detects mood swings through voice analysis of phone conversations, while still protecting the patient's privacy. 

Dr. Melvin McInnis is one of the researchers. He's a psychiatrist and a bipolar specialist, and he joined us on Stateside. 

*Listen to the full interview above. 

The good news is that there seems to be increasing interest in mental health issues at all levels of government.

Yesterday, the Michigan Health and Wellness Commission released a new report on improving mental health services in this state. This was a special, bipartisan commission including four legislators, chaired by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.

The study, “Improving Quality of Life by Supporting Independence and Self-Determination” is available online.

It is short, straightforward, and easy to understand.

It calls for legislative action, and calls on all of us to reassess the way we view, as well as treat, those with mental illness and developmental disabilities.

Michigan House Republicans

A state commission that’s looking at an overhaul of mental health services has released a sweeping set of proposals.

The last big overhaul of the mental health system wrapped up in the early 1990s, when most of the state’s psychiatric hospitals were closed.  

This commission convened by Gov. Rick Snyder found there are still barriers to helping people with mental health issues live productively. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder is proud of the substantial changes he and lawmakers made to Michigan's health care landscape in 2013.

Almost a half-million low-income adults will qualify for government health insurance through an expansion of Medicaid. An overhaul of Blue Cross Blue Shield is creating a nearly $1.6 billion health endowment fund.

More low-income children are eligible for dental coverage.

My guess is that we think too much about football and not enough about mental illness, especially perhaps at holiday season.

But the fact is that millions of us are trapped in our own private hells. According to a report last year from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association, about one in every five Americans suffer from some sort of mental illness. For 5% of us, the suffering is severe.

The association estimated that more than eleven million adults suffered from severe mental illness in one recent year. Nearly nine million had serious thoughts of suicide, and a million actually tried to kill themselves. Yet we tend to take insufficient notice of the mentally ill, at least until someone walks into a school and begins shooting.

cswe.org

Social workers in Michigan are starting to wear many hats as health-care reform is implemented.

The expansion of Medicaid and the establishment of the state Health Insurance Exchange is expanding health-care coverage to hundreds of thousands of Michiganders.

Robert Sheehan is the executive director of the Community Mental Health Authority of Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham Counties.

He says all the changes healthcare are broadening the scope of social workers.

Brian Turner / Flickr

The Michigan state House approved a package of bills that could lead to more mental health courts around the state. Now the omnibus bill is being sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

But how exactly do these courts work? Which defendants would be allowed to be a part of a mental health court — and which would not?

One champion of the mental health courts is Judge Milton Mack, the chief probate judge in Wayne County. He explains what’s driven him to take on this cause, and what sort of human toll he’s seen from the bench.

Listen to the full interview above.

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

AG calls for state regulation for compounding centers

"Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is calling for tighter regulation of Michigan’s 470 compounding pharmacies. Compounding pharmacies mix customized medicines based on doctors’ prescriptions. A compounding pharmacy based in Massachusetts was responsible for the medication that caused a nationwide meningitis outbreak a year ago," Rick Pluta reports.

Mental health courts legislation moves forward

"Legislation meant to strengthen Michigan’s mental health courts system has cleared the state House. The alternative courts allow certain offenders with severe mental health issues to avoid jail time and have charges erased from public records. That’s if they participate in treatment programs under the supervision of a judge," Jake Neher reports.

House approves raising cost to request a recount

"The Michigan House has voted to make candidates pay more to request a recount of ballots cast in an election. The legislation would increase to $25 the per-precinct deposit required to initiate a recount of votes in state or local elections. It now costs $10 per precinct," the Associated Press reports.

Michigan House Republicans / gophouse.org

A plan to expand mental health courts in Michigan seems to be gaining momentum in the state Legislature. A state House panel unanimously approved the bill Thursday.

People diagnosed with conditions like severe depression and schizophrenia can avoid jail time and have certain charges erased from public records if they participate in mental health treatment programs under the supervision of a judge.

At the same time, they can get help finding jobs, education opportunities, and housing.

State Rep. Kevin Cotter (R-Mount Pleasant) chairs the state House Judiciary Committee. He says alternative courts get results and could save the state money in the long-term.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Plan to expand mental health courts moves forward

"A plan to expand mental health courts in Michigan seems to be gaining momentum in the state Legislature. A state House panel unanimously approved the legislation Thursday. People with serious mental health issues can avoid jail time and have certain charges erased from public records if they participate in treatment programs," Jake Neher reports.

State Bar wants to end anonymous campaign donations

"The State Bar of Michigan says it’s time to end anonymous campaign spending in elections for judges and Supreme Court justices. It’s asking the state’s top elections official to require committees that pay for so-called “issue ads” to reveal their donors," Rick Pluta reports.

Another Michigan community has gay rights ordinance

A Flint area community has approved an ordinance that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. According to the Associated Press, "The City Council in Linden voted this week to approve the ordinance covering employment, housing, public services and other areas."

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Schizophrenia affects nearly 2.4 million Americans. The mental disorder enables patients to feel like they are "hearing voices," and have difficulty with change.

Now, Michigan State University researchers have made a discovery that could help treat some symptoms of Schizophrenia. While current antipsychotic drugs are able to reduce hallucinations, the new study finds information that may eventually help patients cope with other symptoms. These include trouble responding to change, lack of motivation, and the inability to experience pleasure.

There are many ideas and strategies being talked about for how to keep young people in Michigan. On today's show:  we spoke with one young writer who says it's simply not enough.

And we heard about how refugees, having survived physical and psychological traumas in their home countries, are getting mental health services here in Michigan.

Also, Rick Pluta gave us an update on ex-Justice Diane Hathaway, who was sentenced for fraud in federal court today in Ann Arbor.

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