Mental Health

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. 

The Art of Prescribing Antidepressants

Jan 14, 2014
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.

Positive Thinking: New Year's Resolutions

Jan 6, 2014
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.

Ben Stanton / Iowa Public Radio

Studies estimate that at least one in every five veterans experiences post-traumatic stress disorder after returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, guest host Emily Woodbury talks with two Iowans working to change that statistic.

Steven Lancaster, an assistant professor of psychology at Drake University, discusses his new study on how a soldier's "military identity" affects their likelihood of experiencing anxiety or depression.

Scott* / flickr

We continue our series on corrections in Iowa by talking about mandatory minimum sentences. What is the goal of mandatory sentences and how effective are they? What are their legal, social and economic impacts?

In the second half hour, host Ben Kieffer takes a look at Iowa’s special courts – drug courts and mental health courts, for example. We find out how they work differently than conventional courts, the case for how special courts save lives and money, and why several drug courts in the state have closed.

Altered Memories

Jun 10, 2013
Matthew Purdy

Host Ben Kieffer explores memories this hour.  First, he has a talk with ISU Assistant Professor Jason Chan about his research showing how our memories can be altered by incorrect information.  In the second half, you can hear about how memories are affected by aging.  Guests include representatives from long-term care facilities, and a woman who tells her personal story helping her husband deal with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Just about everyone – from the National Rifle Association to the American Civil Liberties Union — agrees that the mental health system in this country is broken. In Iowa, many local sheriffs say that means their county jails have become way stations for people with mental illness. Iowa Public Radio’s Sandhya Dirks reports on what can happen when county jails are tasked with caring for the mentally ill.

Nicole Shumate

Thousands of veterans have returned from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. Nightmares or flashbacks, angry outbursts, and hyper vigilance are common symptoms. In addition, many veterans also have to learn to live with physical injuries. A Des Moines-based not-for-profit called Paws & Effect is helping some Iowa veterans live better lives by training and placing psychiatric service and mobility dogs.

Flickr / Luciana Christante

Is National Napping Day on your calendar? Neurologist Dr. Eric Dyken--"The Sleep Doctor"--returns to "River to River" to talk discuss napping.  He'll also give some sleep advice as we go into daylight saving time this weekend.

Dejah Thoris / Flickr

Being healthy just isn't about  maintaining a healthy weight and getting enough exercise. It's also about how you feel emotionally. With this year's Live Healthy Iowa Challenge kicking off,  host Charity Nebbe talks about emotional health and how physical health affects your emotional health. Also, how music and laughter can affect your emotional health.

Center for American Progress / Flickr

Host Ben Kieffer talks with UI psychiatrist and professor of medicine Donald Black about his views on proposed changes in mental health policy as a potential remedy for reducing gun violence. Dr. Black is well known for studying various personality disorders. Also psychologist Craig Anderson of ISU tells us about research on the connections between virtual media violence and real life violence.

Franco / Flickr

Everyone can appreciate a sincere compliment and a few high school students in Iowa City are embracing that truth. Charity Nebbe talks with the West High Bros about their efforts to make their school a better place. Then we explore the power of kindness and positive thinking.

College Degrees 360 / Flickr

Our bodies tell us when we’re stressed. Shoulder tension, eye twitch, insomnia... and for some of us the physical effects of stress can be downright dangerous. Host Charity Nebbe talks about our cultural reluctance to take time out or time off, and we’ll find out about the importance of listening to our bodies and using our vacation days.

There are several recent studies showing how meditation can help fight cancer, PTSD, learning disabilities, as well as everyday physical and mental ailments. Host Charity Nebbe talks with meditators across the state to find out how the practice of meditation impacts their lives. Charity also talks with Dr. Luke Hansen about how stress affects the body and why meditation is an effective method to fight pain.

Silver Mane Publishing / Larry Wohlgemuth

Approximately one out every five children in the United States will be sexually abused before the age of 16. Larry Wohlgemuth was one of those kids. Charity Nebbe talks with him about his experiences and his new book, “Larry Tells Stories: A Journey of Sexual Abuse, PTSD and Recovery.” Charity also talks with Kathy Lowenberg who counsels victims of sexual abuse.

Prairie Lights / Facebook

Marvin Bell, a former Iowa Poet Laureate, and Christopher Merrill, author and director of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program, are both men with many fascinating things to say. Together, the two friends talk with Charity Nebbe about the issues they explored of life, love, and memory through a correspondence in poetry, which they compiled into the book, "Everything At Once."

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