Mental Health

Kelly Holder is the Director of the Office of Professional Mental Health at the Penn State College of Medicine and Hershey Medical Center. She talked about mental health challenges and what people can do to to keep their minds active and positive during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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MIN XIAN/WPSU

Sandra Charles is the Chief Medical Officer and Chief of Health Services for the Library of Congress, a position that combines her medical expertise with her passion for educating others. She talks with WPSU's Cheraine Stanford about her life and why she thinks we need to talk about mental health as openly as we do about cancer or diabetes.

Erika Saunders is the chair of psychiatry and behavioral health at the Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health.
Erika Saunders

The coronavirus pandemic has brought sharp awareness to physical wellbeing, shelter-in-place orders and social distancing practices aim to keep our bodies safe and healthy.

But what about our minds? What effects might longterm shelter orders and social distancing have on our mental health?

We talked about this with Erika Saunders, the chair of psychiatry and behavioral health at the Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health.

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Andy Grant:

WPSU

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You’re listening to WPSU’s Health Minute, a collaboration with Penn State’s College of Nursing.

May is Mental Health Month. According to the World Health Organization, mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual can recognize their own abilities, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively, and contribute to their community.

Mental and physical health influence each other and are essential to overall wellness. Here are some steps you can take to promote a mentally healthy lifestyle:

WPSU

TRANSCRIPT:

You’re listening to WPSU’s Health Minute, a collaboration with Penn State’s College of Nursing.

It’s important to take care of your mental health and manage stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Symptoms of stress include fear, worry, changes in appetite or sleep, worsening of chronic health conditions, or increased use of alcohol or other substances. 

Patricia Best, the new chair of the Task Force on Mental Health Crisis Services in State College and Centre County, talks about the group's goals.
Min Xian / WPSU

The police shooting of Osaze Osagie in State College a year ago began a community-wide discussion about mental health services, race relations and police policies. 

The Borough of State College and Centre County teamed up to create a Task Force on Mental Health Crisis Services, with a goal to assess the current system and recommend changes.

WPSU’s Min Xian talked with Patricia Best, chair of the task force, about that plan.

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Min Xian: Patricia Best, thanks for joining us.

Bill Doan is a professor of theatre at Penn State. The university selected Doan to be the 2019-20 Penn State Laureate, a role that spotlights the arts and humanities. For Doan, that means performances, drawings and talks focused on anxiety and depression and how art, science and health can work together. WPSU's Anne Danahy spoke with Doan about his work and his own struggles with anxiety, depression and loss.

University Health Services on the Penn State University Park campus provides mental health care for the student population.
Kaitlyn Aguiles / WPSU

The annual mental health report released by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State found depression and anxiety beginning to decrease while trauma increased among the concerns of college students. The center’s Executive Director Ben Locke said that’s because more attention is being paid to traumas like sexual assault. 

“As a country, we are becoming more aware of being trauma informed," Locke said, "understanding that when people experience trauma it is life impacting.”

BookMark: “Max's Box" By Brian Wray

Oct 17, 2019
Kirsten Tekavec reviews "Max's Box."
WPSU

Talking about mental health issues is daunting. Often just starting the conversation is the hardest part. With his latest book, “Max’s Box,” Brian Wray offers children and grown-ups a way to begin these important discussions. Through simple story-telling and cartoonish illustrations, Wray gives his readers a glimpse into what can happen when emotions are suppressed. He also demonstrates how with the help of people who care, we can learn to express, and then let go of the things that hold us back.

One of the rooms at the recently opened Rampage Room in the Nittany Mall includes a toaster, a printer and a washing machine for people to smash.
Steph Krane / WPSU

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by work, school, or just life in general, a new storefront in the Nittany Mall has just the solution for you.

The sound of a washing machine being hit with a baseball bat fills a room that is sectioned off by spray-painted drywall and filled with objects ranging from old appliances to empty bottles of wine. For a fee that ranges from $20 for a 10-minute session to $65 for what the company calls an “All Out Rager,” participants don what looks like hazmat gear, grab a baseball bat or crowbar, and start smashing.

About two dozen people attended a public forum on Tuesday, where State College Borough Manager Tom Fountaine and Police Chief John Gardener discussed the internal review of the shooting of Osaze Osagie.
Min Xian / WPSU

 

The State College Police Department released an internal review on Monday regarding the police shooting of Osaze Osagie. 

The police department’s Internal Review Board said the three officers who responded to a mental health check on Osagie “acted within policy.” 

Tiffany Myers reads a children's book out loud to a class of about 20 fifth graders. She said the idea is to teach the basics of mental wellbeing just like other school subjects.
Min Xian / WPSU

 

On a recent school day at Mount Nittany Elementary School in State College, Tiffany Myers read a children's book out loud to a class of about 20 fifth graders.

“The story we’re going to read today is called, ‘Red: A Crayon’s Story.’ Just right off the bat, what are you noticing about this crayon that make it different than what you might expect?” Myers, a school counselor, asked.

The former Harrisburg State Hospital closed in 2006 and now serves as government offices.
Brett Sholtis / Transforming Health

Twenty-four-year-old Samantha Valley is a familiar face to staff at Dauphin County's Case Management Unit, where she meets regularly with her caseworker.

Marisa Vicere is the founder of the Jana Marie Foundation.
Shawn Henfling / Captured Chaos

After losing her sister to suicide in 2011, Marisa Vicere founded the Jana Marie Foundation in her sister’s honor.

The State College-based non-profit aims to educate and empower young people in the Centre County region and to build awareness about mental well-being and suicide prevention.

Vicere talked with WPSU during National Suicide Prevention Month about the foundation and her sister. 

Photo: AP

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A report on safety threats and security concerns in Pennsylvania schools concludes there is a need for better access to mental health services.
The task force led by the governor and elected auditor general released a 46-page report Monday that recommends expanded use of existing mental health programs and better ways to inform parents and students about what is currently available.
The broad findings of the report were made public in June, but the full document was just released and posted online.

A Republican state senate policy committee hosted a roundtable discussion about school safety in Williamsport on August 16, 2018.
Min Xian / Keystone Crossroads

A Republican state senate policy committee hosted a roundtable discussion about school safety in Williamsport on Thursday. Much of the discussion centered around ways to allocate the $60 million lawmakers reserved for it this year.  

There were nearly a dozen school districts from Central Pennsylvania at the roundtable. Lawmakers and school officials agreed the school safety needs of different school districts can vary greatly.

A Lehigh County jail.
Jessica Kourkounis / Keystone Crossroads

Following a U.S. Department of Justice investigation in 2014, the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit against The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, demanding changes to provide better care for mentally ill inmates.

Richard Cho speaking at summit
Min Xian / WPSU

A nationwide initiative to reduce imprisonment of people with mental illness is hosting a two-day summit in State College on Monday and Tuesday. The Pennsylvania Stepping Up Summit calls for better practices in evaluating and treating mental illness.

Christian Leinbach is chairman of the Berks County Commissioners and has been working on the Stepping Up initiative since before it was launched in 2015. Leinbach said his county jail has about 1,000 people on a daily average. Over half of that population faces mental illness.

Penn State senior Cecilia McGough has created the world's first nonprofit specifically supporting college students with schizophrenia.
Christina Platt

College students are at the prime age for the onset of schizophrenia. At Penn State University Park, senior Cecilia McGough is starting the world’s first nonprofit specifically supporting college students suffering from schizophrenia.

Early on in her college career, Cecilia McGough was working a job in downtown State College. But her schizophrenia was causing her to miss shifts at work. Up until this point, she had been giving her boss excuses like food poisoning or a faulty alarm.