mental illness

'Here One Day' Film Explores Suicide And Mental Illness

Feb 22, 2016
Here One Day

Suicide has become the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. The family and friends left behind after this tragedy struggle to understand and talk about it. Kathy Leichter is a documentary filmmaker and former WQED Associate Producer. She’s in town today to screen her award-winning film “Here One Day” about her journey revisiting her mother’s belongings after her suicide. Afterward she’ll host a conversation to talk about mental health and the stigma surrounding suicide. She joined us from New York to talk about the film and the screening.

PhotographyMontreal / flickr

After a lawsuit launched by the ACLU of Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth has agreed to use more resources to house and treat criminal defendants with mental illnesses. ACLU of Pennsylvania Legal Director Vic Walczak led the legal battle and spoke to Essential Pittsburgh about the case.

Asylum Projects

Defendants ordered to receive treatment before they can stand trial are waiting up to a year to be admitted at one of the two state hospitals. 

A class-action lawsuit against the commonwealth from the American Civil Liberties Union's Pennsylvania office alleges that wait time is unconstitutional.

Torrance State Hospital near Pittsburgh and Norristown State Hospital near Philadelphia are perpetually full, often requiring defendants deemed unfit to stand trial sit in jail until vacancies arise.

The Pennsylvania House Committee on Human Services heard from mental health workers and advocates Thursday about the challenges faced by those living with mental illness. The main topic was the stigma surrounding mental illness. That stigma, according to each speaker, is a major barrier to health care.

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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Dr. Mario Fischetti is a clinical psychologist with the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Center, and the moderator of its ongoing "Reading Fiction with Freud" discussion series. 

In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the focus has turned, in part, to the mental health system throughout the country.

The conversation brought Congressman Tim Murphy to southwestern Pennsylvania for a pair of community forums on the topic. Dr. Abigail Schlesinger is the Medical Director of Developmental and Behavioral Services for Children’s Hospital and was a panel member.

Schlesinger said such forums are essential in keeping the dialogue on mental health going.

The Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania filed a federal lawsuit against the Department of Corrections on behalf of prisoners with serious mental illness alleging prisoners were not given adequate treatment in solitary confinement.

The lawsuit alleges the Department of Corrections violates the Eighth Amendment rights of prisoners with serious mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder by isolating them in solitary confinement and not offering them sufficient or proper treatment.