Mental Health

Lee Smith Explores History Through Fiction

Dec 3, 2013
Algonquin Books

  

In her latest novel, Chapel Hill author Lee Smith tells the story of Asheville's Highland Hospital, a pioneering mental institution that once housed Zelda Fitzgerald.

"Guests on Earth" (Algonquin/2013), reveals this real-life history through the prism of fiction, all while exploring the relationship between creativity and madness. Frank Stasio talks with Lee Smith about her new book.

Teens at a high school football game
Brad Barlow / Flickr

More than half of teens with psychiatric disorders go untreated, and those who do get help often get it from non-mental health specialists, according to a study co-authored by Duke University researchers this month.

 About 45 percent of teens who have a psychiatric disorder received treatment in the 12 months prior to the study, and those getting help most often receive it from school counselors, pediatricians or probation officers.  

HealthServe is closing in Greensboro this week and 20,000 people will have to find a medical provider elsewhere.
Flickr.com

State health officials are trying to cut the number of people with behavioral disorders who end up in the Emergency Room. 

The Department of Health and Human Services says it's creating an advisory panel of health experts and patient advocates.  The group's job will be to recommend improvements at the local level for mental health and substance abuse services. 

Division of Mental Health director Dave Richard says there's apparent confusion about where to send those patients now that the state has moved away from community mental health centers.

iUniverse, Lucy Daniels

  At 22 years old, Lucy Daniels was a best-selling author and a Guggenheim Award winner.  But she spent five years hospitalized for severe anorexia and the trauma of sudden success led Daniels to stop writing for much of her adult life.  After a 40 year gap, Lucy Daniels took up writing again.  Host Frank Stasio speaks with Daniels, a writer and clinical psychologist, about her newest book, “Walking with Moonshine: My Life in Stories” (iUniverse/ 2013).

Wikimedia Commons

    

Schizophrenia is a frightening disease, characterized by audio and visual hallucinations.

A researcher at Duke University thinks he may have a clue as to how the auditory hallucinations occur.

Duke neurobiologist Richard Mooney said there is a long history of research that indicates that the way we hear is influenced by what we see happening around us.

UNC Health Care has opened a new mental hospital in Wake County after building repairs caused a two-month delay. 

Duke released a new study that looks at the high depression rate in clergy members.
public domain

A new study from Duke shows that clergy have a higher rate of anxiety and depression than the national average. The study, conducted by the Clergy Health Initiative at Duke Divinity School, surveyed all United Methodist Clergy in North Carolina and found that their depression rate was 8.7 percent, which is higher than the national average of 5.5 percent. Anxiety rates were 13.5 percent.

Melody Moezzi's 'Haldol and Hyacinths'
Avery Publishing

    

Melody Moezzi has always been outspoken. As an Iranian-American writer and attorney, she has devoted herself to discussing controversial issues like religion, politics and culture in Iran. But when she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, her family and doctors encouraged silence. On this issue, they thought, you could not speak the truth. Melody would not be quiet. She decided to write a memoir of her experiences so that others with the disorder, and those who know them, could better understand. The memoir is called “Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life,” (Avery/2013). Host Frank Stasio talks to her about her experience.

a pharmicist
NC Department of Health and Human Services

Behavioral health clinics in Wake County are shutting down today. That means about 2,000 people who have mental illnesses and rely on Medicaid are transitioning to treatment from private providers, but the county has been under a time crunch to transfer patients and some doctors worry theirs are falling through the cracks.

Margery Sved is a psychiatrist with Wake County Health and Human Services and one of 200 people who are being laid off today.

Wright School
Wright School

Lawmakers will make many choices when they decide on a final state budget in the coming days. One of them will be whether or not to keep open the Wright School, a residential facility in Durham that treats children from across the state who have serious emotional and behavioral disorders.

a pharmacist
NC Department of Health and Human Services

Differences in state budget proposals are prompting mental health advocates to rally for more spending on group homes and treatment. 

Gov. Pat McCrory's budget increases spending on mental health by about 2 percent over the next two years.  But the state Senate's plan cuts about 3 percent. 

The Seventh Angel By Alex McKeithen
http://www.theseventhangelbook.com/

When Alex McKeithen was a junior at Davidson College in the late '80s, his life changed. He was visiting Paris and studying art when one day he found himself stripping naked in public and proclaiming himself the seventh angel of the apocalypse. It was the beginning of an undiagnosed episode of bipolar disorder, and that experience is the focus of his memoir, "The Seventh Angel" (Lorimer Press/2012).

Aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Aaron 'tango' Tang via Flickr, Creative Commons

Mental health experts in Fayetteville are hosting a community forum on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder a week after the bombings at the Boston Marathon.

Surveys showed older adults who play video games scored higher on well-being tests than those who don't.
Anne McLaughlin / ncsu.edu

Researchers at N.C. State say playing video games might have positive psychological effects later in life.  A report released this week says a study of people who were 63 or older found those who play video or computer games at least occasionally reported more positive emotions in a mental health survey than those who don't.


"There's a whole gaming industry that's focused on the 12-year-old to 21-year-old demographic," says Dr. Jason Allaire, lead author of the study.

What is this ability to step into someone else’s shoes? To imagine how they feel, to hurt for them or to be happy for them? 


Mental health is a focus of national dialogue in the wake of mass shootings around the country. What makes people kill, seemingly without remorse?

An audit of the Veterans Affairs office in Fayetteville says employees have not conducted proper follow-up procedures for veterans at a high risk of suicide.  Federal policy calls for offices to get in touch with high-risk patients for a month after they visit the VA hospital.  The audit says the Fayetteville office followed up with patients for two weeks in nine out of ten cases.  Fayetteville VA executive director Elizabeth Goolsby says the office has a large case load of high-risk patients.

"We regret that is the circumstance that they found," Goolsby says.

GO INTERACTIVE WELLNESS, Flickr, Creative Commons

Treatment for mental illness that is safe, healthy, and not too expensive can be hard to find. But new research from  Duke University suggests that yoga might be effective in treating certain psychiatric symptoms.

The Latino immigrant population faces a host of unique problems when it comes to mental health treatment. Migration trauma and separation issues are just a few of their struggles. The population in North Carolina is underserved, which is why a group of mental health professionals formed the group El Futuro. The group serves the mental health needs of the state’s Latino population, and it is hosting a conference this Friday on the topic. Host Frank Stasio talks about Latino mental health with Luke Smith, executive director of El Futuro; and Karla Siu, clinical manager at El Futuro.

What is this ability to step into someone else’s shoes? To imagine how they feel - and to hurt for them or be happy for them?  Host Frank Stasio is joined by a panel of experts to discuss empathy, the trait that makes us uniquely human.

A public-private partnership is doing a good job of taking care of people suffering from mental illness. --- That, according to a new report from The North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research.

Three-way contracts were instituted more than four years ago as part of a new initiative from the Division of Mental Health. The contracts allow the state to buy beds in local hospitals to provide care for people who are in crisis. Mebane Rash is an Attorney with state Center for Public Policy Research.

DSM-V

Dec 13, 2012

The bible of the psychiatric community is undergoing a major revision. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illness or DSM has just approved its fifth revision. The DSM-V includes big changes to certain categories, including depression, dementia and autism. Some say the changes go too far.

On Tuesday, North Carolina’s Council of State is expected to decide whether to lease a huge tract of land to the City of Raleigh to create a park. The more than 300 acre site is home to what used to be the state’s Dorothea Dix psychiatric hospital, which is now closed. Many civic and business leaders support the idea of creating a downtown park in Raleigh. But lawmakers have spoken out against it, saying Governor Perdue is moving too quickly with the project.

Duke Medicine is leading a collaboration with the Durham public schools and local agencies to develop better-integrated mental health care for children. Helen Egger is a child psychiatrist at Duke and leads the initiative. She says too often kids with psychiatric disorders are shuffled between schools, hospitals, and law enforcement- each addressing the problems on their own terms. Egger wants to develop school-based models that can fill in the gaps between services.

It's the end of an era. The last mental health patient has been transferred from Dorothea Dix hospital in Raleigh to the newer Central Regional in Butner. The closure has been in the works for more than a decade. Lucky Welsh oversees the network of state psychiatric hospitals for the Department of Health and Human Services:

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