mental health

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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Western State Hospital
6:29 am
Thu June 14, 2012

Western State Hospital CEO Resigns

The head of Washington's largest psychiatric hospital is stepping down. Western State Hospital CEO Jess Jamieson announced his resignation to hospital staff Tuesday. The announcement came as the Tacoma-area hospital deals with the aftermath of two patients' violent deaths in April. KUOW's John Ryan has the story.

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Western State Violence
6:46 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Violence On The Rise At Western State Hospital

Three employees at Western State Hospital near Tacoma were attacked by a patient Wednesday morning. Officials say the three were taken to the emergency room but could not provide more details.

Western State Hospital is Washington's most violent workplace. 335 assaults were reported there in the past 12 months. That’s a slight increase from the year before but lower than prior years.

One nurse at Western told John Ryan what it's like to become a statistic.

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