Mental illness

Downtown Safety
1:22 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Stabbing Death Prompts Call for Tax to Fund Mental Health

Paula Wissel

Last weekend’s random killing of Shoreline Community College English Professor Troy Wolff in Pioneer Square has prompted Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn to call for more money to be spent on mental health resources, including a possible tax dedicated to mental health.

Donnell Jackson has been charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder in the stabbing of Wolff and Kristin Ito, who survived the attack.

Read more
cafe racer anniversary
1:56 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

How a person becomes involuntarily committed

Deb Clark and Racheal Stuth respond to distressed callers in a marked county car.

Exactly one year has passed since an angry and unstable man killed four people at Seattle’s Café Racer and one more woman near downtown before shooting himself. Ian Stawicki was never diagnosed with a mental illness, but he exhibited many of the signs.

When someone is in a mental health crisis, who decides if the or she gets hospitalized involuntarily?

Read more
Cafe Racer Anniversary
5:01 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Cafe Racer gunman's father : I 'should’ve kept coming back at it'

Walter Stawicki, center, talks with gun owners Brian Barnes, left, Rob Stratton, middle, and Eric Diesch, right, before the "StandUP Washington" rally and march Sunday Jan. 13, 2013, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

For Walt Stawicki, the past year has been one of grieving and what-ifs. Exactly one year ago, his 40-year-old son Ian Stawicki, killed himself in West Seattle after fatally shooting five people, including four at Café Racer.

Stawicki is pleased the Legislature passed a law making it easier to commit someone involuntarily for psychiatric care. He says he and his wife struggled to find the right care for their son, especially after they took a trip and noticed their son had deteriorated.  

Read more
Mental health care
2:28 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

State’s mental health reform focuses on preventive care

Western State Hospital Medical Director Brian Waiblinger says the state hospitals are not the last place a majority of mental health patients end up.
Alexandra Kocik Northwest News Network

Health care advocates are pushing Washington state lawmakers to keep up momentum toward expanding access to Medicaid. About 100 people rallied on the Capitol steps in Olympia Thursday. They argue one group that will especially benefit is people with mental illness.

Inside the Capitol, that’s one of many issues related to the mentally-ill. Several measures focus on broadening access to community mental health services as opposed to big institutions. The idea is to get help for mentally-ill people before they get into trouble.

Read more
mental illness
11:36 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Lawmakers support emergency lockup during a psychotic break, but will they fund it?

Gun control proposals are having trouble getting majority support in the state legislature. But when it comes to people in a mental health emergency – who may pose a threat to themselves or others -- lawmakers appear more united.

They unanimously approved several measures late Monday aimed at making it easier to hold someone involuntarily.

They have the support of family members who’ve had to deal with a loved one who’s out of control.

Read more
mental health
11:27 am
Wed December 19, 2012

When your adult child has severe mental illness: an activist mother's perspective

Credit dearshirnk.com

The school shootings in Connecticut have an extra layer of sadness for parents whose children are mentally ill.

In fact, Washington’s and America's main advocacy group for the mentally ill -- the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) -- was organized by a Seattle mother back in the 1970s, after her son, filled with schizophrenic delusions, shot and killed a man. 

Read more
Homelessness
2:03 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Seattle's mentally ill on streets helped by 'roaming counselor'

Street counselor Larry Clum, with street 'ambassador' Carlo Garcia in downtown Seattle, near a few belonging left chained to a sign by a homeless woman
Keith Seinfeld KPLU

If you’ve been to downtown Seattle, you’ve probably seen people talking to themselves on street corners, or shouting at strangers. Now there’s a fresh face trying to help those in psychiatric crisis.

He’s a roaming mental health counselor, hired by the Union Gospel Mission and downtown’s business-funded Metropolitan Improvement District.

Read more
mental health
12:43 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Learning 'mental' first aid, before the next crisis

There's no first aid kit for mental health, but there are strategies.
renjith krishnan freedigitalphotos.net

In the wake of the recent murder spree at Café Racer, there have been questions about how to get help for someone whose mental health is deteriorating. Social service agencies are filling part of the gap, by training volunteers to provide what they call "mental health first aid."

The idea comes by comparison to CPR – a type of first aid any of us can learn. The mental health version is a 12-hour course for anyone who wants to be better equipped to help someone in a mental health crisis.

Read more
taxes and services
1:04 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Sales tax boost would create safety net for mentally ill

If you live anywhere in the Puget Sound region you probably pay a small sales tax to support mental health services. The main exception is in Pierce County.

That may change, at least within Tacoma city limits.

A proposal in front of the Tacoma City Council would raise the sales tax by 1/10th of a percent, or a penny per $10 purchase. That’s the same as residents pay in King, Snohomish, Thurston and many other counties. The revenue would be dedicated to a broad array of services to assist people with serious mental illness or drug abuse problems.

Read more
Science
11:33 am
Mon December 12, 2011

Research into rat emotions could help develop human drugs

A Washington State University researcher says new findings about the emotions of rats could lead to treatments for mental illness in humans. Jaak Panksepp writes in the latest issue of the journal, Science.

He was reacting to a new study showing that rats demonstrate empathy and altruism toward a fellow rat who was stuck in a trap.

Read more