Mental Health

Essential Pittsburgh
6:40 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Looking for Ways to Address Deficiencies in County Mental Health Services

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner
Credit Allegheny County

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner has announced that a recent audit revealed that complex procedures and internal deficiencies in the County's Department of Human Services (DHS) could prevent people who are seeking mental health services from getting the help they need.

Wagner and District Attorney Stephen Zappala have jointly investigated DHS’ contracted work with Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic’s Re:Solve Crisis Network. Wagner pointed out the decline in funding for mental health programs nationally and statewide. She thinks Allegheny County needs to look at ways to best provide services with limited funding in mind.

Jamie Harris, Director of Advocacy Services at Mental Health America Allegheny County says lack of access to mental health treatment is indeed influenced by cuts in funding, but also the stigmatization of those with a mental illness. 

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Allegheny County
7:50 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Audit Finds Issues at DHS Could Lead to Treatment Delays for Mental Health Care

A recent audit from Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner has found that complex procedures and internal deficiencies in the Department of Human Services (DHS) could lead to problems in the facilitation of mental health services in the county.

“I think this audit shows that there are a number of breaks in the process and those breaks could result in residents in need falling through the cracks if they’re not receiving that help that they need in that most critical hour,” Wagner said.

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Mental Health
1:49 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Grant Helps More Pennsylvanians Receive Mental Health Services

One in four people live with some form of mental illness in the United States, according to the Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania.

But Health and Human Services announced recently that seven health centers in the commonwealth will receive a total of $1,750,000 in Affordable Care Act funding.

This will be used to establish or expand behavioral health services for more than 20,900 people in the commonwealth.

The Squirrel Hill Health Center was one of the seven clinics that received $250,000.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:12 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Mental Healthcare Overhaul Would Give Family and Caregivers More Say in Treatment

US Representative Tim Murphy of Upper St. Clair
Credit Official Portrait

U.S. Rep.Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, recently proposed legislation to overhaul the nation's mental health care system.

He wants to increase accessibility to care while expanding the use of involuntary treatment. This would better allow family members and caregivers to intervene in cases involving the severely mentally ill.

The bill, called the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act has received mixed reviews. Last Thursday the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee heard testimony on the legislation.

Congressman Murphy said there are roughly 10 million people in the US who suffer from severe mental illness and about half of them are not even aware that they have a problem. 

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Behavioral Health
11:18 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Rep. Murphy Introduces Bill to Overhaul Federal Mental Health System

The federal government spends around $125 billion on mental health annually, but the ways in which that money is spent are ineffective and antiquated, according to U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Allegheny).

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:23 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Seasonal Affective Disorder Not So Different From Non-Seasonal Depression

Fewer hours of sunlight is the biggest factor in the winter onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Credit catskills grrl / flickr

As soon as the clocks change each fall, do you feel like your body goes into hibernation mode?

When winter mood shifts bring us to the point of depression, the experience is called Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as S.A.D., and the mental health effects can be devastating for some people.

Kathryn Roecklein, Assistant professor in the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychology and Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition at Pitt and CMU studies and treats S.A.D.

She says, contrary to what some people think, S.A.D. is not a response to cold weather, but the shorter days of winter and lack of sunlight.

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Behavioral Health
5:20 am
Tue January 14, 2014

UPMC Study to Determine Best Course of Action for Mental Health Treatments

Over the next three years, researchers across Pennsylvania will be examining two different methods of mental health treatment, to determine which has the better outcomes. One of those is the Person-Centered approach.

“That’s focusing on the person who has a behavioral health condition getting support and information from a peer, someone who also has the experience, to prepare for the meetings with their doctors,” said

Kim MacDonald-Wilson is with the UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:17 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Living in the Shadows: Pittsburgh Refugees & Mental Health

Credit Icars / flickr

Refugees to the region face a number of challenges, unfamiliarity with a different language is even more complicated when trying to obtain health care.

90.5 WESA Behavioral Health Reporter Erika Beras is embarking on a month-long series on the challenges refugees face in the Pittsburgh area to obtain health care. She says her interest in the topic was sparked by the high population of refugees in Pittsburgh. 

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Health
10:25 am
Wed October 16, 2013

State Public Welfare Official Says PA Not Proactive Enough in Treating Mental Illness

An official with the Department of Public Welfare is pushing for a statewide assessment of how mental health services are delivered in the commonwealth.
               
Dennis Marion, a deputy secretary with the agency’s Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, says the state isn’t proactive enough in treating mental illness before it becomes an emergency.
               

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:20 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

New Mental Health Training Proposed for Law Enforcement & Judges

Representative Tom Caltagirone supports a bill requiring mental health training for police and district judges.
Credit Rep. Tom Caltagirone Facebook Page

Representative Thomas Caltagirone, D-Berks, has sponsored a bill requiring mental health training for police and district judges. Under the current system, he claims that many people who should be treated in a mental health clinic are instead placed in jail because there is not enough room.

One solution he recommends is to use closed prisons for these potential patients and make them into mental health facilities.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:36 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Increasing Need for Mental Health Professionals in College Counseling Centers

Students are using psychiatric medicines from a very young age. Colleges & Universities need enough mental health resources to provide proper counseling for these students.
Credit Kiran Foster / Flickr

On college campuses across the country, mental health is becoming an increasing concern. In the past year, one in five students have received a psychiatric diagnosis or been treated for mental health issues.

As a result, there is a rising demand for mental health professionals to provide the proper treatment for students. According to Tevya Zukor, Director of the University of Pittsburgh Counseling Center, there's an increased need because of the de-stigmatization of mental health issues among the public.

He says students are seeking treatment at earlier ages and many come into college with a history of mental health treatment. A second reason is that in the past 10 to 15 years there have been huge advancements in psychotropic medicine.

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Veterans
4:02 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Bill Could Make Free Counseling More Available to Veterans

The state House is advancing a proposal to make it easier for military veterans to receive free mental health counseling in less formal settings.

The bill would change licensing rules to allow retired mental health professionals to volunteer their services through approved groups serving veterans and their families, as well as military personnel.

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Behavioral Health
3:40 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Mental Health and Substance Abuse are Public Health Issues, HHS Official Says

A top administrator from the federal Department of Health and Human Services came to Pittsburgh on Friday to speak to leaders in the mental health community about the push to recognize mental health and substance abuse issues as a public health issue.

“I think a lot of people, especially in the public, have viewed mental health and substance abuse as sort of a social problem,” said Pamela Hyde, administrator of SAMSHA, the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services.

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Behavioral Health
3:30 am
Wed June 12, 2013

When Violence Strikes, What About Mental Health?

Social workers, school officials and others recently attended training at the Center for Victims, where they were taught the ins and outs of responding to a mass-casualty event.
Erika Beras 90.5 WESA

The last couple years have seen high profile mass shootings and terrorist attacks — Aurora, Newtown, Boston.

Here in Pittsburgh we’ve seen the same. Last year a gunman opened fire at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, killing one person and injuring seven. And in 2009, a man walked into an aerobics class at an L.A. Fitness and started shooting, killing three women and injuring nine.

There are also regular incidents of community and street violence. Last month a gunman injured two women and killed a 15-month-old in the East Hills.

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Behavioral Health
2:05 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

DPW Initiative Aimed at Reducing Mental Health Stigma

The state Department of Public Welfare wants to reduce mental health stigma.

A new initiative, "Mental Health Matters," is being funded by a reduction in Community Hospital Integration Program Project, or CHIPP, funding to a county that was unable to move clients into the community in the time frame that was originally planned and from money set aside for litigation needs that wasn’t used, according to department spokeswoman Donna Morgan.

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Health
2:28 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Allegheny Co. Public Health Commission Hopes To Prevent Violence

Leaders hope a new commission will reduce violence and promote positive mental health in Allegheny County.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said he formed the Public Health Commission on Preventing Gun Violence and Promoting Community Mental Health upon request of state Rep. Ed Gainey of the 24th Legislative District.

“We’re going to be focused on making sure we look at the best practices, the best ideas, implement them in our community and doing all that we have to do to make sure that we reduce and eliminate the violence in our neighborhood,” Gainey said.  

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