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Mental Health

Waterbury Public Schools school buses
Franke Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

A new report from Connecticut’s Child Advocate finds staff at Waterbury Public Schools have called the police hundreds of times on elementary and middle school students experiencing mental health crises.

Some of these children were as young as five years old.

Courtesy: Kathy Flaherty

The physical symptoms of coronavirus are well known by now. But there's another effect that doctors are beginning to find in COVID-19 patients; depression and anxiety.

Newington resident Kathy Flaherty was already diagnosed with both. She started experiencing COVID symptoms in March.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

State flags flew at half-staff Monday to honor the thousands of people in Connecticut who have died from a drug overdose over the years.

That includes Tony Morrissey’s son, Brian Cody Waldron, who died at 20 years old last August.  

TOONMAN_blchin / Wikipedia

The art of tattooing has been traced back 7,000 years. While the significance or reason behind the oldest-known tattoos are total speculation, we do know that often, they were applied as sacred rites, and awarded as a signifier of adulthood. In Ancient Egypt, it’s likely they were used as a means of safeguarding women during pregnancy and birth. And in the ancient Greco-Roman world, they were applied on enslaved people who got caught trying to escape.

But today, the reasons for getting a tattoo are as distinct as the person getting them. Sometimes, it’s a memorial to a person or an experience or an idea. Sometimes, it’s nothing more than something that just looks really cool!

Now and then, though, the meaning changes, and the artwork needs to be covered up. So today, you’ll hear stories about how people have used tattoos to allow their skin to, shall we say, evolve.

Darnell Crosland Calls for Independent Investigation in Barrier Case
Ali Warshavsky / WNPR

Two Connecticut attorneys are demanding that local law enforcement do better in handling mental health issues while responding to calls. This comes against the backdrop of a Black man’s death in police custody last year, even though the man’s family claims the department knew about his health issues. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

The pandemic is raising questions about what’s best for children as they head into a new school year, as many schools continue to finalize plans for this fall and parents make individual decisions for their families.

Megan Goslin, a clinical psychologist and research scientist at Yale’s Child Study Center, said it’s a difficult time for everyone. 

As Veteran Suicide Grows, National Guard Highest In Active Military

Aug 13, 2020
Donna Chapman gives her son, Sergeant William Davidson a kiss. Davidson struggled with mental health disorders after his deployment in Afghanistan and killed himself in 2017.
Contributed Family Photo

Sergeant William Davidson had been struggling with mental health problems since his deployment to Afghanistan. When he didn’t attend at least one of his Connecticut National Guard drill weekends, the Guard declared him AWOL (absent without leave) and discharged him with a “bad paper” separation. Four months after his discharge, Davidson, 24, fatally shot himself.

Claire Winter / Flickr Creative Commons

From ancient Egypt to Greek mythology, through Abrahamic religions, in ancient African and Native American spiritual traditions, in medieval Europe, and 16th century France (remember that Nostradamus guy?), humans have reliably attempted to predict the future, read minds, and communicate with the dead.

And at this moment in our history, with a pandemic, protests, an upcoming election, climate change... On top of the innate chaos of being a human being, it would surely be more psychologically manageable if we could somehow see into the future.

Alyssa L. Miller / Creative Commons

Our ancestors viewed sleep as a highly sensual and transcendent experience. Today, about a third of adults have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or feeling rested. We're becoming a nation of insomniacs.

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You're shopping for groceries. Out of the blue your heart starts to race, your knees feel weak, you feel like you can't breathe, like you might be having a heart attack. You wonder if you're losing your mind -- but you're not. You're having a panic attack. 

About 1 in 4 people have had at least one panic attack during their lives, yet few like to admit it. Because panic manifests through physical symptoms that can mimic a heart attack, a lot of people feel shame when they go to the ER and find there's nothing wrong with them. In the absence of a test that defines panic, a lot of people worry they might be losing their mind.  

We’re all naked under our clothes. It’s when we take them off that things could get complicated.

I didn't want to be clothesminded, so in 2012 I did something that I had never done before. I took off all my clothes and spent time at Solair, a nudist resort in Woodstock, Connecticut, all in the name of radio. Then, I revisited the resort a few years later to go skinnydipping with four members of one family to find out what the nudist lifestyle means to their hearts, minds, and of course, bodies.

Décolleté Dekoltee / Pixabay

Imagine you’ve got breasts. It shouldn’t be too hard to imagine, because most every human being has’ em! And that means that most of us are candidates for breast cancer.

This hour, we hear very intimate conversations with two women who go through the process of getting a double mastectomy - the removal of all the breast tissue. One decides to get reconstruction, and one does not.

Owning a handgun significantly increases one’s risk of suicide, according to a study published Thursday that tracked new gun owners in California for more than a decade.

Mental health experts and researchers have long known that gun ownership suggests an increased risk of suicide, but the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine adds a new level of detail.

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There’s a few popular phrases being passed around right now: “You’re not alone.” And, “we’re all in this together.” They’re necessary sentiments. With the recent death of George Floyd, and the continuing COVID-19 crisis, people are feeling lonely. And for those living alone amid the pandemic, the isolation can be really difficult. This hour, we discuss how loneliness affects our mental and physical health.

Dr. Steven Marans
Courtesy: Yale School of Medicine

The coronavirus has swiftly led to dramatic changes in our daily lives. And that, in turn, has meant new levels of stress for many people.

Unlike other singular traumatic events, the pandemic is ongoing. And as Connecticut begins to reopen its economy, people will have to find ways to continually adapt to unpredictable and changing conditions.

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Deaths related to alcohol have been rising over the past two decades, especially among women.  Today, we look at the impact of alcohol on public health.

Dallas / Flickr Creative Commons

Aah-Yeah / Flickr Creative Commons

Grief is everywhere. Whether a loved one has died, you lost your job, your wedding is cancelled... It’s all grief. There are things people say that are meant to help, but can really hurt, so Megan Devine, author of It’s OK That You’re Not OK, has some ideas about how we can all be better grievers.

Lars Klintwall Malmqvist / Wikipedia

I’ve been a producer here at Connecticut Public since 2007, and since then, our team that’s reported on some really difficult times. And now? We’re all trying to make sense of this unprecedented era of Covid-19.

After we all started working from home, I kept seeing these painful stories of layoffs and panic. But there were also stories about the Helpers who are trying to make sense of all this, who are trying to ease the pain.

That’s who you’ll hear from on this show. Every week, you’ll hear from people who are struggling in the chaos of this virus, people who are helping get us through each day, and, because they have a much needed perspective, you’ll hear from children.

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You can find lots of advice about how to avoid feeling bored during this pandemic. There are virtual dance parties and home safaries, lists of what to read and watch, and yoga classes on Zoom.

Boredom is a difficult emotion for most of us. Almost 3,500 people living under quarantine in Italy shared on a survey last week that boredom has been one of the hardest parts of staying inside. We go out of our way to avoid feeling it, like the students who chose electric shock over feeling bored.

national guard
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

As Connecticut’s death toll nearly doubled Tuesday and the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose by 557 in 24 hours, Gov. Ned Lamont delivered a bleak message to the state’s residents about a lack of critical supplies needed to fight the pandemic.

Cathy Baird / Creative Commons

William Wetmore Story sculpted The Angel of Grief for his wife's grave after her death in 1894. He wrote that it was the only way he could express his feelings of utter abandonment. It was his last work before his own death one year later.

We may not readily identify grief in the gamut of emotions we're feeling during this pandemic. We haven't lost the kind of love expressed through William Story's sculpture, but loss is very much at the center of our new reality. We are collectively grieving the loss of a world that has changed forever.

Giuseppe Milo / Wikimedia Commons

The Trump administration is pursuing policies they say are necessary to fight the spread of coronavirus -- even though Congress and the courts rejected these policies prior to the pandemic.

Last week, the president gave his administration the power to shut the southwestern border, implement a rule allowing federal workers to withhold their union dues, and deliver food boxes to rural areas after Congress complained about poor food quality. Most recently, he asked Congress to let judges indefinitely hold people without trial during an emergency.

How do we give President Trump the power to mobilize the resources of the federal government against coronavirus and protect against his abuse of that power?

Erich Ferdinand / Creative Commons

Did you get enough sleep last night? If you're like most Americans, probably not. You might feel pretty good after six hours of sleep and a strong cup of coffee, but the physical and mental toll of sleep deprivation is high.

We become more impulsive and less mentally agile, and we make more mistakes. Long term, lack of sleep (six hours or less per night) can mess with mood, hormones, and immune systems, and it can increase our risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

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Listen Monday at 9:00 am.

Deaths related to alcohol have been rising over the past two decades, especially among women.  Today, we look at the impact of alcohol on public health.

And in January 1920, Prohibition went into effect around the country, making it illegal to sell alcohol. One century after the beginning of this national experiment, we ask: what is a productive policy approach today to dealing with addiction?

It's recreation time at a Los Angeles County jail known as the Twin Towers. Nearly a dozen disheveled young men stand docilely as they munch on sandwiches out of brown paper bags.

They're half-naked except for sleeveless, thick, blanket-like restraints wrapped around them like medieval garments.

All are chained and handcuffed to shiny metal tables bolted to the floor.

"It's lunchtime and they're actually [in] programming right now," says a veteran guard, LA County Sheriff's Deputy Myron Trimble.

Staff Sgt. James L. Harper Jr. / U.S. Air Force

From veterans returning from Iraq, to survivors of mass shootings, to those putting together the pieces after a hurricane--we know that the emotional and psychological scars of violence and tragedies sometimes last even longer than physical wounds.

But what is the psychological toll on those who help victims of traumatic experiences?

health care providers
Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut advocates for addiction treatment say proposed funding cuts to the federal Medicaid program would leave fewer resources for people with substance use disorders.

The proposed cuts are part of President Donald Trump’s federal budget plan, which was released earlier this month. It includes cuts to Medicaid, a program that provides health coverage for people in poverty, and the Affordable Care Act totaling about $1 trillion in the next decade. 

Publicdomainpictures.net

The death of a pet can be devastating --yet when you lose an animal companion--you’re sometimes expected to “just get over it.”  This hour, we talk about human attachment to pets. Have you experienced the death of a beloved animal? How comfortable were you talking about your grief with others?

Gillian Flaccus / AP

At 6:30 a.m. in January on a residential street in West Hartford, it was 18 degrees outside and quiet. Most houses disappeared into the pitch-black darkness, making the lights coming from inside Anna Shusterman’s home especially bright.

“Hey, Max!” Shusterman yelled up the stairs from the kitchen.

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