Mental Health

LEARN NC, UNC School of Education.

Photographer Jon Crispin spent five years shooting a collection of more than 400 suitcases discovered in an attic at the Willard Psychiatric Center in upstate New York. The intimate portraits are widely acclaimed for adding a layer of humanity to patients who might otherwise only be remembered by their hollow medical records.

Durham County Jail
Laura Candler

The Durham County Sheriff's office has received more than $275,000 in federal and local funding to improve mental health services for inmates at the Durham County Detention Facility.

Frank Taylor / Carolina Public Press

A private company that owns mental health care facilities in western North Carolina is coming under fire for its treatment record and its insensitive corporation name: Nutz R Us.

One family tells the Carolina Public Press that it had little control over their son's placement in a Nutz R Us facility because a private guardianship company was making his treatment decisions. The CPP investigation found the state has little oversight of the industry.

An image of a mortar board crossed out.
Michael Kellen / Wikipedia

Researchers at Duke University have new, concrete evidence that dropping out of high school leads to joblessness, hardship and incarceration. But the same study also reveals ways to help dropouts have more positive outcomes.

The popularity of the tiny house such as this one has grown in recent years due to its exposure on television. Thava Mahadevan sees a purpose for tiny houses in mental healthcare.
Tammy Strobel / Flickr Creative Commons

A village of tiny homes to house people with mental illnesses could be coming to northern Chatham County.

Many people with mental illnesses live on a federal income of about $750 per month, called the Supplemental Security Income, which creates a challenge for them to find safe and affordable housing.

First responders in Guilford County have administered hundreds of doses of Naloxone, or NARCAN, this year. Heroin overdoses and deaths are on the rise.
Jeff Tiberii

Members of a task force on mental illness are developing policy recommendations for state legislators.

The task force was called for by Gov. Pat McCrory, and is made up of about 30 people who are considering how to improve issues of mental illness, substance abuse, public housing, and support systems throughout the state.  State officials are optimistic a task force on mental health can have an impact.

A picture of a bed in an emergency room.
Jacob Windham from Mobile, USA / Wikipedia

North Carolina would need to increase the number of beds at its psychiatric hospital in Butner by 165 percent to get the waiting list down to one day.

Researchers from UNC's Gillings School of Global Public Health published their findings in the journal Psychiatric Services.

A picture of an elderly couple holding hands.
Garry Knight / Flickr

The federal Administration for Community Living has awarded Orange County $900,000 over the next three years to help make the community a more inclusive place for families touched by Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

Right Image Photography, Inc.

Mental healthcare practices in the United States have changed quite a bit in the past two centuries. State hospitals and asylums once housed the great majority of mentally ill individuals, but definitions for what constituted mental illness were often vague and included conditions like epilepsy and PMS. In the 1950s and 60s, government officials pushed towards the deinstitutionalization of mental health care, and many individuals experiencing mental illness were released into the community.

A picture of Wyatt Bond.
StoryDriven Media Group / wearestorydriven.com

September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and N.C. State University's Counseling Center is trying to get people talking about it.

Clinical social workers Noah Martinson and Daniel Goldstein launched a campaign called #StoptheStigma. They and StoryDriven Media Group  released a video featuring three NCSU students talking about surviving their own suicide attempts.

A picture of a crying person.
Joe Penna / flickr.com/photos/pennajoe/2539202649

North Carolina's new Mental Health and Substance Abuse task force meets for the first time Tuesday.

A picture of assorted pills.
e-Magine Art / Flickr

Some mental health patients in rural Nash and Vance Counties are getting help from local nurses and technicians to keep their medications straight at home.

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust has given more than $2 million to fund the program, administered by the North Carolina Hospital Association.

Julia Wacker manages the Mobile Medicine Program for the NCHA.

Image of Glen Warren and his three children
Glen Warren

Glen Warren vividly remembers the first moments of single fatherhood: he was standing in the living room of his new mobile home with his three kids, and he quickly realized that he had no idea how to make them dinner. 

In the coming years he learned how to piece together meals, filed for child support, and worked multiple jobs to put food on the table. And through all of this, he became increasingly certain about one thing: fatherhood is incredibly important. 

Image of Chapman in Shanghai with Professor Meihua Zhu, on the left, a former visiting scholar at UNC.
Mimi Chapman

The power of art is not lost on Mimi Chapman. She is a professor at the UNC School of Social Work who believes that art can have a profound impact on people’s ability to empathize. She also studies how art can help illuminate conscious and unconscious biases and affect how people treat one another.

Meet TROSA Founder Kevin McDonald

Apr 20, 2015
Kevin McDonald is the founder of TROSA.
trosainc.org

Throughout his youth, Kevin McDonald was searching for a sense of belonging.

His father was in the U.S. Air Force, which meant his family moved a lot during McDonald’s childhood. Wherever they moved, McDonald felt severe anxiety in his constantly changing social situation. 

His life in the home came with another set of challenges.

"My mother was very, very abusive. Physically and emotionally," he told host Frank Stasio on WUNC’s The State of Things.

Flickr user Ben Re

Almost one out of every 10 people in the United States has a firearm at home and has shown a propensity for impulsive angry behavior, according to an academic analysis led by a Duke University professor and published this month.
 

The analysis, which relied on an early 2000s in-person interviews with more than 5,000 people across the country, concludes that individuals showing impulsive angry behavior are more likely than people diagnosed with a mental illness to engage in gun violence.

The Housecleaner Project

In the last two decades, international migration to North Carolina has increased dramatically and more than half of the state’s foreign-born population is Latino. 

A picture of a woman with a hand on her face.
Send me adrift / Flickr

Cape Fear Valley's new Roxie Avenue Behavioral Healthcare Center is up and running.

Behavioral Health Services Director Doug Webster says the Fayetteville facility is meant to free up beds in the hospital, where people can wait days for mental health treatment.

Webster says, left untreated, such crises can escalate.

North Carolina also has behavioral health centers in Durham and Raleigh. In Fayetteville, Webster says they’re serving members of the military and civilians alike.

Photo: Death row inmates are housed at Central Prison in Raleigh. No executions have been carried out in North Carolina since 2006.
North Carolina Department of Public Safety

About 12 percent of the inmates in North Carolina's prisons are mentally ill, state prisons administrators told lawmakers at a hearing this week.

Administrators, including David Guice, the commissioner for the state Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice, said the they're starting a re-structuring of how they handle the roughly 4,600 mentally ill inmates. They're beginning to concentrate transfer some inmates and concentrate some services in some locations - instead of having them spread among the roughly 37,000 inmate population throughout the system's 56 facilities.

    

On March 12, 2014, Michael Anthony Kerr, an inmate at the Alexander Correctional Institution, died from dehydration en route to a hospital in Raleigh.

The treatment of Mr. Kerr in days leading up to his death have led to many questions as well as investigations by the US Attorney’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigation.

A picture of a screaming child.
Mindaugas Danys / Creative Commons

Holly Hill Hospital is hosting the grand opening of a new children's campus today. The hospital says it's working to meet a growing need for inpatient psychiatric beds that has left many in the community waiting in emergency rooms for behavioral health treatment.

North Carolina's chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness supports the creation of the facility. But the group's president, Mike Mayer, says the state has a long way to go.

A DNA rendering
YNSE / Flickr

An international team of researchers has made landmark progress on the study of Schizophrenia.

A consortium co-founded by the University of North Carolina's Patrick Sullivan reports that it's identified 108 points of genetic variation in people with the illness.

A picture of lights on a police car.
Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku / Flickr Creative Commons

Police and community leaders in Fayetteville are working on a local incarnation of the Silent Siren program to help veterans in an emergency.

Fayetteville police responded last week to a call from a woman whose husband, a soldier, was parked outside a Walmart threatening to kill himself. Police approached the stand off without lights, sirens and shouting.  They were able get the soldier help.

Fayetteville wants to expand that gentle approach for emergencies involving veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or traumatic brain injury.

Police Training
Nashville.gov

In the early morning hours of November 19, Durham  youth Jesus Huerta left home. His family called 911, reported him as a troubled runaway and noted his drug problem. A Durham police officer located Huerta, frisked him, cuffed him, and put him in the back of a cruiser. Moments later, the 17 year-old was dead from a gunshot to the head. His family questions the circumstances surrounding his death.

Friends and relatives posted pictures like these of Jesus Huerta around Durham, NC
Leoneda Inge

  

Jesus Huerta died from a gunshot wound while in police custody last November. Did officers know he was at risk of killing himself? The teen's family says yes.

Durham authorities have said the officer on the scene, Samuel Duncan, had not been told the 17-year-old threatened to kill himself and used drugs before the officer picked him up the morning of Nov. 19.

But the attorney representing Huerta’s family questions that and points to this radio communication in which officers talk about Huerta having a history of drug abuse:

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