mental health

Mental Health
3:08 pm
Sat August 30, 2014

How This County Program Keeps Mental Health Patients Out of Jail & In Treatment

The MCOT program kept 80 percent of patients in mental health crises out of county jails and emergency rooms.
Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Ben Johnson is combing through a list of names, addresses and mental health histories in the driver seat of a Jeep Compass. He works for Austin’s Mobile Crisis Outreach Team, MCOT, a branch of Austin Travis County Integral Care comprised of 18 licensed mental health counselors who respond to mental health crises across the county.

Johnson is deciding who to visit today. Another patient has paranoia. In addition, she's having problems at home, and is in danger of losing her housing. 

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Mental Health
4:26 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

More People Getting Access to Mental Health Care After Boost in State Spending

A panel of Texas senators received an update Aug. 15, 2014 on what's being accomplished in mental health services after a boost in state spending approved by the 83rd Legislature in 2013.
Liang Shi for KUT

Texas is spending more money on mental health now than it has in more than a decade, and today, state lawmakers got to hear about what that money is accomplishing.

Some of the numbers on mental health services in Texas have lawmakers patting themselves on the back.

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Criminal Justice
8:23 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Why Spending on Peer Support Groups in Texas Jails Could Reduce Recidivism Rates

A new report from the Center for Public Policy Priorities suggests if Texas spends more money on peer support groups in county jails, the recidivism rate would drop.
Michael Stravato/Texas Tribune

The start of the next Texas legislative session is getting close enough that advocacy groups are urging support for their areas of interest. Today, a local organization released a report [click here for the PDF]  that suggests if the state spends more money on peer support groups in county jails, the recidivism rate would drop.

In recent years, law enforcement in Texas has been vocal about county jails serving as de facto mental health providers for inmates.

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Mental Health Hotline
1:19 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Texas Youth in Crisis Can Now Chat and Text For Help

The Texas Youth and Runway Hotline now offers hotline services on modern platforms like text and chat.
flickr.com/jhaymesisvip

The Texas Youth and Runway Hotline has answered more than one million calls from youth and parents who are in crisis. Now youth and parents in crisis can access its services through text and chat. (The text number is 1-512-872-5777.)

The hotline, a service of the The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, launched new features last month. Despite fielding over a million phone calls, calls have been declining since 2010 as communications habits change.

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Mental Health
4:22 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Mental Health Support for Texas Inmates on Lawmakers' Agenda

Texas lawmakers hosted a hearing on April 22, 2014, to look into what else should be done to provide mental health services for inmates at state facilities.
Liang Shi, KUT News

Texas lawmakers are looking into whether more should be done to provide mental health services for inmates at state prisons.

Prison officials say inmates already have access to medication and individual or group counseling for mental illness. Texas Department of Criminal Justice Executive Director Brad Livingston says the legislature has provided enough mental health funding in recent years for prisoners and parolees. And, he says, it shows.

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Health
12:20 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

How Halloween Flood Survivors are Recovering From Post-Traumatic Stress

Onion Creek resident Mike Espinoza put up motivational messages for his neighbors while he rebuilt from the Halloween floods. While repairs are underway in Onion Creek, recovering from psychological trauma is a different issue.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

On the surface of the Onion Creek neighborhood, there’s progress.

The community is slowly recovering from 2013's deadly Halloween floods. Many families are back in their homes, even though most homes have yet to be fully rebuilt. But scratch the surface, and people are still suffering the psychological effects of that night.

Often when we hear about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it's in the context of war. But David Evans, CEO of Austin/Travis County Integral Care, says PTSD can affect those who survive any traumatic experience. 

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Mental Health
1:13 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Fighting Stigma of Mental Illness Goal of New Texas Nonprofit

Despite money put towards mental health care in Texas last legislative session, Texas ranks near the bottom in spending per capita on mental health. A new mental health policy nonprofit in Texas will work to identify ways to improve access to services.
Liang Shi for KUT News

Improving mental health practices for Texas and reducing the stigma associated with mental illness is the goal of a new statewide institute. Its focus will be on children, veterans and criminal justice policies.

The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute opened its doors today. Tom Luce, its chief executive officer, says the nonprofit will do research to improve access to mental health care in Texas – and not just after emergencies like the recent Fort Hood shooting.

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Health
7:03 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Power for Parkinson's Inspires Patients to Step Into an Active Life

At a Power for Parkinson's class, patients stay active by dancing to the music of 'Singin' in the Rain.'
Phoebe Flanigan

With a vibrant live music scene, a bustling tech sector and a top-flight university, Austin seems like an oasis for young people.

However, the seemingly youthful Texas capital isn't wasted on the young. 

The Austin-Round Rock area has the fastest growing population of people between ages 55 and 64, and the third-fastest growing for those 65 and over, according to U.S. Census data. 

An organization called Power for Parkinson's is offering those affected by the disease a chance to step forward into an active, healthy life. 

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Halloween Floods
8:07 am
Wed December 18, 2013

After Flooding, Medical Care Remains Critical in Dove Springs

Mayra Lopez, a promotora de salud with the Latino Health Care Forum, spoke at the Dove Springs Recreation Center on Dec. 17, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News

Community health workers – or promotoras de salud – with the Latino Health Care Forum are collecting data about people still living in Dove Springs after the Halloween floods.

"We have heard a lot of really sad stories …you just start crying," says promotora Norma Lopez. “We’re going to be working on-hand with our people. Refer them to whatever they need, any kind of help.”

Promotoras say they spent about a month getting feedback from people who still need help, especially medical care. The results will identify Dove Springs families still in need.

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Turning the Corner
11:50 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Opening Soon in Dove Springs: A $2.4 Million Mental Health Clinic

Frances Acuña is one of thousands in Dove Springs who will seek mental health services at an intergrated care clinic opening in November 2013.
Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Donna Spencer and Iliana Gilman work with Austin Travis County Integral Care, the agency that provides mental health services for low-income residents in the area. They recently walked through the site of Integral Care’s soon-to-open $2.4 million facility, inside what used to be a Wal-Mart and a Sam’s Club.

It’s in the southeast Austin neighborhood of Dove Springs. This low-income, majority Latino neighborhood is getting its first mental health care facility. It’s in large part because of a federal initiative, the Medicaid 1115 waiver program, that funds experimental clinics like this one. It will offer mental health care and substance abuse treatment, along with routine primary care.

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Health
1:38 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Austin African-Americans Face Mental Health Care Barriers

Some mental health professionals have found difficulty among African American in Austin. The Hogg Foundation is looking to address concerns of both patients and caregivers.
ocw.jhsph.edu/

Yesterday was Juneteenth, a holiday that celebrates progress and societal advancement of African-Americans in Texas. While there is plenty to celebrate, some advocates in Austin are still trying to promote mental health and overcome treatment barriers for African-Americans in Austin.

And, although African-Americans are just as likely to encounter mental health problems as the rest of the population, there are fewer options when it comes to seeking help.  

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Politics
5:30 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Bill Would Assess Condition of Inmates in Solitary Confinement

About 2,000 inmates may have mental illness or developmental disability. A Senate bill aims to learn more.
Liang Shi for KUT

More than 5 percent of the prison population in Texas is in solitary confinement, more than double the 2 percent national average. But one state senator says too little is known about the condition of these prisoners, especially those who may have been diagnosed with mental health or cognitive problems.

The Senate Criminal Justice Committee was considering the bill Wednesday afternoon.

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Education
7:36 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Bill Would Train Teachers to Spot Mental Illness

A lawmaker's initiative would address the problem of mentally ill students.
Erik Reyna, KUT News

A state lawmaker says Texas students are grappling with mental illness, but not all teachers, counselors and principals know how to recognize the signs. So the lawmaker, Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, is backing a mental health bill that he says would encourage educators in more than 1,100 school districts to get the necessary training.

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Health
5:20 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Mental Health, Physical Health: $10M Program Looks to Help Both

State Health Services is participating in a $10M study to provide incentives to non-elderly Medicaid recipients to improve their health.
Flickr user Images of Money, bit.ly/LeSsiT

Texas is trying to help some Medicaid recipients with behavioral disorders improve their health. 

The state’s health department has embarked on a $10 million dollar project aimed at preventing people with mental health or substance abuse issues from developing chronic diseases.

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SXSW
6:17 am
Mon March 18, 2013

SXSW Film: These Finnish Rockers Have 'The Punk Syndrome' (Update)

Pertti Kurikka's Name Day members Sami and Kari strike a pose.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Click the player to listen to a radio version of this story.

Update: "The Punk Syndrome" won the SXGlobal Audience Award. See pictures from the Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät concert, below.

Original Story  (March 15, 6:01 a.m.): A punk band from Finland is the focus of a film that’s showing at South by Southwest this week. The band is also playing a gig in the SXSW Music festival.

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Texas
5:35 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Advocates Rally for More Mental Health Funding

NAMI and other mental health groups joined lawmakers and advocates at the capitol to rally for increased funding
Marissa Barnett, KUT News

Advocates and lawmakers rallied at the Texas Capitol today to urge more state funding for mental health services.

Texas now ranks 49th in per capita spending for mental health care services. 

In the last session, the legislature made few changes to mental health funding. But as Texas’ population grows, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) policy coordinator Greg Hansch says mental health spending also has to increase.

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Health
11:00 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Report Finds 'Systemic Failures' at State Hospitals Led to Patient Abuse, Neglect

flickr.com/ashleyrosex

A new report finds serious breakdowns in procedures and safeguards by state-run hospitals across Texas.

The year-long investigation was by Disability Rights Texas—an organization designated by federal law to protect people with disabilities.

The report is titled “Turning a Blind Eye" and is focused on systemic failures within the state agencies that Disability Rights Texas says dismissed patient safety.

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Texas
3:35 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

More Young Offenders Are Mentally Ill

56 percent of the young people in Texas custody have had a mental illness diagnosed.
KUT News

More than half of young people in Texas correctional facilities, 56 percent, have some diagnosed mental illness.

The latest figures were presented to lawmakers today. The mental illness rate compares with 39 percent in 2007.

Michael Griffiths, the new head of the state’s Juvenile Justice Department, says getting treatment for those youth is one of his top priorities.

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Texas
7:54 am
Thu January 17, 2013

Bill Could Increase Availability to Texas Mental Health Care

Ruth Jones McClendon has filed legislation that would separate funding for 'civic' and 'forensic' mental health patients.
ruthmcclendon.org

New attention could be coming to a bill filed by a State Representative out of San Antonio. Democrat Ruth Jones McClendon filed the bill in November but the topic is timely.

McClendon says House Bill 205 would increase the availability of mental health beds provided by the state.

She says, right now, Texas provides one pool of funding for beds for two main categories of people in need of mental health services: those unable to make sound decisions and those detained for mental evaluation after a crime.

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Politics
7:14 am
Thu January 17, 2013

Mental Health Gun Laws Unlikely To Reduce Shootings

State Senator Jeff Klein (L-R), Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy and Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins congratulate New York Governor Andrew Cuomo after he signed the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act on Tuesday.
Hans Pennink Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 10:11 am

States aren't likely to prevent many shootings by requiring mental health professionals to report potentially violent patients, psychiatrists and psychologists say.

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