mental illness | KCUR

mental illness

Alex Smith / KCUR

Starting treatment with a mental health specialist often requires a wait of several weeks, but many psychiatrists and other specialists in Kansas City have waiting lists stretching over months.

While the need for mental health treatment has been growing in Missouri, many patient advocates say the state’s refusal to aggressively enforce mental health parity may be making the wait times even longer.

Marty Sexton, a 50-year-old disabled grandfather who lives in Peculiar, worked as a firefighter and then an army medic in Operations Desert Storm, Desert Shield and Enduring Freedom.

Segment 1: One oncologist says cancer research is not progressing, and she offers new ideas.

Dr. Azra Raza says the public believes cancer research and treatments are advancing, but that's not the case. The death rate from the most common cancers is no lower now than it was 5o years ago. She suggests an alternative to radition and chemotherapy and says more interdisciplinary collaboration could advance the cause.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

VALLEY FALLS, Kansas — Dennis Ritchey stands in the kitchen of his modest apartment. He calls it efficient, but likes that it has plenty of cabinets.

"Like any other injury . . . it's something you can treat and you can recover."

It took almost 12 years for Jason Kander to realize he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and seek treatment for it.  The former Kansas City, Missouri, mayoral candidate and his wife Diana recalled the years leading up to the diagnosis and how that time affected them individually, as a couple and as a family.

Segment 1: The fact and fiction of mass shootings.

Last week's shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, highlighted misconceptions when it comes to these tragedies. Is there a profile of a mass shooter, can red flag and gun laws reduce the number of incidents and are all the perpetrators mentally ill? Three Guns & America reporters discussed what they have discovered in covering the firearms issues in this country. 

Segment 1: A former Lenexa principal wants others suffering from mental illness to learn from the mistakes he made trying to handle his depression.

Diagnosed with major depressive disorder, Cory Strathman resigned from his job as an elementary school principal following a DUI arrest. Now receiving mental health care services, Strathman is sharing his battle in hopes to eliminate the social stigma that kept him from receiving care.

Segment 1: Why the Federal Emergency Managment Agency recommends flood coverage for everyone.

Flooding occurs in 90% of natural disasters in the United States, according to FEMA, and a quarter of all flood claims come from low-risk areas. We cover common questions about what is and isn't covered by flood and homeowners insurance, and discuss what the future of flood insurance might look like.

A man with dark hair and a goatee wearing headphones and a charcoal jacket sits behind a microphone in a radio studio.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Vince Ortega has a long history working with COMBAT and the Kansas City Police Department.

Jacob Joslyn / For KCUR 89.3

Of all the freedoms Anthony Flanagan lost during his eight years under state care, the right to vote was among the toughest.

Flanagan, a quadriplegic who was deemed unable to care for himself because of psychiatric issues, lived under a legal guardianship by the state of Missouri from 2008 to 2016. Often seen as protective of people incapacitated by mental illness or developmental disabilities, guardianship can also strip people of many rights the rest of us enjoy, including the right to vote.

A man wearing headphones sits behind a studio microphone.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Witness says suspect killed in Kansas City Police Department shooting "was a very troubled individual."

In a re-broadcast of a segment that aired June 19, 2018, we discussed the Kansas City, Missouri, police shooting death of a sword-wielding woman and the role mental illness may have played in the encounter. We examined when deadly force by law enforcement is warranted. 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

  Segment 1: Missouri State Auditor on what she counts as legislative victories in this year's regular session.

This past legislative session, Missouri lawmakers passed a law that strengthens protections for so-called "whistleblowers." Today, the Missouri state auditor told us why she pushed for this legislation, and what the implications are for state workers. We also learned why Gov. Eric Greitens' move to use taxpayer dollars to pay for private attorneys has her concerned.  

DanaWelsch / Wikimedia Commons

Segment 1: What is tax increment financing, and what are its drawbacks?

Tax increment financing districts, known as TIFs, have been a significant tool in Kansas City's development. But could they hurt communities as much as they helps them? In this first of a two-part series on the effects of TIFs, we took a look at opposition to the measures.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: The policies and techniques that are best at keeping drunk drivers off the road.

Last month, the Missouri House of Representatives voted for the second year in a row to cut the state funding for sobriety checkpoints to $1. The plan to catch drunk drivers and keep them off the street? Saturation patrols. Today, we talked about the effectiveness of these options. 

LeAnn Mueller / Wikimedia Commons

Segment 1: High-energy ensemble re-imagines jazz music for a younger generation.

The combination of french fries and Champagne, casual and sophisticated, is an accurate representation of The Hot Sardines' lively music. (It's also the title of their latest album.) Today, we talked with members of the group about their younger audiences, their resident tap dancer and how they fill old tunes with new energy.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Dairian Stanley’s ex-girlfriend was warned before she met up with him that Sunday morning in September 2016.

Stanley had been missing for two days, had been talking “crazy stuff” and threatening to kill himself, his mother told her. When the ex-girlfriend found him at a BP gas station on Van Brunt Boulevard, Stanley demanded to know who she had been with.

“If I can’t have you, nobody can have you!” Stanley, then 21, said to her, according to court documents.

Courtesy Chris Ortiz

Samantha Beeson definitely does not like to be the center of attention. But that hasn't prevented her from being the subject of a photography exhibition.

Beeson lives with an array of difficulties that her partner, photographer Chris Ortiz, describes as “social anxiety disorder, depression, PTSD and panic attacks as a result of a past abusive relationship.” Her "everyday struggle to manage these disorders" is the point of his exhibit “Living With Sam.”

Is It Teen Angst Or Anxiety Disorder?

Jul 10, 2017
Pixabay - CC

While the challenges of peer pressure, all night study sessions, and "fitting in" aren't new, today's teens also have to deal with social media bringing the worries of the world right to their fingertips. So how is a parent supposed to know the difference between normal teen stress and a possible anxiety disorder? Today, psychologist Wes Crenshaw provides his insight.

Carolina Hidalgo / File/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri General Assembly’s first special session during Eric Greitens' governorship has come and gone, but the state's chief executive has signaled that more legislative overtime could be on the way. Today, we discuss that might mean for Missouri's part-time lawmakers.

Netflix

The Netflix series 13 Reasons Why has received praise and criticism for how it approaches weighty topics such as teen bullying, sexuality, mental illness and suicide. Today we speak with psychologist Wes Crenshaw, who says the drama can encourage important discussions between parents and their children.

Flickr/Mark Warner

If someone you loved had a psychiatric emergency, would you know what to do?

Because many people wouldn’t, Kansas mental health advocates are pushing for the state to recognize psychiatric advance directives to guide care for patients in crisis who are unable to communicate. 

kev-shine / Flickr -- CC

The Audiofiles look at some of the best new podcasts of 2016, from the serious (mental illness, embedded journalists) to the lighthearted (a discussion of the Baby-Sitters Club books).

Guests:

File Photo / Kansas News Service

This story was updated at 6:04 p.m. 

Kansas is seeking a private partner to operate Osawatomie State Hospital under a proposal that would allow the contractor to shift more than half the hospital’s beds to other parts of eastern Kansas.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

University of Kansas researchers plan to use a $1.5 million federal grant to help Kansans with disabilities catch up to their non-disabled peers in several health categories.

Jean Hall, director of KU’s Institute for Health and Disability Policy Studies, will lead a team of partners from nonprofit organizations and government agencies to improve physical activity, nutrition and oral health for Kansans with disabilities.

Kansas is one of 19 states to get the grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

File photo

The troubled Larned State Hospital has a new superintendent.

Veteran state attorney Bill Rein has been named to head the facility, which provides inpatient treatment for people from the western two-thirds of Kansas suffering from severe or persistent mental illness.

In the wake of a mass shooting, politicians, the media, witnesses, and victims alike all struggle to make sense of the events. It's easy to characterize a shooter as being mentally ill, but is it accurate? One University of Missouri researcher thinks that assessment is often wrong.

Guests:

  • Tahir Rahman studies severe mental illness and is associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Missouri School of Medicine.

Claiming patients who experience psychosis have a chemical imbalance is an easy and incomplete explanation to a complicated problem. Treating patients with medication doesn't work for everyone, but other options do exist. Some are finding hope and better quality of life with a more holistic approach.

Guests:

File photo / Kansas News Service

The head of the legal department at Larned State Hospital will be transferred to Topeka later this month, a move that has some western Kansas attorneys concerned the distance could throw a wrench in the process of committing people who need mental health treatment.

File photo

The Kansas Legislature added several patient protection measures to a bill allowing “step therapy” for Medicaid drugs before passing the legislation early Monday morning.

Advocates for Kansans with mental illness and other conditions were pleased with the changes but remain concerned about the possible effects of the underlying bill on vulnerable patients.

Step therapy requires Medicaid patients to try the least expensive medications for treating their ailments first. If those fail, they can then “step up” to a more expensive alternative.

Tammy Worth / Heartland Health Monitor

The first time Rebecca Schunck tried to commit suicide she was 25. She called the police following a fight with her father, threatening to kill him and then herself.

Over the next decade, she says she tried to end her life more times than she can count – possibly 75 to 100 attempts. Her preferred modus operandi was medication overdose, but she also tried drowning, hanging herself and injecting air into her veins. During her final attempt in 2011, she got into her car with the windows up and turned the engine on. A concerned friend called the police, and officers arrived at Schunck’s house just a couple of minutes before she would have likely died.

Dan Margolies / Heartland Health Monitor

Steve Feinstein was superintendent of Osawatomie State Hospital from 1994 to 1998. He has a Ph.D. in psychology and got involved in mental health issues when he was hired to run a state mental hospital in eastern Oregon. Although he’s retired now, the Louisburg, Kansas, resident continues to pay close attention to what’s going on at Osawatomie, one of two state-run hospitals for the severely mentally ill. In a recent interview, he spoke to us about the Kansas hospital’s slew of recent troubles.

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