Mental Health

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The FCC has voted to create a three digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The number, 9-8-8 is designed to make it easier for people to remember and reach the hotline during a mental health crisis. Telephone providers will work to establish the new number over the next two years.

In the meantime, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline will continue to operate at the current number, 1-800-273-8255.

Studies have found the rates of mental illness and suicide are higher for farmers. They work long hours, have limited social contact and are at the mercy of factors such as weather. Now the COVID-19 pandemic is creating even greater challenges to their livelihood—and mental health. 

About 20 or so women were gathered for a late afternoon video conference. Some had glasses of wine, or cups of coffee. You could see pets in a few frames. It was March 26, when COVID-19 cases were beginning to ramp up in Indiana.

One of the women, Dr. Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, posed a question: Was anyone else feeling guilty? 

Some fear the stress of social isolation, historic unemployment and health fears during the pandemic threatens our mental health. Dozens of national organizations raised concerns to Congress that the U.S. is unprepared to handle what may be a mental health crisis.

In partnership with the Center for Public Integrity, Columbia Journalism Investigations and Side Effects Public Media.

Every year, weather-related disasters ravage communities across the United States: floods in the Farm Belt, fires in the West and hurricanes along the South and East coasts.

Scientists say these disasters also lead to skyrocketing rates of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. One survey of Hurricane Katrina survivors found that a third had mood disorders, and suicidal thoughts more than doubled. Many studies suggest similar outcomes after wildfires and floods.

Illinois residents who have COVID-19 symptoms or may have been exposed will be able to recover from their homes with the help of a new patient monitoring program.

The governor announced the statewide program Saturday. Those who are sick but don’t need to be in the hospital will have daily virtual visits with health workers. They will also receive wellness kits with alcohol wipes, thermometers, and blood pressure cuffs. 

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Centerstone will be offering a series of video conferences to support parents in April. The conferences are part of the Parent Peers Empowering Parents program and will help families get support while continuing social distancing.

Illinois lawmakers are considering a proposal to give students mental health days away from school.

The legislation would allow children in kindergarten through twelfth grade who have mental health issues the opportunity to take up to five days off during the school year.

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Illinois State Police

Two former employees at Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center in Anna have been arrested for official misconduct and other charges.

A third suspect is being sought.

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File

In a move designed to increase access for substance use disorder services across southern Illinois, Centerstone and Fellowship House of Anna are aligning their services, starting on January 6.

The two organizations made the announcement Thursday. 

Lawyers are asking a federal judge to hold the state of Illinois in contempt over the way it deals with mental illness in prisons.

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File

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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