Mental Health

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

A Cedar Rapids psychiatrist is concerned with the closing of the Mt. Pleasant Mental Health Institute and a general lack of mental health services, including specialized residential programs.

The closing of Mt. Pleasant means the state's only residential program that caters to people with both psychiatric and substance abuse issues will discontinue.  Dr. Al Whitters says this is a much-needed service.

Iowa lawmakers from the House and Senate weighed the benefits of closing two of the state's four mental health institutes, during a joint subcommittee today.

Under Gov. Terry Branstad’s proposal the Clarinda and Mt. Pleasant facilities would close, consolidating adult psychiatric services at Independence and Cherokee mental health institutes.  Clarinda has 9 inpatient psychiatric beds and Mt. Pleasant 15.

kc7fys / Flickr

In the budget proposal he released last week, Governor Branstad quietly cut funding for two of Iowa's four mental health institutes.

25 Mile March

Oct 24, 2014

U.S. Army veteran John Lame and Iowa National Guardsman Chad Madison are organizing what they hope will be an annual event to raise awareness about solider suicide. Lame says their effort is based on a program in Minnesota called The Next Objective held each October 23rd.

Courtesy of Joan Becker

Five years ago, Mark Becker shot Aplington-Parkersburg head coach Ed Thomas. His mother, Joan, is now an advocate for mental health in Iowa. 

There’s little doubt that college sports are at a crossroads. As money collides with education, Drake University’s Athletic Director says it’s time to make sports “co-curricular” instead of “extra-curricular.”

Milosz Reterski / Navy NewsStand

Robin Williams's death has dominated news coverage in the past week. But how much of that coverage has been helpful and how much as been harmful?

Rick Fredericksen / Iowa Public Radio

It was 60 years ago when mental health professionals welcomed a new option for their patients. Instead of radical brain surgery and dangerous forms of shock treatment, doctors could prescribe a simple oral medication for the first time. An Iowa woman was a nurse during this crucial turning point and IPR’s Rick Fredericksen has her story. 

Linh Ta/IowaWatch / IowaWatch.org

Accommodations are available for college students struggling with depression, but university counseling centers are struggling to keep up with the demand. Hear about an IowaWatch.org report on the difficulty these students experience including what is often a harsh stigma associated with being depressed.

Amanda Hatfield

Today's River to River examines the diagnosis of depression, treatment options, and the possibility of prescribing anti-depressants to people with mild symptoms of depression or even merely sadness. Guests also evaluate how depression in farmers is treated and viewed differently than others.

Stacie Mitchell, Director of Clinical Services, LMHC RPT CCDP-D

More than 1600 families are on Iowa’s children's mental health wavier waiting list. That means there are 1600 families who can’t access certain services they need in order to care for their children. For the past two years, Kim Jensen’s family has been one of those. She says it got really hard not having help caring for her daughter, Grace, who she and her husband adopted through the Iowa foster care system. “She was severely aggressive when she was 5 and 6 years old. She is little, but she is strong. After a while, we couldn’t find anyone to watch her.

Brian Friedman / Wikimedia

Comedian Mike Birbiglia hit the big time by sharing his most intimate and embarrassing experiences on stage.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with him about storytelling and the power of oversharing.  Birbiglia is traveling the country right now with his latest show, “Thank God For Jokes,”  and is appearing at Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines on Saturday, May 17th.  He’s also become a regular panelist on NPR’s "Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me," and filmed a role in one of the most anticipated movies of the year.  A conversation about making people laugh, the conne

Martin Terber

This week, Iowa State University discovered a security breach affecting computer servers that contained Social Security numbers of thousands of students.  Host Ben Kieffer speaks with Provost Jonathan Wickert about how ISU is protecting their data against hackers.

Mary Thompson Riney

Despite news reports that highlight danger, the world is actually a much safer place for children than it once was.  Accidental death rates for children were much higher in the early 19th and 20th centuries.  And yet, children who were once encouraged to go outside and play, are now highly supervised in organized sports and spend more time watching television than playing outdoors.  On this Earth Day, Host Charity Nebbe talks with historian Pamela Riney-Kehrberg about her new book The Nature of Childhood: An Enivornmental History of Growing Up in America since 1865."  In it, Kehrbe

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

Mercy Medical Center is expanding its capacity to treat people for short term mental health emergencies on its Des Moines campus. The nearly $12 million project moves the behavioral health treatment center from a separate facility, to take up two floors of the hospital’s west building.

Dr. Sasha Khostravi directs the unit for children and teens. Often—he says—there aren’t enough psychiatric beds to meet demand. The average stay in the inpatient facility is three days.

Photo by John Pemble

Children with serious mental health issues are waiting as long as two years to receive services in their communities.  Host Clay Masters talks with Tammy from Iowa City whose son has been diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome, Bipolar Disorder, Asperger's Syndrome and Oppositional Defiance Disorder.  She says services like respite care are essential for families exhausted from caring for a suicidal or angry child.  But such services aren't covered by insurance.  A children's mental health waiver is designed to cover the gap between what insurance covers and what services are needed, but the wa

SD Dirk

Host Ben Kieffer talks with Iowa Public Radio's Des Moines correspondent Rick Fredricksen about how lobotomies became common practice for curing PTSD in Iowa veterans after WWII.  Also, the Des Moines Register's Bryce Miller discusses the Cyclones in the Sweet 16, and the University of Iowa turns down HBO's

Rick Fredericksen / Iowa Public Radio

From radical brain surgery, to drug therapy and meditation, Iowa veterans have done it all while coping with mental illness in the aftermath of war. Treatments have come a long way since lobotomies were performed on World War II vets in Knoxville.  

See the Wall Street Journal investigation

Janet Crum

Serving in the military changes one's perspective on life, but often it also alters the way they face death.  Ben Kieffer speaks with Deborah Grassman, the CEO and co-founder of Opus Peace.  Opus Peace  is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help people work through trauma.

Prior to Opus Peace, Grassman worked as a nurse practitioner for three decades at the Department of Veterans Affairs. She was also the director of the VA's hospice program and personally took care of over 10,000 dying veterans.

Linh Ta/IowaWatch / IowaWatch.org

Accommodations are available for college students struggling with depression, but university counseling centers are struggling to keep up with the demand. Hear about an IowaWatch.org report on the difficulty these students experience including what is often a harsh stigma associated with being depressed.  Also in this program, media political economist Robert McChesney has a bleak assessment of our new age of internet journalism. “Rupert Murdoch, the greatest media imperialist of our era, the guy who’s had patience of decades to take over China.

The Moth

The Moth Radio Hour has captured the hearts of public radio listeners, but before those “true stories told live” make it to the radio they are told on a stage somewhere in the United States. This Friday that stage is the Iowa City's Englert Theatre.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with Maggie Cino, director of The Moth, and the host of Friday’s event Peter Aguero.  

daniellehelm

Approximately 11 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder.  These diseases are hard to understand, difficult to treat and often deadly. 

Amanda Hatfield

Today's River to River examines the diagnosis of depression, treatment options, and the possibility of prescribing anti-depressants to people with mild symptoms of depression or even merely sadness. Guests also evaluate how depression in farmers is treated and viewed differently than others.

puuikibeach / flickr

Every year on New Year’s Day a lot of people make resolutions: to lose weight, to save money, to be more organized.  Sadly, most of those resolutions fail.    Join host Charity Nebbe for this talk about making resolutions you can keep and that will actually enhance your life.  Guests include Mitch Horowitz, author of One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life, and Kevin Krumvieda, Clinical Psychologist in private practice in North Liberty. 

Nicholas Jones

We’ve made it through Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, but the ads keep coming and will continue for the next three weeks. For many, this emphasis on the material aspects of the holiday season can become overwhelming and may even overshadow the joy and fun of this special time of year.

U.S. Embassy New Delhi

Iowa Public Radio listeners share their memories of the death of President John F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.  Also historian Tom Schwartz of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum joins the conversation to share his own reflections of the event and to discuss the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.

martin/ x1klima / Flickr
Alaina Abplanalp Photography / flickr

In the wake of recent violence, including the recent Washington Navy Yard shooting, some look to gun control as a solution and some point to an increased focus on mental health care. Today host Ben Kieffer and guests examine the link (or lack thereof) between violence and mental illness, and they talk about the stigma surrounding the mentally ill.

In the second half of the program, they discuss the Iowa Mental Health and Disability Redesign signed into law back in 2011. And, they check in to see the impact of the transition so far and its effect looking towards the future.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

One week before the Abbe Center’s scheduled closing, Brandie Anderson came to pack up a van with her mother’s belongings, destined for the nearby Penn Center.

“It was just nice to know she was here, I think this was the safest place for her. My mom just wasn’t a number or a resident, she was a person here,” Anderson said.  

Tito Perez

Name a famous person who appears regularly on NPR. His first name can be a noun or a verb, and his last name sounds like an article of clothing. Puzzlemaster Will Shortz joins Host Charity Nebbe to talk about how the New York Times crossword puzzle is put together and a little about his love of table tennis.  And hear about real-world problem solving with Invent Iowa, and one particular invention made by middle school girls in Council Bluffs.

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