Mental Health | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

Mental Health

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.

Edgar Degas / Wikimedia Commons

You can find lots of advice about how to avoid feeling bored during this pandemic. There's 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, including students who chose electric shock over feeling bored in this experiment

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.

Pixabay

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.

Russ / Creative Commons

Mental health professionals on college campuses say more students year over year are seeking services for new and ongoing mental health and substance use issues. They say it’s not a bad thing that students are being proactive about their mental health -- but resources are strained. 

Susanne Nilsson / Flickr

The holidays are expected to be a season of joy, but annual traditions can highlight the absence of a loved one. This hour, we talk about grief.

We hear from Connecticut residents about how they approach the holidays after losing a family member, and we hear from a grief counselor, too. How should you respond to the people around you who are grieving?

Chion Wolf photo / Connecticut Public Radio

The holidays are traditionally a time of celebration and good cheer. But for many, this season of joy compounds feelings of sadness, stress, and loneliness. Many places of worship respond to those who are hurting during the holidays with what’s called a “Blue Christmas” worship service.

It has been five years, but the memory still haunts construction superintendent Michelle Brown.

A co-worker ended his workday by giving away his personal cache of hand tools to his colleagues. It was a generous but odd gesture; no one intending to return to work would do such a thing.

The man went home and killed himself. He was found shortly afterward by co-workers who belatedly realized the significance of his gifts.

"It's a huge sign, but we didn't know that then," Brown says. "We know it now."

wsilver / Flickr Creative Commons

For some kids, the playground is a place of fun and friendship. For others, it is a source of anxiety and fear. The fear of being left out.

Why do some kids struggle to make friends while others do not? And what can grown ups do to help?

We take an in-depth look with Why Will No One Play With Me? author Caroline Maguire. We also talk about the realities of adult friendships with NPR's Julia Furlan. 

Studio Incendo - P1111040 / Wikimedia Commons

For nearly six months, pro-democracy protesters have taken to the streets of Hong Kong. Some demonstrations have turned violent, as protesters clash with the police. 

This hour, we talk about the roots of this protest movement and learn more about the history of the territory's relationship with mainland China. We also hear from a reporter who sat down with a Hong Kong father and son, two men on opposite sides of the police-community divide.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Forty-seven people have died in recent months from vaping-related illnesses, and there’s rising concern around the country about addiction levels among young people.

Chion Wolf

There are more than 800 miles of Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails in Connecticut. Today we're doing our show from one of them. 

MarineCorps NewYork / Creative Commons

A class-action lawsuit involving veterans who say they’ve been wrongfully denied discharge upgrades will move forward. The suit -- which is being supported by Yale Law School’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic -- was filed against the Navy in 2018.

DavidsonScott15 / Creative Commons

Experts in Connecticut say racial profiling can result in poor health outcomes and even post-traumatic stress disorder.

BRIANAJACKSON / ISTOCK / THINKSTOCK

Senior physicians at Yale New Haven Hospital were in the middle of presentations during a recent meeting of the graduate medical education committee when a group of interns, residents and fellows interrupted.

At the front of the room, they unfurled a banner painted with the words “Doctors Are Humans Too.”

The group of training doctors then presented staff with what they called a Resident and Fellow Bill of Rights.

Mecklenburg County / Creative Commons

Michael Manson isn’t shy about sharing his past of criminal charges, mental illness and problems with alcohol and substance abuse, because lately, he’s been focused on improving relationships with his family, staying sober and managing his mental health.

“I had therapy yesterday. I’m having therapy Friday. Some weeks I have two days — it depends on the week I’m having, because I know every day is a struggle,” he said. “Every day, I’m trying not to re-offend.”

wsilver / Creative Commons

For some kids, the playground is a place of fun and friendship. For others, it is a source of anxiety and fear. The fear of being left out.

Why do some kids struggle to make friends while others do not? And what can grown ups do to help?

We take an in-depth look with Why Will No One Play With Me? author Caroline Maguire. We also talk about the realities of adult friendships with NPR's Julia Furlan. 

Joshua Davis

Over the 21 years Sen. Cathy Osten worked for the Department of Correction, mental illness was so pervasive among Connecticut’s inmates that it was not unusual for her to hear from families who were grateful their loved ones were incarcerated because they were better off behind bars than on the street.

Philippe Put / CreativeCommons.org

Women in America die more frequently from complications of childbirth than in any other industrialized nation in the world. In addition, women of color are three to four times more likely to die than white women. And over the last 25 years that the maternal mortality was rising in America, other countries were decreasing their rate. 

CucombreLibre / flickr creative commons

This week, we've started our second decade on the air.

Over the first ten years, we did some number north of 2,000 shows. And every one of those shows was intended, more or less, to be about some... thing. Towels or Trump or toast or television or whatever.

This hour we do the opposite thing: a show not about a specific something -- tapirs.

Dave Collins / Associated Press

Of the 224 patients held at Whiting Forensic Hospital on June 28, a little more than half were hospitalized after being found not guilty of a crime by reason of insanity.

The remaining patients at the state’s maximum security psychiatric hospital faced no criminal charges and were civilly committed, or were there to be restored to competency so their criminal cases could be resolved. 

Ryan Leigh Dostie

Ryan Leigh Dostie is an Iraq War veteran. She joined the U.S. Army to serve her country. But before she was deployed, she experienced violence from one of her own when she was raped by a fellow soldier. 

This hour, we sit down with Dostie. She is a Connecticut resident and author of the new book: Formation: A Woman’s Memoir of Stepping Out of Line.

Recent statistics show sexual assaults in the military have surged in recent years. We talk with a retired colonel about this disturbing trend.

And we want to hear from you. Are you a veteran? How do you think the U.S. military should confront this epidemic of violence in its ranks?

Pages