mental health

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Public health statistics show that as much as 20% of the US population will deal with clinical depression at some point in their lives, making it one of the most common mental health disorders.  Even if you don’t suffer from it, there’s a good chance that a friend or family member will be affected.

Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division

A few years ago, the Milwaukee-based Public Policy Forum reported the state was facing a looming nursing shortage, due to an aging population and an aging workforce.

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Lake Effect's latest Fit For You addressed ways to cope with holiday stressors and how to balance that with our eating habits. However, common holiday stressors such as interpersonal relationships and unrealistic expectations in the midst of an abundance of food and drink is compounded for people who live in the already stressful environment of poverty.

Image courtesy of Brenda Wesley

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about one in five adults in the United States has a mental illness – and rates of suicide attempts and deaths by prescription drug overdose are on the rise nationally.

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September is National Recovery Month, but raising awareness about mental health, drug and alcohol abuse and suicide prevention is helpful throughout the year.

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

On Lake Effect, we’ve looked at various issues surrounding mental health such as trauma, substance abuse, and the need for mental health nursing and other professions to help the Milwaukee community. Many assume mental health concerns are those of grown adults, but one psychologist is encouraging parents, teachers, and caretakers how to look out for a child’s mental health.

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The medical system has long separated primary health care and mental health care. And in a city like Milwaukee where there are significant obstacles for people to have good access to healthcare – one aspect of a person’s health often suffers at the expense of the other.

art by Emily Nolan

An exhibit of fabric tapestries currently on display at Jewish Museum Milwaukee amounts to a rare public opportunity to see art therapy in action.

It's tough to be a teenager. Hormones kick in, peer pressures escalate and academic expectations loom large. Kids become more aware of their environment in the teen years — down the block and online. The whole mix of changes can increase stress, anxiety and the risk of depression among all teens, research has long shown.

Michelle Maternowski

Milwaukee’s north side needs more mental health services. So the county plans to develop a facility there and is in the process of seeking community input. On Wednesday, a public meeting was held. Both behavioral health officials and community members insist that patients will be best served near their homes and by people they can relate to.

Students and graduates of the theater program at UW-Milwaukee are helping Milwaukee police learn how to respond to people with mental illness, who are in distress. The actors present training scenarios at the police academy and instructors walk officers through how to best respond.

There have been cases, including in Milwaukee, when police have shot and killed mentally ill individuals as interactions have spun out of control.

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For some, the fall has been a trying time for their mental health. Some are overwhelmed by political news, others may be along on the roller coaster season the Green Bay Packers have had. Add to that with the upcoming holidays, and it is a season that keeps staffers at the statewide Center for Suicide Awareness busy.

The Kaukauna, Wisconsin nonprofit center strives to provide accessible, barrier free support for any individual in need.

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For decades, Milwaukee County’s mental health services were based on an institutional model. Today, more and more patients are receiving their care through what’s known as a community-based system.

Through the community-based method, patients are treated as individuals in settings such as their own apartments and group homes. Research shows that patients do best under the least restrictive circumstances.

Since 2010, the County has made strides in offering this kind of care. However, many people in the Milwaukee area not seeking or receiving treatment.


"The blacksmith in times of antiquity was the person who could fix anything, or make anything for the community," says Dr. Ramel Smith, a Milwaukee psychologist whose private practice is called BLAQUESMITH Psychological Consultative Services. "The blacksmith could fix anything, and so I tried to look at myself as an emotional blacksmith for the community." 

Jib photo, via Flickr

You couldn't blame sports anchor and Milwaukee area native Trenni Kusnierek for being a bit apprehensive about speaking publicly on her struggles with depression and anxiety. After all, the sports world in which she plies her trade thrives on an image of strength. Kusnierek worried about what she might hear from her new bosses at Comcast SportsNet New England. Or her viewers. Or the athletes she covered.