mental health

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."

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.

Last year, some 8,100 refugees and asylum seekers fled their home countries and came to Michigan hoping to start a new life.

Many of these people might have wanted to stay at home, but war and organized violence made it impossible, and the United States opened its doors to them.

The World Health Organization estimates a full 50 percent of these refugees are suffering from mental illness.

The doctors and therapists who work with these refugees believe that number is too low.

What is life like for these wartime refugees and asylum seekers in Michigan? And what's being done to ease their transition into their new life and help treat these people as they suffer from psychiatric disabilities?

Hussam Abdulkhalleq is the program supervisor at the ACCESS Psychosocial Rehabilitation Center in Dearborn, the largest Arab-American human services non-profit in the nation.

He joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Michigan aims to identify health risk behaviors

Mar 23, 2013

Michigan is rolling out new guidelines designed to help health providers better identify teens with high-risk behaviors.

The statewide guidelines recommend that adolescents be assessed for health-risk behaviors, such as violence, at least once a year. They also recommend that health care providers use one of four screening tools to ensure adolescents are consistently screened statewide.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says high-risk behaviors are the primary cause of the death or serious injury of about three-quarters of teens.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Feeling the blues?

University of Michigan researchers say so called ‘retail therapy’ can help.

Official portrait

Governor Rick Snyder has called for a review of how Michigan provides mental health services.

The governor has signed two executive orders to come up with recommendations.The executive orders create two separate commissions.

Both of them will be led by Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley.

One major goal is to identify gaps that send people to jails and prisons instead of to programs that could treat their illnesses.

The plans also include teaching police, teachers, and clergy to spot signs of mental illness, earlier intervention for children with mental health issues, and helping more people get into treatment instead of being sent to jail or prison.

Administration officials say this will be the first thorough review of mental health services in Michigan since the state shut down its psychiatric hospitals in favor of community-based programs in the early 1990’s

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder is taking steps aimed at improving mental health services in Michigan.

The Republican governor issued two executive orders Wednesday to bolster mental health initiatives in the state.

The first creates a Mental Health and Wellness Commission. The commission will be led by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and will advise the Michigan Department of Community Health on ways to strengthen mental health services.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Governor Rick Snyder says he has concerns about whether Michigan's health care system could handle the increased number of patients if the state agrees to expand Medicaid eligibility.

The Republican has said one of the benefits of opting in to an expansion under the Affordable Health Care Act is it would allow the state to significantly expand assistance for those who need mental health care.

Snyder said Friday that he hasn't made his decision but will announce it during his budget address on February 7th.

Stateside: Assessing mental health in Michigan

Jan 16, 2013

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

Today we looked at Michigan's treatment of mental health.

Milton Mack, Chief Judge of Michigan County Probate Court, and Dr. Michele Reid, Medical Director of Detroit-Wayne County Community Mental Health Agency, spoke with Cyndy about the ways we treat mental health.

“I see case after case of people who didn’t get timely treatment. We have a mental health model in Michigan which is based on inpatient, but we live in an outpatient world….Today we know that early intervention helps people survive,” said Mack.

Stateside: Understanding depression in teens

Dec 11, 2012

Depression in teens is a serious illness with a difficult diagnosis.

To better understand how to effectively communicate with one’s child we spoke with two men from the University of Michigan Depression Center.

Dr. Richard Dopp is a psychiatrist who specializes in teenage depression. And Eric Hipple, a former quarterback for the Detroit Lions, is the Center’s Outreach Coordinator.

“There is a lot of news that goes out when there is the loss of a teen. What we see over time is certain populations will have an increase in suicide, but what you are actually seeing is more people are talking about it,” said Dopp.

Ozone House website

The holidays often highlight family and special meals. But those can be delicate issues for some people, including homeless kids.  Pam Cornell-Allen is Associate Director of Ozone House, a non-profit that helps homeless youth in Washtenaw County. She says the holidays focus on a sense of family, and that can be a tender subject for homeless kids.

About a quarter of Michigan's 43,000 state prisoners are mentally ill, and new Michigan Corrections Director Dan Heyns says he wants to shift responsibility for their treatment from his department to other agencies.

Heyns says in an interview with The Detroit News that his department "has had a kind of mission creep over the years." He says the department needs to return to its original mission.

Anathea Utley / Flickr

With the news of the world's first "Tickle Spa" opening in Madrid last week, the BBC's James Coomarasamy spoke with Carrie Graham, a Laughter and Happiness Coach based in London.

Graham conducts laughter workshops in which participants are "pretend tickled" if they're not familiar with each other, and full-on tickled if they are.

Naturally, Graham had to try out a little tickle therapy on her BBC interviewer.

Have a listen:

Feel better? You can listen to the full interview from the BBC Newshour (click on chapter 10).

Simon Brass / Flickr

A coalition of mental health advocates is calling on the state Department of Corrections to alter its policy of moving as many prisoners as possible from brand-name prescriptions to generic drugs.

The Department says the new policy will save taxpayers’ money without endangering prisoners’ health.

The Mental Health/Justice Coalition says the policy is too sweeping when it comes to inmates with mental illnesses. The Coalition includes inmates’ families, psychiatrists, judges, and attorneys.

Peggy Christian is the mother of an inmate:

Simon Brass / Flickr

The state's prison system is in line for some budget cuts like a lot of other parts of the state government.

Now, a recent audit says the prison system could save more in prescription costs.

From the Associated Press:

DETROIT (AP) - State auditors say Michigan could have saved millions of dollars by choosing lower-cost alternatives to a mental-health drug that is widely prescribed in prisons.

The audit released Friday says psychotropic drugs are dominating the cost of prescriptions in the prison system. They added up to more than $8 million from January through July last year - 41 percent of all pharmaceuticals.

Seroquel is the most prescribed antipsychotic drug. Auditors say the Corrections Department could have saved $350,000 a month by switching just half of those prescriptions to a drug called Risperdal.

The Corrections Department says it's taking steps to control costs. The audit also found that prisoners are not being charged for over-the-counter medicine even if they can afford it.

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter speaks at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Muse
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Rosalynn Carter is in Grand Rapids raising awareness of mental illness. She's promoting her new book about how to end what she calls a "national mental health care crisis."