mental health

Sanka Party
6:38 am
Tue March 12, 2013

The Sanka Party Brews Activism Inside A Mental Hospital

The Sanka Party's homemade logo.
Credit John Ryan / Northwest News Network

The Tea Party has become a fixture in American politics. But the Sanka Party? Not so much. Other than an interest in hot beverages, the two activist groups have little in common. The Sanka Party got started last summer near Tacoma, Wash., in the unlikeliest of places: inside the walls of the state’s largest psychiatric institution.

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Mental Health Reform
5:02 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Oregon Senate President Calls for Mental Health Reform

Virginia Alvino Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 4:56 pm

SALEM, Ore. – One of the most influential state lawmakers in Salem wants Oregon to make what he calls a “game-changing” investment in community mental health services. Democratic Senate President Peter Courtney proposes a dedicated tax or fee to cover the expense.

According to the Oregon Health Authority, fewer than half of adults who need mental health treatment actually get it. The number is even lower for young people.

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Mental Health
6:19 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Shootings Push Mental Health Into Spotlight In Salem

The Clackamas town center, at which a shooting occurred late last year.
Credit Photo by Steve Morgan / Wikimedia Commons

Recent mass shootings in Oregon and Connecticut have thrust mental health issues into the spotlight. Some Oregon lawmakers and mental health advocates hope there's enough momentum to keep the conversation front and center. Unlike gun control, there is a consensus that appears to be emerging on funding mental health programs.

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Mental Health Care
6:18 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Newtown Shooting Raises Questions About Mental Health Funding

Little information is available yet to conclude whether the shooter in Newtown, Connecticut was diagnosed with or treated for mental illness. But last week’s incident has raised questions around the country about mental health--specifically, funding for mental health treatment and services. Ruby de Luna looks at how Washington’s mental health services have fared over the years.

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Gambling Addiction
5:06 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Oregon Lottery's Anti-Addiction Efforts Under Scrutiny

A sign for video lottery in Portland, Ore.
Credit Thomas Hawk / Flickr

  The Oregon Lottery spends millions of dollars a year to prevent gambling addiction. But some Oregon lawmakers say that effort has been ineffective. Now, a legislative committee may force the Lottery to hire someone to coordinate its anti-addiction efforts.

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Psychiatric Safety
6:26 am
Thu November 29, 2012

State Senator To Propose More Security in Psychiatric Wards

The front entrance of Western State Hospital in Lakewood.
Credit Photo by John Ryan / Northwest News Network

One Washington state senator says it is past time for lawmakers to increase safety at the state’s two psychiatric hospitals. Paige Browning reports Senator Mike Carrell announced he will propose legislation in the coming term.

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Psychiatric Patient Death
6:06 am
Wed November 21, 2012

One Patient Dead, Another Arrested At Eastern State Hospital

A patient was found dead early Tuesday at a psychiatric hospital in eastern Washington, leading to the arrest of patient in the same unit. The woman in custody is suspected of murder.

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Western State Hospital Safety
7:16 am
Fri September 7, 2012

Safety And Suicide At Western State Hospital

The front entrance of Western State Hospital in Lakewood.
Photo by John Ryan Northwest News Network

Western State Hospital, near Tacoma, is the largest psychiatric institution in the Pacific Northwest. Its mission statement says the hospital--

Actor: "provides a healing environment free from danger, fear, hurt, injury, coercion, or intimidation for people with psychiatric disabilities. … Through vigilant attention and effort, WSH ensures a safe haven."

One week in April, Western failed to live up to those words, and the consequences were dire. Attention was less than vigilant, and two patients wound up dead. In part one of our public radio investigation, KUOW's John Ryan reported on the case of one of those patients. She committed suicide. In part two of our investigation, John looks at the safety improvements Western has, and hasn't, made since April.

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Western State Hospital Suicide
6:55 am
Thu September 6, 2012

Through The Cracks: The Life And Death Of Megan Templeton

Megan Templeton on her 20th birthday at Sunnyside Beach Park, Steilacoom, Wash. She died four days later.
Photo by Suzanne Kuhns

In the past decade, a dozen Western State Hospital patients have killed themselves. More than a hundred others have tried. Megan Templeton was the most recent. In April, she hanged herself in her hospital room. She had turned 20 the day before. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for teenagers and young adults in Washington.

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Mental Health System For Veterans
5:14 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Two Years Later, Former Soldier "Vindicated" By PTSD Diagnosis

Former Army SSG Richard Kellar was recently re-assessed for PTSD. The result was a positive diagnosis.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Washington Sen. Patty Murray has introduced legislation to overhaul the mental health system for war veterans. The move comes in the wake of a scandal at Washington’s Madigan Army Hospital. Doctors there incorrectly told dozens of soldiers they didn’t suffer from PTSD. One of those soldiers was Richard Kellar.

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