mental health

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The state legislature's Joint Education Committee has moved forward with a bill that would require school districts to provide suicide prevention training to students.

Jackson Hole Police Department

The Teton County Board of Commissioners appointed five members of the community to be on a task force that will help shape the direction of law enforcement in the valley.

This comes after the commissioners received public feedback on budgeting for law enforcement and human services. This was at the same time of the national movement to defund the police. 

EDA UZUNLAR

In September, Wyoming Department of Family Services (DFS) Director Korin Schmidt convened stakeholders in the juvenile justice system to discuss high-needs kids with mental health diagnoses and disabilities who end up in juvenile detention centers.

Alexis Barney/Natrona County School District

Alexis Barney teaches fourth and fifth grade at Evansville Elementary School in Casper. And this year, the Wyoming Department of Education has announced Barney is the state's 2021 teacher of the year. Barney said she's humbled to receive the award and views it as a privilege to represent the state's teachers. Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler spoke with Barney about how she has been focusing on her students' mental health, especially since the pandemic.

Damen Bell-Holter

 

Former NBA player Damen Bell-Holter is concerned about the lack of mental health resources for men of color. Identifying as a Black man and a member of the Haida Nation, Bell-Holter has seen first hand how men of color often don't seek help for mental illnesses.

TENNESSEE WATSON

Last spring, Sequel Youth and Family Services, a national organization that runs facilities for youth with emotional and behavioral problems, gained attention when a young man named Cornelius Frederick was killed by staff at one of their facilities in Michigan. This week, an APM Reports investigation revealed a pattern of abuse and harm at juvenile treatment centers run by the organization.

In the last two years, eight of Sequel's facilities have been shut down, six of which were under pressure from or amid investigations by various government agencies across the country. Currently, its facilities in Alabama are under investigation, and Ohio is in the process of revoking its facility's license. Normative Services Institute (NSI), a private juvenile facility in Sheridan, Wyoming, is run by the same organization.



Dr. Bret Frey is an emergency room physician in Reno, Nevada, and he likens working in health care right now to fighting in a war. 

"I always thought that there was a good chance that World War III would happen in some form in my lifetime, I just didn't appreciate it was going to come in the form of a virus," Frey says.

Researchers have released a new guide for parents about how to keep their kids from being recruited by extremists online.

Between a global pandemic, the economic downtown and civil unrest across the country, Americans are facing high levels of stress and uncertainty, and many are turning to video games for relief.

This reporter happens to be one of them. But can these virtual experiences help in the real world?

As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, a new survey shows that depression is worsening across the nation and the Mountain West.


In 2004, ABC News correspondent Dan Harris was broadcasting live on the air on Good Morning America when he started experiencing a panic attack.

"My lungs seized up, my palms started sweating, my mouth dried up. I just couldn't speak," he says. "I had to quit in the middle of my little newscast. And it was really embarrassing."

A few weeks ago, Lesley Dickson, a psychiatrist in Las Vegas, says she started feeling concerned for the hospital workers treating COVID-19 patients. 

Normally, Laura Mayer helps the most acutely suicidal callers find the nearest hospital emergency room. But in a pandemic, that has become a crisis counselor's advice of last resort.

"It's a difficult decision because we do know that by sending them into an overburdened health care system, they may or may not get the treatment that they need," says Mayer, who is director of PRS CrisisLink in Oakton, Va., which also takes calls for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. "The resources may or may not be there, and we're exposing them to the illness."

Erin Jones

As people follow recommendations to stay home in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, some folks are left totally alone. That can be disruptive to mental health—especially in a state with one of the leading suicide rates.

Catherine Wheeler

The auditorium at the Sheridan VA Health Care System is a space for veterans to come, shoot pool, play board games, or just hang out.

But on Tuesday, March 3, it was serving as an art gallery. The VA is hosting its annual Creative Arts Festival that allows veterans from across the state to submit a wide range of artistic creations.

Recognizing the youth mental health crisis in the Mountain West, some states are debating bills that address the problem from both inside and outside of schools.

In response to skyrocketing youth suicide rates, one rural Colorado county is now offering kids two free vouchers to see a counselor at a local mental health center. 

Last year, on a warm Saturday evening in Boise, Idaho, Timmy Earl Kinner Jr. walked into the birthday party of a family. In a random attack, he stabbed nine people, including the birthday girl Ruya Kadir. That little girl died at just three years old.


Christ Episcopal Church and Park County Library hosted panel conversations on mental health challenges in the community on November 7. Identical midday and evening panels consisted of medical experts, a school district representative and mental health support group leaders. 

A new report shows youth suicide rates have spiked alarmingly in recent years, especially in the Mountain West.

As the Mountain West continues to see a disproportionate number of youth suicides, one tribe in Southwest Colorado is opening up a new mental health center on its reservation to deal with alarming rates there. 

Image: Martin Kraft (photo.martinkraft.com) License: CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The lack of mental health care services is the most important health problem impacting the Bighorn Basin region. That's according to a recent community survey conducted by health care organizations in the area. This is the first year Powell Valley Healthcare, Cody Regional Healthcare, Heritage health Center and Park County Public health are joining forces to complete the Community Health Needs Assessment.

The Rocky Mountain region continues to face some of the highest suicide rates in the country. A recent panel of experts in Colorado addressed what they said was one of the biggest hurdles to mental health: social stigma. 

Federal Bureau of Investigation / Wikimedia Commons

The Wyoming Legislature's Joint Judiciary Committee is considering addressing issues with the state's inability to share mental health information with federal government as part of compliance in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

Wyoming Department of Health

The Wyoming Department of Health is asking members of the public to share their thoughts about community-based mental health and substance use disorder services. 

wyomingmedicalcenter.org

The closing of an inpatient psychiatric unit in Lander has highlighted another issue in the state's mental healthcare system. That's the difficulty of transporting a mentally ill patient to and from a hospital.

Magellan In Wyoming

The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) and Wyoming Medicaid is working to help kids with complex behavioral health challenges find local care, instead of being placed in residential psychiatric treatment.

Kamila Kudelska

At the end of February, a major inpatient psychological unit in Wyoming closed its doors. The PineRidge Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit in Lander had shut down partly due to federal regulations. This has created a domino effect and the outpatient behavioral unit will also close its doors April 5. This leaves a mentally ill population without accessible critical care in northwest Wyoming. 

Fight Oar Die's Facebook

The first four-person team of American veterans rowed across the Atlantic Ocean in an effort to grow momentum on the need to increase awareness of and support for the mental and physical health of veterans. Two of those veterans are from Northwest Wyoming.

Last year the nation was shocked when a 9-year-old Colorado boy took his own life. A recent report says youth suicide is a public health crisis in Colorado and the numbers in the Mountain West as a whole are staggering, with some of the highest rates in the nation. At the same time, there’s a significant shortage of mental health professionals -- at crisis levels in some communities. Often, it’s mental health workers in schools who work on the front lines of this crisis.

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