‘It’s given me purpose’ – Woodworking becomes an outlet for some veterans

AURORA — After hearing about the number of veterans who die by suicide, one northern Illinois man decided to do something about it. A total of 167 Illinois veterans took their lives in 2019, according to Illinois Department of Public Affairs. The average number of Illinois veteran suicides from 2015 through 2018 is 159. https://cpa.ds.npr.org/s528/audio/2022/04/0421vetf.mp3 […]

State bill addresses addiction, mental illness stigma by paying employers

A man sits next to a doctor's office brain chart. In the foreground, a man wears a white coat.

SPRINGFIELD — Lawmakers in Springfield are attempting to address stigmas around mental illness and substance abuse – by paying employers to hire those in recovery. If the Recovery Tax Credit bill passes, the state would lower taxes for businesses that hire people who have, at minimum, started treatment for mental illness or substance abuse. “One […]

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 […]

Need for mental health services on campus grows but resources remain tight

Despite a growing need for mental health services in the community, the director of the Counseling Center at the University of Illinois says the resources remain underfunded and understaffed. “I think mental health services everywhere are underfunded,” said Center director Carla McCowan. “How many staff members do you need before you meet demands? What’s that […]

In some prisons, people on suicide watch are monitored by peers, not professionals

A note to readers: This story contains descriptions of self-harm. If you’re 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. INDIANAPOLIS — Phone calls from her mother were usually a comfort for Char’Dae Avery, 29, while she was incarcerated […]

John Hinckley, Who Shot President Reagan, Wins Unconditional Release

WASHINGTON — A federal judge has approved the unconditional release next year of John Hinckley Jr., who wounded President Ronald Reagan and three others outside a Washington, D.C., hotel in a failed assassination attempt in 1981. Hinckley is now 66 years old and has been living outside a mental health facility for the past several […]

Amid Rising COVID-19 Hospitalizations, Nurses Face Increasing Risk Of Burnout

IOWA CITY — Bridget Otto has been dreading watching her hospital COVID unit fill up once again. “The last shift that I was there, we lost several people that were very young,” Otto said. “There were multiple times on our shifts that we just bawled. Like, we just gave each other hugs and cried.” https://cpa.ds.npr.org/s4780019/audio/2021/08/se-nursing-edit-withintro.mp3 […]

Pandemic Exacerbates Lack of Mental And Emotional Support For Teachers

URBANA – Since March 2020, when regular classroom teaching was curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers have been juggling transitions between remote, hybrid, and in-person learning; changing class schedules; students with a wide variety of technical needs; and their own mental and physical health. Some Champaign-Urbana teachers say trying to help their students through […]

Bills Expanding Access To Mental Health Care Are Among Several Signed Into Law

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois residents will soon have greater access to mental health services under measures Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law Friday. Starting Jan. 1, most insurance companies doing business in Illinois will be required to provide their beneficiaries with timely and proximate access to treatment for mental, emotional, nervous or substance abuse disorders. That […]

While Waiting For Mental Health Care, Children Suffer

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Family pictures and religious art cover the walls in Meg Hartz’s home in South Bend, Indiana. She’s sitting on the end of a sofa, with a notepad to her left and a crochet kit to her right. In this spot — what she calls her command center — she’s spent hours […]

Mental Health Crisis: Children At Breaking Point During COVID

On a tree-lined street, behind a welcoming front porch with an American flag and cushioned furniture, a mother tries to calm her teenage son. At the moment, the boy is jamming a dog toy at the throat of his chihuahua mix. “Don’t force it, don’t force it,” she says, as the boy shoves harder, pushing […]