Mental Health

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Scientists are conducting more and more studies on how nature affects the brain and how it can improve some health issues. WSIU's Brad Palmer has this report.

The first ever Find Hope Here Southern Illinois Suicide Prevention Conference recently concluded at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

It’s the middle of summer but Harrisburg Middle School is a hive of activity. Between summer school classes and renovations, it’s a little chaotic for counselor Brett Rawlings, who just wrapped up his first year at the school.

Harrisburg is a town of fewer than 300 people, midway between St. Louis and Kansas City. But the school also serves the surrounding area, which is primarily farmland. As the K-8 counselor, Rawlings is responsible for some 400 students, and he deals with a range of issues.


Losing a loved one to gun violence can cause anxiety, stress and other mental health symptoms. So can simply living in an environment where violence is common.

But experts say early intervention and support can help prevent some of those negative, long-term consequences.


WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Gene Basanta and Michele Mekel of SIU's School of Law about their upcoming Health Policy Institute.

According to mental health professionals, to effectively treat children with mental issues, because of a bad home–life  requires getting different health providers on the same page.

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Brad Palmer, WSIU Radio

The featured speaker at Friday's Southern Illinois Healthcare Coaches Clinic encouraged area high school coaches to focus less on wins and losses and more on the mental health of their student-athletes.

Tami Eggleston is a sports psychologist at McKendree University. She says anxiety disorders affect 25-percent of children between 13 and 18 years old.

Research shows African-Americans are less likely to access treatment for mental illness.

Cultural norms and the stigma associated with having a mental illness are partly to blame, according to Shardé Smith, assistant professor of human development and family studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Ashoor Rasho has spent more than half of his life alone in a prison cell—22 to 24 hours a day. The cell was so narrow he could reach his arms out and touch both walls at once.

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Brad Palmer, WSIU Radio

WSIU's Brad Palmer talks with a representative of Family Counseling Center and four of her clients about the often overlooked issue of loneliness, which a study by CIGNA suggests has reached epidemic levels in the U.S.

For more information about Family Counseling Center click here.

For more details about the CIGNA loneliness study click here.

In 2016, the Illinois Department of Corrections reached a settlement agreeing to properly care for the needs of mentally ill inmates. The lawsuit was filed a decade ago on behalf of inmates claiming the lack of care in prisons qualified as cruel and unusual punishment. On Wednesday, a federal judge found the corrections department is still failing to meet those needs. 

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State of Illinois

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner Wednesday signed a package of bills aimed at improving mental health throughout the state, especially in rural and underserved areas. 

It’s like facetiming your doctor… telemedicine allows patients to connect with mental and behavioral health specialists from a distance, and with this new legislation, Medicaid beneficiaries will now have access to these services.

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State of Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner Friday signed four pieces of legislation related to public safety.

One encourages police officers to seek mental health treatment, without jeopardizing their career.

Centerstone is teaming up with nine community partners to try to improve the mental health of children and communities in southern Illinois.

A 200-thousand dollar planning grant from the Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation will help develop a plan for at-risk kids in Jackson, Williamson, Franklin and Perry Counties.

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Centerstone's Niki Grajewski about increased awareness of suicide, and how people can help those in trouble.

Illinois lawmakers are considering legislation that aims to address mental health parity in the state.

A state lawmaker wants to give Illinois police officers more power to take away guns from someone who might be dangerous.

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Consortium for Educational Change

Schools in 15 southern Illinois counties can participate in a program to help students deal with stress outside the classroom.

The Consortium for Educational Change and the Partnership for Resilience received a 50-thousand dollar grant to support a program to limit the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACES.

The Illinois Department of Human Services has hired a Boston-based company to run an opioid help hotline despite receiving proposals from at least three Illinois providers.

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Governor's office

The Illinois Department of Corrections Wednesday announced most of its workers have completed mental-illness training.

It's part of the settlement in a long-running legal dispute over how Illinois prisons treat inmates with mental-health disorders.

WSIU/Kevin Boucher

This year, to honor excellence in the field of mental health care, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a branch of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, handed out 26 awards nationwide to highlight exceptional service in the field of mental health care.  Two of those awards went to providers in southern Illinois: The SIU School of Medicine, The Trauma Informed Systems of Care Learning Collaborative, The Children's Medical and Mental Health Resource Network in Anna and the Poshard Foundation for Abused Children.  In this report, we will hear what this means to rural southern Illinois.

Want to be smarter? More focused? Free of memory problems as you age?

If so, don't count on brain games to help you.

That's the conclusion of an exhaustive evaluation of the scientific literature on brain training games and programs. It was published Monday in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest.

About one in five children in the United States shows signs of a mental health disorder — anything from ADHD to eating disorders to suicide.

And yet, as we've been reporting this month, many schools aren't prepared to work with these students. Often, there's been too little training in recognizing the problems, the staff who are trained are overworked, and there just isn't enough money.

This story is part of our NPR Ed series on mental health in schools.

In the waning days of summer vacation, Sydney and Laney are enjoying their final moments of freedom flipping over a high bar at a playground close by their house in Spartanburg, S.C.

"You've got to pull your hips into the bar," says their mom, Selena, motioning to the girls, "you've got to kick up like that!"

"I tried to kick!" Laney says indignantly. "I did this – you told me not to stick out!"

Per the terms of a court settlement ... Illinois is expanding services for mentally ill prisoners.

The department of corrections Friday announced it will take over a section of a state-run mental health hospital in Elgin.

NPR explores mental health challenges in schools across the nation.

Thanks to an $80,000 grant from the SIU School of Medicine Rural Health Initiative and a #100,000 donation from The Poshard Foundation for Abused Children, 180 abused children in southern Illinois are receiving a new treatment called Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. 

  A federal judge has approved the settlement in a lawsuit over the treatment of Illinois’ mentally ill prisoners.

Without admitting wrongdoing, Department of Corrections Director John Baldwin says his agency is building four new mental health units, hiring more staff, and changing its policies on solitary confinement.

Several guns bills have been proposed this legislative session in Illinois.

Some of the bills have gained some traction...where others have stalled.

A federal grant will allow a social service agency in southern Illinois to offer a new program to improve someone's overall health.

Centerstone is receiving a $1.6 million grant over the next four years to implement an integrated health program designed to help a patient's mental and physical health.

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