WBEZ | Mental Health http://www.wbez.org/tags/mental-health Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Improviser finds purpose in Chicago police mental health crisis trainings http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/improviser-finds-purpose-chicago-police-mental-health-crisis-trainings-111274 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 141219 Clark Weber.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In 2004, the Chicago Police Department implemented a voluntary training program to deal with mental health emergencies.</p><p>Today, Chicago has the <a href="http://www.namichicago.org/documents/cit_advocacy_sheet.pdf" target="_blank">largest crisis intervention training program in the world</a>, according to Alexa James, Executive Director of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)-Chicago.</p><p>Clark Weber is an essential part of the crisis intervention training. In this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps, Weber describes how he found himself in the greatest role of his life.</p><p>After moving to Chicago in the late 1980s, Weber studied improv at Second City. He loves acting, whether it&rsquo;s theater, television or film. But Weber struggled with depression and suicidal tendencies too. He was diagnosed as bipolar and spent four-and-a-half weeks at a state mental hospital before moving into a group home with Thresholds, a non-profit that assists people with mental illness.</p><p>&ldquo;When I came to Thresholds,&rdquo; Weber said, &ldquo;they had a theater arts program &ndash; which now unfortunately is defunct - and I was told that we have this opportunity to role play with Chicago police to make them aware and see what a real mental health crisis is like.&rdquo;</p><p>Weber soon found himself in the middle of the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training program, roleplaying as a person in distress.</p><p>The role-playing can be intense, Weber said. &ldquo;Officers have play weapons and a real Taser, which is non-functioning. And instead of using force, they try to talk us down. And we have total freedom to insult the police officers. We have total freedom to swear at them, to make it as real as possible.&rdquo;</p><p>If officers feel &ldquo;that the Taser needs to be used, they&rsquo;ll just point it towards us and say, &lsquo;Taser. Taser. Taser.&rsquo; So we&rsquo;re fake-Tased and then we discuss why the officer feels he or she had to do that.&rdquo;</p><p>Pastor Fred Kinsey is a member of ONE Northside, a group that this past year helped get police to increase the number of officers able to go through CIT training. &ldquo;If you have tools to recognize people in crisis, to know what kinds of medications people are on, that helps,&rdquo; Kinsey said. Chicago Police recently doubled the number of officers who are able to receive CIT training each year, Kinsey said. But that doubling of officers - from 200 to 400 officers each year &ndash; is small compared to the number of officers who don&rsquo;t take the training. &ldquo;I&rsquo;d like to see the majority, if not all, officers trained,&rdquo; Kinsey said. The biggest impediment to expanding the training program, he said, is not so much financial, but the time costs of taking officers off the street.</p><p>For Clark Weber, the experience has been transformative. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not saying every day&rsquo;s gonna be a good day, or every day&rsquo;s gonna be a great day. Being bipolar I do have my ups and downs. But I run into officers that I&rsquo;ve helped train or they&rsquo;ve been in a class and they&rsquo;ve watched the videos. And I&rsquo;ve had officers come up to me and said, &lsquo;Because of you I helped save this person&rsquo;s life. Or I helped this person get the treatment that they needed.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s very empowering,&rdquo; Weber says. &ldquo;For the first time in my life, I feel I have a purpose. I have a place in the world.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/improviser-finds-purpose-chicago-police-mental-health-crisis-trainings-111274 Breaking the silence about being bipolar http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/breaking-silence-about-being-bipolar-110988 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 141024 Andrea Tim_bh (1)_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When Andrea Lee was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 20 years ago, she wanted to talk about it all the time.</p><p>&ldquo;Everywhere I went, I would introduce myself and I would try to work in - maybe in the second or third sentence of that conversation &ndash; &lsquo;By the way, I have Bipolar Disorder.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Eventually, though, she realized that people treated her differently.</p><p>&ldquo;So I stopped talking about it,&rdquo; Lee says in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps.</p><p>Now Lee wants to talk about it again.</p><p>She came to the StoryCorps booth in the Chicago Cultural Center earlier this month with her husband, Tim Fister.</p><p>&ldquo;I remember in high school sitting at the lunch table with my friends,&rdquo; Lee says, &ldquo;and there was all this commotion around me and I couldn&rsquo;t hear any of it&hellip;And I remember just putting my head down and feeling so&hellip;empty.&rdquo;</p><p>Later that day, she drove to her family&rsquo;s home and parked in the garage. &ldquo;I was crying and crying. I left the car on and I remember thinking: I could just close the door and I wouldn&rsquo;t have to feel this pain anymore.&rdquo;</p><p>She sat in the car, contemplating suicide. She imagined how her mother would feel when she got home and saw her body slumped in the driver&rsquo;s seat of the car.</p><p>Lee&rsquo;s parents are from Korea and Lee says, &ldquo;There&rsquo;s such a culture of shame in Korea that people would rather suffer in silence then let the world know that they&rsquo;re in pain and that they need help.&rdquo;</p><p>Lee turned the car off and went inside the house.</p><p>Soon after she saw a psychiatrist who prescribed anti-depressants to her. Within a few weeks, the drugs helped lift her spirits. The sky was bluer and the sun was brighter. But what she didn&rsquo;t realize was that she was quickly spiraling into mania.</p><p>A short time later, Lee experienced her first manic episode, and the police brought her to a mental health facility.</p><p>&ldquo;So through all of this stuff that was going on, I&rsquo;m just curious: Did you have anyone to talk to frankly?&rdquo; her husband, Tim Fister, asks. &ldquo;&rsquo;Cause it sounds like your parents were out of the picture.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Yeah, I don&rsquo;t think that in that state of mind I was really able to connect with anyone,&rdquo; Lee says. &ldquo;What was it like for you when you met me and I started telling you about my own mental illness?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;It wasn&rsquo;t really that big of a deal. It was maybe a little bit of a relief &lsquo;cause on both sides of my family there&rsquo;s a fair amount of various levels of mental illness. So it didn&rsquo;t bother me&hellip;that much. You know it&rsquo;s something you think about in terms of the logistics. I still think about that even today, especially now that Juniper&rsquo;s born. What are we going to do if such a thing were to happen? But you know when it&rsquo;s coming. You know the signs. And you know what to do.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;So we&rsquo;ve been married for nine&mdash;no, we&rsquo;ve been married for four years, but we&rsquo;ve been together for nine years, but you&rsquo;ve never seen me in a manic state. How do you feel about that?&rdquo; Lee asks.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s very possible you might never have another manic episode again,&rdquo; Fister says. &ldquo;You&rsquo;re lucky that you found the right combination of meds&hellip; And you have a good support system. You have a good doctor now.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;You know for a long time I didn&rsquo;t want to have a child because I didn&rsquo;t want that child to go through that,&rdquo; Lee says, &ldquo; but then also selfishly if that child committed suicide I didn&rsquo;t know how I would live. I didn&rsquo;t know how I could live with that knowledge: That I knew what that experience was but still decided to get pregnant and to bring a life into the world where that could happen.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;So what turned it around?&rdquo; Fister asks.</p><p>&ldquo;I think that I&rsquo;ve experienced things in our relationship together that made me feel like that chance was worth it,&rdquo; Lee says.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/breaking-silence-about-being-bipolar-110988 Morning Shift: The relationship between mental health and eating http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-05-20/morning-shift-relationship-between-mental-health-and <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/anorexia Flickr schnappischnap.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>May is Mental Health Month, so we take a look at the connection between eating right and mental health. We also look at the latest efforts to get a new trauma center at the University of Chicago Medical Center.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-relationship-between-eatng-and-m/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-relationship-between-eatng-and-m.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-relationship-between-eatng-and-m" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: The relationship between mental health and eating" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 20 May 2014 07:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-05-20/morning-shift-relationship-between-mental-health-and After suicide attempt, college student helps others deal with mental illness http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/after-suicide-attempt-college-student-helps-others-deal-mental-illness-109943 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 1.43.50 PM.png" alt="" /><p><p>Three years ago, Wesleyan college student Molly Jenkins tried to take her own life&mdash;twice.</p><p>Molly told her mom that her suicidal thoughts first began while recovering from a major surgery that left her bedridden.</p><p>After 6 months of therapy at Chicago&rsquo;s Rush Hospital, she returned to college and became a mental health advocate.</p><p><strong>Molly: &ldquo;It was really important for me to come out with this stamp on my forehead that said, &lsquo;I&rsquo;ve attempted suicide and I don&rsquo;t care what you guys think&rsquo; because I knew there were other people who, like me, were suffering in silence.&rdquo;</strong></p><p>To hear Molly and her mother discuss this trying period in their lives for the first time, check out the audio above.</p><p><em>Meredith Zielke is a WBEZ producer. </em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F6250422" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 14:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/after-suicide-attempt-college-student-helps-others-deal-mental-illness-109943 Psychiatric lockouts double in two years http://www.wbez.org/series/front-and-center-work/psychiatric-lockouts-double-two-years-109376 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Lockouts_sh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><i>The names of the family in this article have been changed to protect their privacy.&nbsp;</i></p><p>When parents cannot get a child proper psychiatric care, they sometimes abandon the child and relinquish custody to the state. The state is then required by law to provide services.</p><p>That relinquishment is called a psychiatric lockout. In 2011, 38 families gave up custody in a psychiatric lockout. Now, two years later, that number has doubled to 76. Lawyers, advocates, and service providers say most of these families have reached a point of extreme desperation.</p><p>Sue Franklin says she did.</p><p>She has four kids, two girls and two boys. Sitting on her couch, her toddler daughter snuggles next to her with a book. She says her oldest child, now 17, was usually good with his baby sister. Adam would play games and talk to her very sweetly. But he also suffers from schizophrenia and could change in an instant.</p><p>&ldquo;In one of his fits, he started screaming, &#39;Get me away from her, get me away from her. I am going to hurt her,&#39;&rdquo; said Franklin.</p><p>Franklin said at age 3, Adam would scream for hours on end.</p><p>&ldquo;Then at 11, he started doing really horrible things involving blood and other body orifices and saying he was commanded by the demons. And then he acted confused like he didn&rsquo;t know me,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>After many doctor visits and handfuls of medications, he finally got a drug that worked.&nbsp;Franklin also got Adam into community services funded by the state. For a while things got better. But around age 15, Adam became more aggressive.</p><p>After years of trauma, it seems like Franklin sees her troubles as ordinary. She rattles them off, like a grocery list, counting the incidents on her fingers. &ldquo;We locked up all the knives, he threatened to kill us with them. He was picking up pictures and smashing them. Throwing chairs at us,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>The doctor recommended that Adam go into residential care where he could get around-the-clock services and intense therapy. There is a state grant that pays for that kind of care, and Adam had used it for other services. But Franklin says it denied her request for residential. The state department in charge of that service rejects the claim and says it works to get every child the best services for his or her needs.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/shocking-drop-services-illinois-children-severe-mental-illness-109389">The shocking drop in services for mentally ill children in Illinois</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>Franklin couldn&rsquo;t afford to send Adam to residential on her own. Services can cost more than $100,000. She works as a nurse and her husband is an airplane mechanic. She was terrified they could not give Adam the constant supervision he needed.</p><p>&ldquo;My sisters were thinking, &#39;we are afraid to hear about you on the news&#39;,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Your family is going to be the family where all the children are dead.&rdquo;</p><p>One day, Franklin thought her son was playing video games. It was one way she kept him occupied. She could hear the video game noise playing in the next room.</p><p>Then suddenly the doorbell rang. Her neighbor informed her that Adam had attempted to remove the clothes from a girl who was around 11 years old, while she was jumping on the trampoline in the Franklins&rsquo; backyard. The neighbor&rsquo;s daughter, around the same age, had witnessed it.</p><p>Having few options, Franklin took Adam to the emergency room. Once there, she considered abandoning him, knowing the state would be required to take care of his needs in a way she could not.</p><p>&ldquo;We almost walked out four times,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;We made it past the nurse station, and she was like, &lsquo;I am calling DCFS, right now.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Franklin worried her nurse&rsquo;s license could be revoked if they were charged with neglect by DCFS, the Department of Children and Family Services. She also worried the agency might take away Adam&rsquo;s siblings.</p><p>So instead she filed a police report about Adam&rsquo;s actions and says she sent it to the state agency from which she needed approval for residential. She said she never heard back.<br /><br />Franklin did not make eye contact when she told the next part of the story. Her eyes were fixed on an invisible spot on the floor. She sat very still, as if in a trance. A digital photo frame, showing pictures of her smiling kids, flashed over her shoulder.</p><p>She said shortly after the first incident with the neighbor, Adam did the unthinkable to his adolescent sister: &ldquo;My daughter in shock came running into the next room. He had forced himself on her and chased [her] up to her room. She locked the door. She came out because she thought it was clear, and he forced himself on her again. Thankfully he didn&rsquo;t get her clothes off.&rdquo;</p><p>This time, Franklin took Adam to the police station. Because of where and how he touched his sister, it was considered molestation.</p><p>&ldquo;It was determined that he could no longer be in our home, by DCFS. And we actually agreed with them,&rdquo; said Franklin.</p><p>In the end, Franklin did not have to abandon Adam. Franklin says DCFS took custody and deemed it a no-fault dependency case. She is heartbroken to have lost custody, but is thankful Adam is in residential care.</p><p>Attorney Brooke Whitted works with families who have mentally ill youths. He is also president of the board that runs the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School, a prominent residential care facility and school for mentally ill youth.</p><p>He said psychiatric lockouts have become common enough recently that he actually keeps a memo on hand to explain it to families.</p><p>&ldquo;Custody relinquishment is an increasing issue because of people&rsquo;s increasing desperation to get services for their kids,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>One service Whitted says should catch some these youths is called the Individual Care Grant (ICG). It pays for severely mentally ill kids to get residential and community care. But over the past few years, the grant has become increasingly hard to get.</p><p>In 2006, 124 Illinois youth were approved for the grant. In 2013, only 11 were approved -- in the whole state.</p><p>Heather O&#39;Donnell works at the mental health advocacy organization, Thresholds.</p><p>She said the psychiatric lockouts are not unique to Illinois. &ldquo;This does happen in other states. But other states have laws to protect against it and they adequately fund the services that are necessary like the ICG program and other services for children and young adults,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>A spokesperson from the Illinois Division of Mental Health says it is only responsible for a small slice of the services meant for these youths. It is currently reviewing the ICG and advocates are watching the process closely. So are parents like Susan Franklin who had an ICG and tried to use it to help Adam.</p><p>&ldquo;My daughter should have never been victimized. That girl should have never been victimized,&rdquo; said Franklin.</p></p> Sat, 14 Dec 2013 11:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/front-and-center-work/psychiatric-lockouts-double-two-years-109376 Morning Shift: The stories and voices of those who served http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-11-11/morning-shift-stories-and-voices-those-who-served <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/by USAG-Humphreys.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It&#39;s Veterans Day and Morning Shift is taking a look at an arts organization that helps vets cope with mental health issues, and examining the issues that recent veterans and older veterans face.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-stories-and-voices-of-those-who/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-stories-and-voices-of-those-who.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-stories-and-voices-of-those-who" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: The stories and voices of those who served" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 11 Nov 2013 08:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-11-11/morning-shift-stories-and-voices-those-who-served Is Internet Addiction Disorder real? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-10/internet-addiction-disorder-real-108930 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Flickr%3AEbaynik.jpg" style="height: 404px; width: 610px; " title="(Flickr/Ebayink)" /></p><p>In a society fueled by the rapid-fire connectivity of personal computers, tablets, and smartphones,&nbsp;obsessive Internet behavior has become a cultural norm.&nbsp;However, when does an overreliance on WiFi&mdash;and the rabid need to distract oneself with online gaming, shopping, tweeting, scrolling, &quot;liking,&quot; and microblogging at all hours of the day and night&mdash;morph into an addiction?</p><p><a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Health/hospital-opens-internet-addiction-treatment-program/story?id=20146923" target="_blank">ABC News</a> reports that a Pennsylvania hospital, Bradford Regional Medical Center, has become the first in the U.S. to treat severe Internet addiction through a 10-day inpatient program. Patients admitted to the voluntary behavorial health treatment center must first undergo a &quot;digital detox&quot; that prohibits Internet use for at least 72 hours, followed by therapy sessions and educational seminars to &quot;help them get their Internet compulsion under control.&quot;</p><p>Dr. Kimberly S. Young, a psychologist and founder of the new program, defines Internet addiction by how a person&#39;s online habits impair their ability to function normally in everyday life.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;Like any other addiction, we look at whether it has jeopardized their career, whether they lie about their usage, or whether it inteferes with relationships,&quot; Young explained.</p><p><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_addiction_disorder" target="_blank">Internet Addiction Disorder</a> (IAD) was first coined as a joke by Dr. Ivan Goldberg in 1995; and to this day, remains absent from the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). However, the more specific &quot;Internet gaming disorder&quot; did make it into 2013&#39;s DSM-V as a &quot;condition for further study,&quot; signaling a slow but steady change in how psychologists are defining variants of addictive behavior in recent years.</p><p>Accoding to <a href="http://www.helpguide.org/mental/internet_cybersex_addiction.htm" target="_blank">HelpGuide.org</a>, signs and symptoms of Internet addiction may include:</p><ul><li>Frequently losing track of time online.</li><li>Having trouble completing tasks at work or home.</li><li>Isolation from family and friends.</li><li>Feeling a sense of euphoria while involved in Internet activies.&nbsp;&nbsp;</li><li>Feeling guilty or defensive about Internet use.</li></ul><p>Similar to those who dispute the validity of sex addiction, naysayers of IAD argue that logging off is simply a matter of &quot;willpower,&quot; and that the inability to do so is not nearly as physically harmful or self-destructive as succumbing to alcoholism, substance abuse and eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia. Still,&nbsp;when 60 percent of U.S. adults spend&nbsp;<a href="http://www.whoishostingthis.com/blog/2013/08/21/incredible-growth-web-usage-infographic/#." target="_blank">at least three hours</a> a day online, with teens clocking in at <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/20/education/20wired.html" target="_blank">over seven hours</a>&nbsp;of daily Internet use, real and painful addictions are bound to form.&nbsp;</p><p>Unfortunately, addictive behaviors of any kind are far too easily dismissed in our mental health-avoidant&nbsp;culture&mdash; even the ones deemed more severe than most. Alcoholics are constantly told to &quot;just stop drinking&quot; and anorectics urged to &quot;just eat already,&quot; as if it were that easy. Presumably non-life-threatening addictions such as online gaming are even more misunderstood, because how is playing video games for 24 hours straight in any way comparable to destroying one&#39;s body with narcotics or an eating disorder?</p><p>What many people fail to realize is that using the Internet as a drug can be just as fatal as any addiction in the long run. Dr. Young notes that prior research links IAD with <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_addiction_disorder" target="_blank">existing mental health issues</a>&nbsp;(most commonly depression) and that over half of her patients also struggle with alcoholism, chemical dependency, compulsive gambling, and chronic overeating.&nbsp;</p><p>Numerous other studies have proved that excessive Internet use continually makes people&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theverge.com/2013/8/22/4647916/facebook-isnt-making-you-depressed-the-internet-is" target="_blank">feel bad about themselves</a>; but for people already suffering from depression, anxiety, or a co-occurring disorder like OCD or bipolar, that feeling is amplified.</p><p>A 2012 research study highlighted in <em><a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2012/01/17/internet-addiction-shows-up-in-the-brain/" target="_blank">Forbes</a>&nbsp;</em>shows that people with Internet addiction exhibit demonstrable changes in their brains, similar to what happens in the brains of people addicted to cocaine, heroin, special K, and other substances. The article also mentions a <a href="http://rt.com/news/internet-use-mental-illness-389/" target="_blank">smattering of horror stories</a>&nbsp;about Internet and gaming addiction, including accounts of many people keeling over and dying after playing video games for hours on end.&nbsp;These addictions are as real as any other, and they deserve to be taken just as seriously.</p><p>Of course, not every person who spends hours surfing the web each day suffers from an Internet addiction. But if we&#39;re being completely honest with ourselves, we might discover that many of our online habits have more of a negative than positive effect on our lives. After all, what good comes from checking one&#39;s Facebook page 15 times a day, or avoiding the outside world to live in a virtual one?</p><p>Maybe we could all use some &quot;digital detox&quot; every once and a while. Try putting down the phone, powering off the computer, and making some real memories without the aid of an electronic device. You might be surprised by how much, or how little, you miss it.</p><p><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a></em></p></p> Thu, 17 Oct 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-10/internet-addiction-disorder-real-108930 Illinois Medicaid expansion may leave out mental-health teams http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-medicaid-expansion-may-leave-out-mental-health-teams-108892 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/CountyCareSCALED.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>An Illinois Medicaid expansion enabled by the nation&rsquo;s health-care overhaul might not cover some mental health services designed to keep people from landing in psychiatric hospitals, nursing homes and jails, WBEZ has learned.</p><p>&ldquo;We don&rsquo;t have a final answer,&rdquo; confirmed Mike Claffey, a spokesman for the Illinois <a href="http://www2.illinois.gov/hfs/Pages/default.aspx">Department of Healthcare and Family Services</a>, which manages Medicaid in the state. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not a simple question.&rdquo;</p><p>The services include &ldquo;assertive community treatment&rdquo; and the less intensive &ldquo;community support treatment,&rdquo; both designed for outpatients (often homeless) who have a hard time reaching mental-health clinics and keeping appointments due to severe depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other conditions.</p><p>ACT and CST feature specialist teams with low caseloads and around-the-clock availability. Every team member works with each of the team&rsquo;s &ldquo;participants,&rdquo; as the persons with the illnesses are known. The teams meet the participants wherever necessary to help with all aspects of recovery, from medication and counseling to nutrition, hygiene and money management.</p><p>Team members range from social workers to substance-abuse experts, from occupational therapists to peer counselors. ACT teams, as <a href="http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=56754">defined</a> by the Illinois Department of Human Services, also include a psychiatrist and registered nurse.</p><p>An Illinois failure to cover ACT and CST in the Medicaid expansion &ldquo;will cost the state in the short and the long run,&rdquo; according to a letter that Gov. Pat Quinn&rsquo;s administration received from leaders of <a href="http://www.thresholds.org/">Thresholds</a>, a Chicago-based nonprofit agency that set up some of the nation&rsquo;s first ACT teams more than three decades ago. &ldquo;Many individuals with a serious mental illness will be unable to get the services they need to stabilize their lives, costing the state millions of dollars in preventable hospitalizations and nursing-home stays.&rdquo;</p><p>Most ACT and CST teams in Illinois are run by nonprofits such as Thresholds, Trilogy Inc. and Community Counseling Centers of Chicago Inc., better known as C4.</p><p>For decades, the funding for ACT and other community mental-health services consisted largely of state grants. In recent years, Illinois has switched to financing the care through Medicaid, a fee-for-service insurance partially bankrolled by the federal government. An Illinois budget crisis, meanwhile, has led to deep cuts in the state grants since 2009, making it difficult for the nonprofit providers to continue serving people who lack Medicaid and can&rsquo;t afford any other insurance.</p><p>&ldquo;These overwhelmingly are the folks that end up in one of the state&rsquo;s seven psychiatric hospitals,&rdquo; said Mark Heyrman, a University of Chicago clinical professor of law who defends the rights of people with mental disabilities.</p><p>Many of these uninsured people also seem to have cycled through the emergency departments of hospitals across the state. Those departments treated almost 220,000 people with a primary diagnosis of mental illness or substance-abuse disorder in 2012, according to unpublished figures from the Illinois Hospital Association. That was 19.1 percent more than the 2009 total. By comparison, according to the association, emergency-department visits during the period overall increased by 6.4 percent.</p><p>As part of the federal Affordable Care Act, Illinois is among 24 states that have chosen to expand their Medicaid programs to more of the uninsured low-income population. The plan, signed into law by Quinn in July and set to take effect in January, will be available to people with income up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level &mdash; $15,415 for an individual this year.</p><p>The state expects 342,000 Illinois residents to sign up for the Medicaid expansion by 2017. The federal government is planning to finance 100 percent of the coverage through 2016 and no less than 90 percent in later years.</p><p>&ldquo;This can be the biggest improvement in mental-health services that the state has seen in decades,&rdquo; Heyrman said, &ldquo;but only if all of the services that are needed by this very sick population are afforded to them.&rdquo;</p><p>The Quinn administration, questioned by WBEZ, said it had yet to determine whether the state&rsquo;s Medicaid expansion would cover the community-based teams.</p><p>&ldquo;State agencies have been working with federal authorities to explore all the options for mental-health coverage, including ACT and CST,&rdquo; Claffey, the spokesman, said in a statement. &ldquo;We are still finalizing the policy and do not know at this time what, if any, rulemaking will be required. As always, in accordance with federal rules, we will formally post the service plan for public comment prior to implementation. We hope to have a better idea of when that will take place in the coming weeks.&rdquo;</p><p>The uncertainty puzzles Jennifer Mathis, deputy legal director of the Washington-based <a href="http://www.bazelon.org/">Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law</a>. &ldquo;States are always cautious about adding services to their Medicaid plans,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But many of these people with serious mental illnesses are already in their systems. The states are already paying for them as they cycle in and out of hospitals, jails and nursing homes.&rdquo;</p><p>If Illinois chooses not to include ACT and CST in the Medicaid expansion benefits, mental-health advocates say their Plan B is a <a href="http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-07-15/html/2013-16271.htm">federal rule</a> about state-level expansions that allows the &ldquo;medically frail,&rdquo; a group defined as including people with a serious mental illness, to receive all the services of the state&rsquo;s traditional Medicaid.</p><p>&ldquo;So anyone enrolled in the Illinois Medicaid expansion who has a serious mental illness &mdash; which would include anyone eligible for ACT and many people eligible for CST &mdash; must be given the option of receiving the full scope of benefits covered under the state&rsquo;s regular Medicaid plan,&rdquo; Mathis said.</p><p>But winning the right to a service isn&rsquo;t the same as receiving it. In Cook County, where a Medicaid expansion began a year early under a federal waiver, some providers say they have had a hard time getting ACT payments from Evanston-based <a href="http://www.psychealthltd.com/">PsycHealth Ltd.</a>, which has a county contract to manage the expansion&rsquo;s mental-health care.</p><p>&ldquo;Some of the larger nonprofits are turning away clients because they know they won&rsquo;t be reimbursed,&rdquo; said Heyrman, the law professor. &ldquo;The county is not providing services that the state was providing for many years.&rdquo;</p><p>Cook County Health and Hospitals System officials insist that their Medicaid expansion program, dubbed <a href="http://www.cookcountyhhs.org/patient-services/county-care/?">CountyCare</a>, covers ACT and CST. Officials of both the health system and PsycHealth say they have received no formal complaints from providers alleging inappropriate denial of reimbursement for the services.</p><p>&ldquo;The community-based facilities are used to getting whatever they want from the state,&rdquo; said Cathryn Shemroske, the PsycHealth official who manages CountyCare&rsquo;s mental-health provider network. &ldquo;The state is bankrupt for a reason. This is definitely something contributing to that.&rdquo;</p><p>Shemroske also voiced a perspective on ACT effectiveness that conflicts with at least some academic research on the topic. &ldquo;Often I&rsquo;m hearing that the model doesn&rsquo;t necessarily keep members well,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;The treatment outside the hospital isn&rsquo;t always what gets people healthy.&rdquo;</p><p>PsycHealth&rsquo;s lack of enthusiasm for ACT owes partly to its lack of accountability for &ldquo;all of the things that can go badly if they don&rsquo;t provide enough services,&rdquo; Heyrman said. &ldquo;The costs will not be borne by PsycHealth if, for example, [patients] commit a low-level crime and end up in a jail or a state psychiatric hospital.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 10 Oct 2013 12:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-medicaid-expansion-may-leave-out-mental-health-teams-108892 Morning Shift: Challenges ahead for mental health services in the state http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-10/morning-shift-challenges-ahead-mental-health-services <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/flickr- Images_of_Money.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>WBEZ West Side reporter Chip Mitchell and mental health advocate Mark Heyrman join us to take an in-depth look at the Affordable Care Act&#39;s affects on mental health service providers and clients. (Photo: Flickr/Images_of_Money)</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-38/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-38.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-38" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Challenges ahead for mental health services in the state" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Thu, 10 Oct 2013 08:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-10/morning-shift-challenges-ahead-mental-health-services Watchdog to judges: Stop putting kids with mental health needs in prison http://www.wbez.org/news/watchdog-judges-stop-putting-kids-mental-health-needs-prison-108788 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/IDJJ_Admin_550_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A new report from the prison watchdog John Howard Association says mental health treatment in Illinois youth prisons is so bad that judges need to stop sending kids with mental health needs to them.</p><p>The scathing report was released on Thursday. It is the latest in a series of studies that are highly critical of the care and education within the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice.</p><p>The report focuses on the youth prison in Kewanee, about 150 miles southwest of Chicago. That&rsquo;s the prison where the department sends its most seriously mentally ill prisoners. It also houses juvenile sex offenders and youth who need maximum-security detainment.</p><p>John Maki, executive director of the John Howard Association, says the problems at Kewanee stem from the decision to combine the department&rsquo;s three &ldquo;neediest and most difficult&rdquo; groups of kids in a remote youth prison with inadequate resources.</p><p>That&rsquo;s where the problems begin. But according to the report, it is not where they end.</p><p>Report author Jennifer Vollen-Katz found Kewanee to be lacking in staffing for security, mental health and education. The result is &ldquo;an environment that is unsustainable, unsafe and counterproductive,&rdquo; Vollen-Katz wrote..</p><p>Maki says more than a third of the needed mental health positions are unfilled, even though there is money in the budget for them. That means kids are missing out on more than 250 hours of crucial mental health care every week.</p><p>Failing to fill authorized positions &ldquo;points to [a failure] at the top&rdquo; of the department, Maki said. And he is frustrated by what he sees as a lack of progress.</p><p>&ldquo;For prison systems, most of the problems they deal with are mostly beyond their control...The problems at Kewanee are problems that the agency has control over,&rdquo; Maki said.</p><p>Maki said staffing is so inadequate that judges shouldn&rsquo;t send kids with mental health needs to the department any more, because they are bound to end up in Kewanee, and they won&rsquo;t get adequate treatment there.</p><p>A clerk for Judge Michael Toomin - who heads the Cook County juvenile courts - said the judge was unavailable for an interview, but that he has no opinion on the suggestion from the John Howard Association.</p><p>Judge Sophia Hall, who presides over the juvenile court&#39;s resource section, said the key is to provide mental health services to kids before they enter the justice system. But she said that takes resources the state doesn&#39;t really have.</p><p>&quot;The question I would have, and that anyone would have, is where do we put kids with mental health issues?&quot; she asked.</p><p>The John Howard report follows a trio of reports released by the Illinois ACLU on Monday as part of a class action lawsuit against the Department of Juvenile Justice, each focusing on different areas of trouble for the juvenile justice agency.</p><p>Dr. Louis Kraus spent time in Kewanee - and all the youth prisons - talking to prisoners and observing the conditions. According to his report, Kraus found mentally ill prisoners at Kewanee spending an excessive amount of time in their cells, unable to get treatment and education because security staff was about 20 guards short of its adequate level. Kraus also found youth in specialized treatment units were spending up to 24 hours a day confined to their rooms - and the confinement rooms were filthy, with food and other debris covering the floor.</p><p>Some of the words Kraus used in his report to describe the department&rsquo;s mental health treatment, policy and staffing are: insufficient, inadequate, improper, deficient and dangerous.</p><p>The Department of Juvenile Justice has not responded to repeated requests for comment.</p><p><em>Patrick Smith is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/pksmid" target="_blank">@pksmid</a></em>.</p></p> Fri, 27 Sep 2013 13:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/watchdog-judges-stop-putting-kids-mental-health-needs-prison-108788