Call centers struggle to hire for nation’s new mental health crisis line

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, help is available. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255 or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. HOUSTON — Jennifer Battle is open to just about anything to find people to answer the phones at her Houston-area crisis line. “It’s […]

Why scientists are looking for clues about coronavirus variants in wastewater

COLUMBIA – Mo. — Offshoots of the omicron coronavirus variant have driven a spike in cases in the U.S. Some scientists believe clues to how these subvariants emerge lie in wastewater, and tracking them down could help prevent the next dangerous strain of the virus. https://cpa.ds.npr.org/s4780019/audio/2022/05/covidvariants-web-edit.mp3 Listen to this story here. Marc Johnson, a professor […]

Fixing the Obamacare ‘glitch’ that pushed one couple to divorce

PORTLAND, Maine — The scene seems straight out of a movie: A young couple stands solemnly before the judge. They’ve been married just a year, and they’re here – for the second time – to ask for a divorce. A month ago, the same judge gave them a hard time, then said no. He still […]

How one Midwest doctor is preparing for a world without Roe

Dr. Lisa Harris has spent the past few months helping her health system prepare for the possibility that abortion could become illegal in Michigan. When a draft document leaked on May 2 indicated the U.S. Supreme Court might overturn Roe v. Wade, she realized she needed to double down. “I realized, wow, we really need […]

If Roe falls, many in the Midwest will have to travel to access abortion

    Kentucky lawmakers have been hard at work to erode access to abortion in the state — long before the leak of a draft opinion on May 2 indicating the U.S. Supreme Court might overturn Roe v. Wade and remove federal protections for abortion as early as June. In April, the Republican-led legislature overrode […]

Home health aides are hard to find — and it could get worse

WEST DES MOINES, Ia. — A lot has changed in Jonathan Miller’s life in the past decade, but one thing that’s remained consistent is his house. The brick two-bedroom ranch-style house in West Des Moines, Iowa, is filled with Jonathan’s art, photos, puzzles and a substantial collection of University of Iowa gear, like a handmade […]

How funding cuts for COVID-19 tests and treatments could worsen health disparities

INDIANAPOLIS — At the start of the pandemic, many wished there was a pill people could swallow to make a COVID-19 infection go away. Two years later, we have not just one, but two of those pills, in addition to other outpatient and inpatient treatments. https://cpa.ds.npr.org/s4780019/audio/2022/03/covidfunding-feature-web.mp3 Listen to this story here. The federal government established […]

Two years in: The pandemic through the eyes of a health care worker’s spouse

INDIANAPOLIS — Nicole Oberhelman’s house is small, cozy and brims with character. Every corner tells a story. A painting of the first dance from her wedding is next to the TV. Up until early March, Christmas decorations were still on display. The holiday was extra special this year, because it was the closest to a […]

How a rural hospital broke language barriers to provide COVID vaccines to immigrants

SEYMOUR, Ind. — In the days leading up to her hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic, hospital administrator Bethany Daugherty carefully monitored pre-registrations. The numbers were low: only about 30 people signed up to receive their shot. “I thought, ‘Well, 30 is better than zero,’” said Daughtery, the health and wellness education specialist at the Schneck Medical […]

Children caught in fight between youth treatment facilities and state agency

INDIANAPOLIS — When Lutherwood Residential Treatment Center is fully staffed, it treats about 80 children and teens with severe emotional and behavioral health needs. But the Indianapolis facility is suffering such a major staffing shortage, and it can only help half that many people. https://cpa.ds.npr.org/s4780019/audio/2022/01/youth-residential-treatment-seweb.mp3 Listen to this story here. Lutherwood is just one example […]

Some moms look to breast milk to protect kids too young to be vaccinated

Sara Freund’s son, Elijah, has an incurable kidney disorder. His medications suppress his immune system, making him especially vulnerable to contracting the coronavirus. Throughout the pandemic, the Freunds have been really careful. They sheltered in place in their Wisconsin home to protect Elijah as best as they could. Freund said they even kept Elijah’s older […]