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00000174-20f3-d47e-a1f7-72f75e560000KERA News' initiative to cover mental health is called "On Our Minds." Reporter Syeda Hasan is leading the effort.The station began focusing on the issue in 2013. Shortly after the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, KERA launched a project called Erasing the Stigma with The Dallas Morning News and the Dallas mayor’s office. It was the beginning of a years-long focus on mental health, which continues today.The latest On Our Minds series is focused on the people who care for folks with mental health issues. It's called The Caregivers.KERA's mental health coverage is funded in part by the Donna Wilhelm Family Fund and the Hersh Foundation.

'Study Up For Think': Hallucinations Aren't As Crazy As They Sound

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You're a generally well-adjusted person. You saw or heard something that wasn't real. Here's why that might not be a bad thing.

Seeing or hearing things that aren’t actually there? Up to ten percent of the general population is, and they aren't all mentally ill, says Dr. Oliver Sacks. He’s a professor of neurology at the NYU School of Medicine and author of the new book Hallucinations. Think host Krys Boyd explores the nuance of this widely recognized symptom of psychiatric disorders with Sacks today at 1 p.m.

Sacks describes the way hallucinations can provide emotional catharsis in this NY Times opinion piece. Though they were revered as gifts in pre-modern times for mystical reasons – and still are in other cultures – there is something distinctly human to be found in these sensory experiences.

In moments of grief, he writes, images of close friends or family we’ve lost can be cathartic. And for patients who are losing their sight or hearing, Sacks says hallucinations are a kind of last goodbye from the fading sense:

“David Stewart, a Charles Bonnet syndrome patient with whom I corresponded, writes of his hallucinations as being “altogether friendly,” and imagines his eyes saying: “Sorry to have let you down. We recognize that blindness is no fun, so we’ve organized this small syndrome, a sort of coda to your sighted life. It’s not much, but it’s the best we can manage.” 

You can hear the full podcast of this show on our Think page

Listen to Think at noon and 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, on KERA 90.1 or stream the show at kera.org.