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Minding Michigan

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

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The world is still reeling from the recent deaths of designer Kate Spade and chef and writer Anthony Bourdain. These tragedies have drawn the country's attention as rates of suicide continue to climb.

 

Emergency room hospital
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There are few moments more stressful than witnessing your child in the grips of a mental health crisis.

In Kent County, parents who are in the middle of that situation can turn to the Children's Crisis Response Team operated by network180, the community mental health authority in Kent County.

Andrew Boekestein manages the team made up of mental health clinicians. He spoke with Stateside about the need for more services for kids experiencing a mental health crisis. 

Paula Reeves
Joe Linstroth / Michigan Radio

Last week, a 17-year old student opened fire at Santa Fe High School. He left 10 dead and 10 more injured.

With every mass shooting in the United States comes a cry to address the issue of mental health. Lawmakers say we need to identify these troubled kids — and get them mental health resources before something terrible happens.

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If certain health providers and legislators get their way, Michigan's mental health system could soon be privatized.

Pretty much everyone agrees that closer coordination of mental and physical health care would be a good thing for patients.

After all, the mind is connected to the body, but just how to get there has been up for fierce debate going on two years now.

Cynthia Canty / Michigan Radio

When do you know the time has come to seek mental health care? Then, where do you go? To whom do you turn?

It's a critical question in the quest for mental health and wellness, and we don't tend to think about it until there's a crisis.

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Mental health agencies around the state say the Department of Health and Human Services refuses to acknowledge a funding shortage that’s leaving some of those agencies in serious deficit.

Tens of thousands of people eligible for Disabled, Aged, and Blind (DAB) Medicaid assistance have been transferred to the Healthy Michigan Plan. According to the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan, the problem with that is this: The base rate paid to agencies to serve those people through Medicaid is $267. Under Healthy Michigan, it’s $29 plus another $15 under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

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Minding Michigan is Stateside’s ongoing series exploring mental health and wellness issues in our state. Today, the focus turns to suicide.

One person in Michigan dies by suicide around every six hours, and according to the CDC, men are four times more likely to die by suicide.

The state is making a concerted effort to reach out to men through a project called Healthy Men Michigan. The goal is to promote mental wellness among men in our state aged 25-64.

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Last month's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida prompted the President to call for more attention to mental health.

That's a common response to these violent events – Sandy Hook, Columbine, Las Vegas, the theater shooting in Colorado, and so many more.

So how should we think about mental health in the wake of tragedies like these?

Michigan Radio

Growing up in Alabama and Kalamazoo, Calvin Greene always felt different. He thought his hyperactivity couldn't simply be a product of an energetic personality. But it wouldn’t be until after he was awarded parole in his mid-twenties, though, that he would receive a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Bipolar Disorder.

But Greene’s treatment process would come with unique challenges due to the stigma attached to issues of mental health within the African-American community.  

An elderly Italian woman with Alzheimer's.
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Every 66 seconds, someone in this country is diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. It's the sixth leading cause of death in the United Stateside, and as our nation gets older, that incidence will increase.

Courtesy of Jim Mangi

Traditional wedding vows talk about “for better or for worse … in sickness and in health.”

When your wife has Alzheimer's disease, and you’re her caregiver, you learn what those words truly mean.

The progression of a cleanup of a room of someone with hoarding disorder.
Hoarding Task Force of Washtenaw County

For a while, the show Hoarders was popular on cable.

A show about people who just can’t stop hoarding things in their homes. Bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms are piled high with paper, dishes, clothes, food. Doors can’t open. Sometimes there are too many animals in the house. People with hoarding disorder put themselves – and sometimes others – in danger.

The TV show resolves the issue with a lot of drama and tears, and the problem, at least what the viewer sees, is all taken care of in one or two episodes.

But life doesn’t work that way, and for a long time, there just wasn’t a lot of help available for people with hoarding disorder.

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When President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency, he offered some ideas for tackling this national emergency. He didn't offer specific plans or funding for implementation, however.

One of those ideas was telemedicine, which might be especially helpful where America's opioid crisis is at its worst: rural areas.

Jamey Lister, an assistant professor of social work at Wayne State University, joined Stateside to discuss the future of telemedicine and its potential to serve rural populations.

Listen to the full conversation above, or read highlights below.

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The recent publication of Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury focused our attention on President Trump's fitness to hold office.

Wolff claims White House aides harbor deep concerns about the president's mental health, although those same aides publicly deny that.

Brain Imaging Research Division / Wayne State University School of Medicine

Talking about mental illness goes hand in hand with talking about stigma, that fear of being judged or having one’s symptoms blamed on bad behavior rather than a disease. Stigma keeps people from seeking the help they need for their mental illness, but what if patients and families could see their mental illness?

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One of the very top mental health concerns in this country is anxiety. It’s sometimes hard to be clear about what anxiety is and how to recognize it, especially in children, but identifying a mental health issue like anxiety early on can make a huge difference for a child’s future success.

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Digital technology has infused our lives. And while it brings many benefits, we’re paying a price for having our brains constantly plugged into the digital world. At special risk: children and adolescents.

Just what is the effect of screen time on kids and parents, and what should we do about it?

An older woman and a younger girl laugh.
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There’s an old adage that laughter is the best medicine. 

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

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.

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College campuses are filling up with students again, which means all the associated stress is returning to campuses too.

Da Capo Press, 2017

He was a welcome presence on ESPN and ABC for decades. During his 30 years at ESPN, John Saunders lived every sports fan’s dream job.

But even as this one-time Western Michigan University hockey player rose to become one of the country’s most popular sportscasters, he secretly battled depression – and endured personal traumas that are hard to believe.

Courtesy of the Dawson family

On yesterday's Stateside, we heard about a young Flint man named Justin Dawson.

Tony Dawson is Justin's grandmother.

"He's 28 years old, but I would say mentally probably about seven or eight years old," she said. "He's always been a good boy. He did graduate from special ed classes – just way behind, way behind mentally."

Courtesy of the Dawson family

What happens to someone when they're found mentally incompetent to stand trial in Michigan? One Flint man's story offers some clues.

Justin Lee Dawson is severely developmentally disabled. Though Dawson is 28 years old, his family says he has the IQ of a six-year-old child.

african american woman leaning against door frame
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The Next Idea

We live in a world of stereotypes, as disappointing as that can be sometimes.

Here’s one of them: black women never take any guff from anyone and they are always strong.

No one is always strong. Bad things happen in life, and we all experience tragedies. So when an African-American woman is struggling with loss, struggling with grief, where can she turn?

Courtesty of K. Foster-Goodrich

Marcel Price is on a mission: use poetry and the spoken word to encourage young people to open up about mental health and wellness.

As "Fable the Poet," this young Michigander has been visiting high schools around Michigan and across the country, helping kids understand their shared struggles.

And now he's taking it national with something he's calling "The Unpacking Tour."

COURTESTY OF SHELDON HILL

Is there hope for a new life after being addicted to drugs or selling drugs?

Detroiter Sheldon Hill is proof there is.

After years of selling and using drugs, and multiple arrests, Hill went into an addiction recovery program. He was in his 40s. And it worked.

Today, Hill's sole mission in life is to keep others from making the mistakes and choices he made as a young man.

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For more than a hundred years, medical practitioners have been trying to figure out post-traumatic stress disorder.

Assistant Professor of Practice Marisa Brandt and Associate Professor of Philosophy Robyn Bluhm, from Michigan State University, recently published an article in The Conversation which tells the story of the invisible trauma caused by war and the sometimes barbaric treatments doctors used on soldiers returning home with PTSD.

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.

kids in hallway
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.

brain scan
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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.

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