Mental Health: On Our Minds | KERA News

Mental Health: On Our Minds

Credit Allison V. Smith / For KERA News

KERA News is building an initiative to cover mental health called "On Our Minds," and 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.

A park bench is cordoned off Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in Houston.
AP Photo/David J. Phillip

In a matter of weeks, the coronavirus pandemic has changed daily life for millions of North Texans. Local and national groups are offering resources to help manage anxiety, stress and uncertainty in this time of transition.

AP Photo/Eric Gay

Like many North Texans, Erin Peavey is spending more time at home these days. She and her family have made changes to their daily routine.

Denton resident Amanda Dolin and her children keep an open dialogue about how they're feeling.
Amanda Dolin

Growing up, Denton resident Amanda Dolin didn't understand why her mother spent days crying and struggling to get out of bed. Dolin wondered if she'd done something wrong, and she tried and failed to cheer her mother up.

"I knew that she was sick, but as a child, I didn't have a name for it," Dolin said.

Dolin's mother was diagnosed with depression, and eventually, she found effective treatment. When Dolin was a teenager, she began seeing a psychiatrist. That's when it clicked that she wasn't to blame for her mother's sadness.

Patrick Parker doing pushups
Syeda Hasan / KERA News

A retired army veteran is traveling the country, completing thousands of pushups to raise awareness of bullying and mental illness among children. 

Dr. Philip Huang knows North Texans are worried about the potential spread of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Courtney Wakefield

Parents who've spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) carry anxiety with them even after their baby is released.

The NICU's constant barrage of doctors and beeping monitors is traumatic — and that trauma lingers.

woman holding stop deportation sign
Brynn Anderson / Associated Press

A new study found that having a relationship with a migrant who is deported or detained can put Latino Americans at a greater risk for hazardous drinking and drug use.

The Stomp the Stigma team speaks about their mental health initiative at an event for the North Texas chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Courtesy of Stomp the Stigma

On a Monday morning, 11th graders Kedar Kashyap and Marjan Tukdi left Centennial High School in Frisco to spend the day at Lawler Middle School across the street, teaching younger students about mental health.

 roundtable with the state's Domestic Terrorism Task Force
Office Of The Governor

The shooting at a church in White Settlement nearly two weeks ago is just one of many incidents of public gun violence Americans have faced in recent years. 

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The KERA series On Our Minds: The Caregivers  has been spotlighting North Texans navigating the challenges of caregiving. One of the toughest trials for caregivers can be processing the mental and emotional loss of a loved one who is still living. 

Photo by Allison V. Smith / For KERA News

In the KERA series On Our Minds: The Caregivers we met North Texans navigating the legal and personal challenges of caregiving. 

Debbie Spruell
Allison V. Smith / For KERA News

When a child is diagnosed with a mental illness, parents can play a crucial role in their treatment, but what happens when those children become adults?

Ashley Williams
Allison V. Smith / For KERA News

Teachers and school counselors are often the first to notice when a student is struggling. Again and again, educators find themselves going beyond their assigned duties to care for children's mental and emotional needs. 

Tech Guerrero, his husband and his mother.
Allison V. Smith / For KERA News

Living with a mental illness can be daunting. Caring for someone on that journey comes with its own unique challenges. 

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Texas Health and Human Services is getting a financial boost from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline aimed to help more Texans get the mental health help they need.

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Having a strained relationship with a family member may be tougher on your mental health than a troubled romantic relationship, according to a new study in the Journal of Family Psychology.

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From hitting the gym to reading more books, many people resolve to make positive life changes only to have those lofty resolutions fall by the wayside a few months later. Why is it so difficult to rid ourselves of bad habits or to make ambitious new routines stick? 

Brain Scan
Liz Henry / flickr

We often hear men are inherently more violent or that a woman’s brain makes her a deeper thinker, but are those stereotypes based in science? 

Jessica Diaz-Hurtado / KERA News

Faith leaders from across North Texas are getting together to explore how religious communities can open the door to conversations about mental health.

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Transitioning from military to civilian life is notoriously challenging. For female veterans, the process involves several unique barriers, many that are just now being acknowledged. 

kreep (cc) flickr

Sleep disorders keep many people from getting a good night's rest. Neurologist Dr. Guy Leschziner joins Think host Krys Boyd to talk about sleepwalking and why some people find themselves driving, eating or cooking in their sleep. His new book is called, “The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience, and the Secret World of Sleep.”

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Medical school is draining. It’s a mix of sleepless nights spent studying, a lot of student debt, massive pressure to succeed, and learning to treat difficult patients over long hours at the hospital. This recipe for mastering medicine been used to train generations of physicians, but it appears to bake in a problem: Over the course of their studies, medical students tend to become less empathetic over the course of their training.

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We all have an ACE score, or a tally of adverse childhood experiences. ACEs refer to any kind of abuse, neglect or traumatic experience that a child faces before they turn 18. The more of those difficult experiences a person faced, the higher their ACE score.

Photo illustration KERA News

Whether it's a passion for health care or a desire to help others, many therapists get into the profession for deeply personal reasons. KERA's Syeda Hasan has been talking with therapists around the state. Here are their stories about what drew them to this line of work.

The Federal Communications Commission is proposing to launch a new three-digit hotline for people who are feeling suicidal or are going through any other mental health crisis. It recommends making 988 the new national number to call for help, replacing the current 10-digit number.

The agency presented the idea to Congress in a report earlier this month and is expected to release more information and seek public comment about the proposal in the coming months.

An asylum-seeking boy from Central America runs down a hallway of a shelter in San Diego after arriving from an immigration detention center on Dec. 11, 2018. Experts say when parents are detained or deported, the children's trauma can last a long time.
Associated Press

Physical pain, post-traumatic stress and inconsolable crying are just some of the experiences of migrant children highlighted in a report out this month from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. 

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Lithium has been hailed a "miracle drug" for treating bipolar disorder. Walter A. Brown, clinical professor emeritus at Brown University, talks with Think host Krys Boyd about how the drug has been a transformative treatment for many people with bipolar disorder. 

From Texas Standard:

Students in Odessa returned to class on Tuesday, many of them dressed in yellow. It was planned by Odessa High School’s student council to show support, and convey a sense of hope, after the recent mass shooting that killed one of their classmates, 15-year-old Leilah Hernandez.

How High Heat Can Impact Mental Health

Sep 4, 2019

Jeanetta Churchill is blasting the air conditioning in her Baltimore row house. A massive heat wave just swept through the city, with temperatures topping 100 degrees. "I don't even want to see what my power bill is this coming month," she says.

Keeping cool in the summer months isn't just a matter of comfort, says Churchill. It helps her manage the symptoms of her bipolar disorder. Churchill says if she doesn't keep her house cool enough to sleep through the night, she can spiral into a manic episode with fits of rapid talking, irrational purchases, or even suicidal thoughts.

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It's normal to have anxiety around forgetting parts of our past, but the process can be beneficial to our life experience, says author Lewis Hyde.

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