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Minding Michigan

Minding Michigan is Stateside's ongoing series that examines mental health issues in our state.

Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among adolescents.
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio file photo

Any news story about a teen dying by suicide tears a hole in our hearts. How did it come to this? Were there warning signs? Would I know if my teen struggled with mental health issues and thoughts of suicide?

Michigan State University psychiatrist Dr. Farha Abbasi joined Stateside to talk about what we can do to prevent suicide, the third-leading cause of death among adolescents.

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Plans to change Michigan’s mental health system would take a step forward under a budget plan moving through the Legislature.

The legislation calls for a pilot program in Kent County that would integrate Medicaid's mental and physical health services under private insurers.

Robert White holds a picture of his sons Fred, 46, and Michael, 32, who are both on the autism spectrum.
Joe Linstroth / Michigan Radio

Major changes could be coming tomorrow in the services for people living with a mental illness or a developmental disability in Michigan.

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

Jeff Edwards is on a mission to go into as many schools as possible to talk to as many kids as possible about mental health, depression and suicide.

Edwards is the board chairman of the Southeast Michigan Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and this issue is very personal for him. 
 

His son Chase was 12 years old when he died by suicide in 2003.

Spencer Walz
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Spencer Walz began struggling with anxiety back in grade school.

Now 25, he speaks from hard-won experience when he talks about helping young people struggling with mental health issues, and how best to help them overcome fears that talking about it will cause additional problems.

pictures of rock garden
Courtesy of @GHHSBucs / Twitter

When a teen is depressed and wrestling with thoughts of suicide, the stigma associated with mental illness can be a huge barrier to reaching out for help.

That's why the culture and climate at school is so crucial. Schools need teachers and administrators who know the warning signs of a mental health crisis and what to do next to support their students. 

At Grand Haven Public Schools, six students have died by suicide since 2011. Those tragic losses have spurred the district to revamp the way they talk about mental health. 

kids walking in a school hallway
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Fewer teens  are dying from accidents and disease, but teen deaths from suicide continue to rise.

The Michigan chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is offering two programs to high schools for students, teachers and parents in an effort to address this issue.

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Mental health therapy can take many forms. But what about running?

Sasha Wolff founded a group called “Still I Run.” The group's goal is to encourage people struggling with mental health issues to get out and run. She spoke to Stateside about running for mental health.

The University of Michigan's Comprehensive Cancer Center
cancer.med.umich.edu

The phrase "you have cancer" might be one of the most terrifying collections of words a person can hear in their lifetime.

Many readers have heard that phrase spoken to them, or  have had a close friend or relative experience it. The level of anxiety and other psychological issues that accompany a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming for many people.

To help combat that, there is now a subspecialty of oncology. It’s called psycho-oncology.

Craig Mauger

This story was produced as a collaboration between Michigan Radio and the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. Graphics by Kaye LaFond. 

Michigan lawmakers who will decide whether to hand health insurance plans a major victory this spring have received about $1 million in contributions from committees and executives connected to the plans.

An older woman and a younger girl laugh.
Mohammad Meenhaj Uddin / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

There’s an old adage that laughter is the best medicine. 

Michigan State University psychiatrist Dr. Farha Abassi believes there’s some scientific truth to that. 

A woman in a dark room
https://www.flickr.com/photos/alachuacounty/12178605035/

 

 

When mental illness strikes a loved one, the first person many families turn to is often a faith-based leader: a priest, a minister, a rabbi, or an imam.

The Ninth Annual Muslim Mental Health Conference aims to help clergy do a better job of helping members of their congregation who are suffering from mental illness.

The conference will run April 13-14th at the Michigan State University Department of Psychiatry.

Thanks to the Community Mental Health Authority in Lansing, Jerri Nicole Wright is 26 years sober and is on the "road to recovery".
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The future of mental health in the state of Michigan is at a crossroads. Governor Rick Snyder has $2.4 billion in mental health care funding to spend. Lawmakers and advocates on both sides of the health care debate are trying to determine who should manage that money.

Jerri Nicole Wright is a Lansing resident and longtime consumer of state mental health service. She joined Stateside to talk about her journey through Michigan's mental health care system.

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A personal tragedy can open your eyes to things that had previously been out of sight and out of mind.

For Abby Dart, it was her husband’s suicide in 2004. That loss opened her eyes to the stigma we’ve built up around mental health problems. She believes that stigma killed her husband Steve.

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Some call it the Doubting Disease.

OCD—Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder—is when you've got recurring, uncontrollable thoughts and behaviors. 

A Health Blog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Rick Snyder wants the $2.4 billion in mental health Medicaid money to be turned over to private insurance companies to manage.

He believes that Medicaid funds will be better spent and more people with behavioral issues and mental illnesses will be better served. Mental health would be integrated with physical health under the HMOs.

Many mental health advocates and patients don’t like the idea.

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Trauma comes in many forms: from refugees who were forced to walk over dead bodies as a child on the way to school in a war-torn country, to survivors of sexual assault, to the spiritual trauma many feel living in a nation that is divided and bitter.

Dr. Farha Abbasi, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Michigan State University, joined Stateside to talk about her definition of trauma, what can cause it and how to treat it.

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The question of how to improve Michigan's $2.4 billion mental health care system has been on the front burner for the better part of a year.

The latest twist came when Michigan's 11 Medicaid health plans called on state policy makers to give them a greater say in controlling the system. But it was concern over this very action, of moving control of mental health services out of the public's hands and turning it over to for-profit insurance companies, that sparked the year-long dialogue in the first place.

The move blindsided those who were working on a proposal they thought everyone had agreed upon, including the health plans. Among them is Kevin Fischer, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Michigan

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Type the words “holiday depression” into Google search and you will get nearly a million hits.

It's tough enough when you're feeling down, feeling completely out of step with everybody else. But it's even tougher now, during the holidays, with those messages of cheer, those "tidings of comfort and joy."

Dr. Farha Abbasi, a Michigan State University psychiatrist, joined Stateside today to talk about navigating the holiday season if you, or someone you care about, are struggling with depression.

Gov. Rick Snyder formed a workgroup that made 69 recommendations on how the state of Michigan should manage and improve its mental health care system. The question is, how many of those recommendations will be turned into actual policies?
gophouse.com

Early this year, Governor Rick Snyder sent shock waves through Michigan's mental health care community when his proposed 2017 budget included changes in who would control the purse strings.

The Governor proposed taking much of the $2.4 billion mental health care system and switching that from public mental health organizations to private HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations).

A workgroup made up of state officials, mental health advocates, insurance industry representatives, state mental health providers, and others were formed to look at the issue.

Last week the group released a draft report that, in essence, saw the state reversing its course on shifting mental health funding, at least for now.

person shaking prescription pills from bottle into hand
flickr user frankileon / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan has a fierce fight on its hands. A fight to keep people out of the clutches of opioid and heroin addiction. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services offers some stunning numbers that show how badly this fight is going. 

In 1999 there were 99 heroin or opioid overdose deaths. In 2014, that number climbed to 1,001. 

That's 10 times as many deaths in just 15 years.

Chris O'Droski and Caitlin Darfler told us that many people struggling with addiction simply don't know there are alternative to Alchoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous
flickr user Chris Yarzab / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

When it comes to finding a pathway to helping an addict to recovery, most people and most courts think of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

The popular view is that AA and NA are the only ways for someone to get clean and sober, and stay that way.

But there are other options, organizations like SMART Recovery, LifeRing Secular Recovery and the Buddhist Recovery Network

For some, these alternatives can do what AA and NA could not.

flickr user Satya Murthy / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0


The holidays can be a happy time, but gathering family members around the Thanksgiving table can also resurrect tensions and old resentments.

Courtesy of Marcel Price

It's a real challenge to talk about mental health issues and challenges — even more so when you're young, when you feel like an "other."

Marcel Price is tackling that challenge through poetry and spoken word. As "Fable The Poet,” this young Michigander writes about mental wellness. And in his work with Mental Health America, he's traveling to high schools around Michigan and across the country, helping kids understand their shared struggles.

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What do we really mean when we talk about mental health and mental illness? We use those terms so often, but do we really understand what we’re talking about?

Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program Facebook page

Dr. Perry Baird was a Texas-born and Harvard-trained physician. In the '20s and '30s, his medical career was on the rise. And he became more and more interested in what caused “manic depression,” as it was known at the time.

Today, we know it as bipolar disorder.

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"Hearing voices" is known as an auditory hallucination. The Mental Health Foundation tells us that it may or may not be associated with a mental health problem.

It's the most common type of hallucination in people with disorders such as schizophrenia. 

There's a stigma that follows such hallucinations. If you speak openly about hearing voices, you're likely to be labeled, medicated, even hospitalized. 

But the Hearing Voices Network thinks it has another way to help people understand and learn to live with those voices. 

Courtesy of 5iveit Entertainment

As part of our series "Minding Michigan," we explore mental health issues in our state.

Today, we introduce you to Patrick Cleland, better known as Rick Chyme.

He’s a rapper from West Michigan who's been collaborating with local artists from around the state and has several project in the works.

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Rick Snyder has put forth a proposal to privatize all or part of Michigan's mental health system. The governor has suggested $2.4 billion be shifted to Medicaid HMOs rather than public mental health organizations, according to reports in Crain’s Detroit Business.

Lieutenant Gov. Brian Calley has been heading up discussions with work group of public mental health agencies and advocacy groups. But it appears those talks have broken down.

Dr. Daniel Maixner says depictions of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), like this one in the TV show "Homeland," have harmed the public's perceptions of the treatment. Dr. Maixner calls ECT a "miracle."
Image from the program "Homeland" / Showtime

In the latest edition of Stateside's series Minding Michigan, which explores mental health issues in our state, we take a closer look at electro-convulsive therapy (ECT). 

ECT is largely known as "electroshock therapy," but many in the field consider that to be an outdated term. ECT is a mental health treatment that can be effective for some patients with certain disorders. However, largely because of the way its been portrayed in film or television, ECT is wrapped in stigma and misconception. The University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry has just opened a new mental health unit that expands its ability to offer electro-convulsive therapy to patients.

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