mental health

California Update for Monday, May 21, 2018

May 21, 2018
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• The Mental Health Services Act has long supplied the bulk of funding for California counties to prevent and treat mental illness among Medi-Cal patients. But some counties aren’t using the money.

• Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that gives immigrants living in California illegally new protections in court cases.

Today's reporting by Sammy Caiola and Ben Adler.

California Update for Monday, April 16, 2018

Apr 16, 2018
Ricardo Calegari / Flikr

• Some California Democrats are trying to pass their own Internet laws in response to the Trump Administration's rollback of Net Neutrality rules enacted under President Obama.

• Lawmakers seek to alleviate emergency room overcrowding by sending people in mental health crisis or under the influence of drugs and alcohol to destinations other than the hospital.

Today's reporting by Sally Schilling and Sammy Caiola.

Outbeat Radio News for Monday, February 12, 2018

Feb 13, 2018

• Violence towards members of the LGBTQ community continues to rise and a second report by the Anti-Defamation League said that murders of cisgender gay and bi sexual men rose 400% last year. 

• More young people today are identifying their gender in terms other than the traditional “boy” or “girl.”  When they lack support, these gender-fluid youth also suffer more from mental health problems. 

• Here locally, the Sonoma County Pride planning committee announced that this year’s pride celebration is returning to downtown Santa Rosa.

California Update for Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Jan 31, 2018
Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

• The California state Senate is attempting to circumvent a change in the federal tax overhaul that they say targets blue states.

• The California Senate has approved a bill that would allow judges to send criminal defendants suffering from mental disorders to treatment instead of trial.

Today's reporting by Ben Bradford and Ben Adler.

courtesy of Sonoma County

Yesterday we told you about how a growing number of severe mentally ill adults are ending up in emergency rooms and jails. Today we look at what the county is doing to better care for this population. KRCB’s Tiffany Camhi spoke with Press Democrat Health Reporter Martin Espinoza about a patient named Russell who is currently seeking care.

Martin Espinoza's series on Sonoma County's mental healthcare system is archived online on The Press Democrat website. Read the series here.

flickr/Kevin Simmons

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about four percent of adults in the United States suffer from some form of severe mental illness. Here in Sonoma County that's as many as 20-thousand people to take care of. But a recent investigative report by The Santa Rosa Press Democrat revealed that many mentally ill adults are ending up in emergency rooms or in jails.

The Benefits of Aging Outdoors

May 18, 2017
Bruce Robinson / KRCB-FM

The opportunities for Sonoma County’s older residents to get out and enjoy our local environment were promoted and demonstrated yesterday in an event called “Age Out Loud, Age Outside,” a convergence of demographics, recreation, and thinking ahead.

Meet Sonoma County’s New Health Director

Mar 6, 2017

After a year getting acquainted with the inner workings of Sonoma County's Department of Health Services, Barbie Robinson is starting her new job as the department's head with plans for some ambitious collaboration at the top of her agenda.

As Barbie Robinson takes the helm of the Sonoma County Department of Health Services, she is keenly aware that the biggest challenge she will face in the near future is the possible repeal of the nation al Affordable Care Act.

Some of the young people who most need mental health services have been conditioned to avoid them. A new youth-led initiative hopes to use peer outreach to overcome that.

This new collaboration, says VOICES Director Amber Twitchell, is especially timely, as the need for these services continues to mount.

VOICES—an acronym for the organization’s founding name  “Voice Our Independent Choices for Emancipation Support” –is more than 10 years old now. In that time it has welcomed and served hundreds of transition youth, and Twitchell says most of them have stayed in touch.

Latinos Lag in Mental Health Literacy

Jan 4, 2017

According to a recent study, Latinos trail other segments of the California population in understanding mental illnesses and how they can be treated. But the gap closes as they become acculturated.

Naranjo’s study interviewed 100 subjects, statewide, during the summer of 2014. She explains that her survey asked a series of questions to gauge each person’s awareness and understanding of mental illnesses and their symptoms and treatments.

An Anxiety Survival Guide for Teens (and Others)

Nov 28, 2016

From big tests to small slights, teenagers encounter potential sources of fear, worry and even panic almost constantly. Some skills to deal with those anxieties are the core of a “survival guide” written specifically for adolescents.

Perfectionism is another common source of anxiety--for people of all ages.  a good way to ease those worries, suggests Jennifer Shannon, is to broaden the idea of success.

Aging Drivers Should Plan for Life Without Their Cars

Jun 9, 2016

  Right now, most of the Baby Boom generation is still out driving on the nation’s roads and highways. That can’t continue indefinitely, so then what?

Getting into accidents, even minor ones, or receiving multiple traffic citations are indicators that someone’s driving abilities are waning. But AAA spokewoman Cynthia Harris says there is another important indicator that is not so obvious.

  One tool to prolong the ability to drive safely, suggests Rabon Saip (read his blog here) is widely availabe in Sonoma County.

Forum Spotlights Drug Abuse Rates, Treatment Needs

Mar 8, 2016

  Substance abuse is growing across California and in the North Bay—especially among young people—leaving resources for treatment far outstripped.

Sonoma County’s figures also show that 29% of patients get their opioid prescriptions from multiple doctors, and five percent use four or more separate prescribers and pharmacies. Melissa Stafford Jones, Regional Director for the US Dept. of Health & Human Services,  notes that California now has a resource for doc tors to help curtail that.

Confronting Cyberbullying

Oct 27, 2015

As bullying behaviors have moved from the schoolyard to cyberspace, a coordinated response is needed to combat it. But empowering kids on the frontline remains a potent antidote.

Congress Eyes Mental Health Measures

Sep 30, 2015

  The Mental Health Reform Act of 2015 is one of three similar bills awaiting action in Washington, D.C that have the potential to support and expand mental health services here in the North Bay.

Life Behind the School Counselor’s Desk

Aug 17, 2015

  A high school guidance counselor juggles three overlapping roles:  sorting out class scheduled, guiding students toward college or into vocational training, and supporting kids in times of emotional crises. And all with an imposing caseload. 

The Long, Slow Recovery From Concussion

Jul 22, 2015

  Concussions are serious and common injuries among school athletes. Today, we hear the story of volleyball player Sophia Reoutt, as she struggled to recover from one.

  Symptoms of Concussion

Addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences

Apr 23, 2015

  ACEs—Adverse Childhood Experiences—have been identified as a frequent root cause of poor health and bad behaviors. Now, efforts to lessen their long-term consequences are beginning to take hold.

   Recently, Jane Stevens has applied her journalism skills and background to the creation of a pair of online resources about ACES. The website Aces Too High, she explains, is intended for the general public, while ACES Connection is meant for social service and other professionals.

Mental Health Staff Strikes Kaiser

Jan 12, 2015
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Kaiser Permanente was fined $4 million last year for providing inadequate mental health services; now the people who deliver those services are striking to get them upgraded.

The official Kaiser response to the strike can be read here.

'Behind the Gates of Gomorrah'

Dec 5, 2014

Napa State Hospital makes headlines when something goes terribly wrong behind its gates. Yet that possibility is there every single day, and many lesser incidents occur without anyone on the outside ever hearing about them. A new book takes readers inside.

  Some of the residents at Napa State Hospital are there after having invoked the "insanity defense" at their trials. But Dr.Seager explains, the way it actually works isn't quite the way it's portrayed on the movies or on TV.

Addressing Latinos’ Mental Health Needs

Oct 17, 2014

  The overall health needs of California’s Latino population are widely underserved. That shortfall is even greater when it comes to mental health services.

Mental illnesses are not exactly contagious, noted Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, Director of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities at UC Davis, but within families they can be readily shared, especially between parents and children.

Documentary Delves into Life with Bi-Polar Disorder

Oct 6, 2014


Of Two Minds, a new documentary film about bi-polar disorder, sidesteps expert opinions to hear from some more intimately acquainted sources—people who are living with it.

Of Two Minds" awillbe sown at 3 pm on Saturday,  Oct. 11,  at the Summerfield Theater in Santa Rosa, with a Q & A session with the directors to follow. 

Sleep and Memory

Aug 20, 2014

  Your brain relies on a good night’s sleep to properly code and store a day’s worth of memories. Lack of uninterrupted sleep can play havoc with that process—and is harmful in other ways as well. 

   Just as differing types of memories are linked to particular kinds of sleep, says Dr. Mehrdad Rezavi of the Marin Memory and Sleep Center, poor sleep will affect our overall well-being in the corresponding areas.

TV Documentary Counters Mental Health Stigmas

May 10, 2014

Fears and stigmas deter many people from seeking help with mental health problems. A public television documentary is working to help counter that. Bruce Robinson spoke with some of the people who made it.

Among the vignettes featured in A New State of Mind, says producer Stephanie Locher, are two contrasting stories of returning war veterans.

A New State of Mind, Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness will be shown on KRCB-TV  on Monday, May 12 at 9 pm. Watch the trailer for the program below.

The Consequences of Adverse Childhood Experiences

Apr 10, 2014

  A traumatic childhood often results in an adulthood with health complications and a lowered life expectancy.  But even decades after the fact, there may be a way to diminish those harmful consequences.

   When asked, Dr. Felitti cites the full list of the 10 Adverse Childhood Experiences incorporated in his research.

While other experiences can certainly be traumatic, he adds, they don't cause the same kind of severity of life-long complications as the ten on his list. The table below shows their comparative frequency.

New App Aids Suicide Prevention

Dec 4, 2013

  It’s becoming a cliché, but there is increasingly a smart-phone app for just about everything—now, even suicide prevention. It’s called MY3, and on today’s Exchange we hear from one of the  people behind it.

The new suicide prevention app, My3, is now available for both iPhone and Android users.

Treating Hidden Traumas

Nov 6, 2013

Emotional trauma that has been suppressed or buried for years, even decades, can play a big, but hidden part in people’s present-day problems.  That’s why Dr. Peter Bernstein calls it a “hidden epidemic.”