mental illness

  On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Over the course of minutes, they would kill twelve students and a teacher and wound twenty-four others before taking their own lives.

For the last sixteen years, Sue Klebold, Dylan’s mother, has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day. How could her child, the promising young man she had loved and raised, be responsible for such horror? And how, as his mother, had she not known something was wrong? Were there subtle signs she had missed? What, if anything, could she have done differently?

These are questions that Klebold has grappled with every day since the Columbine tragedy. In A Mother’s Reckoning, she chronicles with unflinching honesty her journey as a mother trying to come to terms with the incomprehensible.

In the new book, Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter, historian Kate Clifford Larson reveals the what Kennedy matriarch, Rose Kennedy called "the first Kennedy tragedy."A tragedy that in fact lead the family to one of its greatest missions. The only biography to view the family to through the lens of its little known daughter Rosemary opens an extraordinary new window to America's most famous dynasty.  

Joe and Rose Kennedy's beautiful daughter Rosemary attended the most prestigious schools, was presented as a debutante to the Queen of England, and traveled the world with her high spirited sisters, yet Rosemary was intellectually disabled. A secret guarded by her powerful and glamorous family out of fear that it would  threaten family aspirations. 

  On May 5, 2006, the New York Times ran two stories, “Patrick Kennedy Crashes Car into Capitol Barrier” and then, several hours later, “Patrick Kennedy Says He'll Seek Help for Addiction.” It was the first time that the popular Rhode Island congressman had publicly disclosed his addiction to prescription painkillers, the true extent of his struggle with bipolar disorder and his plan to immediately seek treatment. That could have been the end of his career, but instead it was the beginning. 

  In 2000, while moving his household from Vermont to North Carolina, David Payne watched from his rearview mirror as his younger brother, George A., driving behind him in a two-man convoy of rental trucks, lost control of his vehicle, fishtailed, flipped over in the road, and died instantly.

Soon thereafter, David’s life hit a downward spiral. His career came to a standstill, his marriage disintegrated, and his drinking went from a cocktail-hour indulgence to a full-blown addiction. He found himself haunted not only by George A.’s death, but also by his brother’s manic depression, a hereditary illness that overlaid a dark family history whose roots now gripped David.

Barefoot to Avalon is Payne’s earnest and unflinching account of George A. and their boyhood footrace that lasted long into their adulthood, defining their relationship and their lives.

Facebook: Pack Up Your Sorrows - The Documentary

A film getting its local debut tonight in Great Barrington discusses mental illness and how people live with it by following a folk singer from western Massachusetts who has bipolar disorder. Meg Hutchinson’s journey is weaved between interviews with medical professionals and others working in the field of mental illness in Pack Up Your Sorrows. Hutchinson spoke with WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Jim Levulis.

  T. C. Boyle has been called by the New York Times - "one of the most inventive and verbally exuberant writers of his generation." Boyle is the bestselling author of fourteen novels and nine short story collections.

His newest book, The Harder They Come, explores anti-authoritarianism and the bloodshed that can accompany it.

  In Running from Crazy , Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, strives for a greater understanding of her family history of suicide and mental illness. As tragedies are explored and deeply hidden secrets are revealed, Mariel searches for a way to overcome a similar fate. The documentary is directed by Barbara Kopple.

The Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, MA will present a community event on suicide, stigma and mental illness at The Mahaiwe on March 28th at 2pm featuring a screening of the film, and a roundtable discussion on mental health with Mariel Hemingway; James L. Sacksteder MD (Medical Director/CEO of the Austen Riggs Center); Jane G. Tillman PhD (Evelyn Stefansson Nef Director of the Erikson Institute for Education and Research of the Austen Riggs Center); and Kelley Vickery, Founder and Executive Director of the Berkshire International Film Festival.

Picture of Brattleboro Retreat
Beyond My Ken/Wikimedia Commons

A Vermont psychiatric hospital has started a media campaign to raise public awareness of mental illness.

Listener Essay - Recovery Letter

Nov 5, 2013

  Beth Manion is a mental health advocate, writer and public speaker whose work focuses on increasing awareness of issues surrounding mental illness.  She is a member of Board of Directors of The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Western Massachusetts.   

  The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that more than 13 percent of U.S. adults have received treatment for some kind of mental health problem.

Still, the most severe cases remain the hardest to treat and take the biggest toll not just on the family and friends of those afflicted but also on the country at large. The National Institute of Mental Health puts the economic cost of untreated mental illness in the U.S. at more than $100 billion per year.

    Melody Moezzi was born to Persian parents at the height of the Islamic Revolution and raised in the American heartland. When at eighteen, she began battling a severe physical illness, her community stepped up, filling her hospital rooms with roses, lilies, and hyacinths.

But when she attempted suicide and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, there were no flowers. Despite several stays in psychiatric hospitals, bombarded with tranquilizers, mood-stabilizers, and antipsychotics, she was encouraged to keep her illness a secret—by both her family and an increasingly callous and indifferent medical establishment.

Refusing to be ashamed, Moezzi became an outspoken advocate, determined to fight the stigma surrounding mental illness and reclaim her life along the way. She tells her story in Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life.

5/21/13 - Panel

May 21, 2013

  Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Dr. Jennifer Michaels of The Brien Center for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, and University at Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Reporter, Rosemary Armao.

Topics include:
Mental Illness in the Family
Generation Rx
Marijuana: Panacea, Pleasure or Plague

On Friday, actors from the Royal Berkshire Improve Troupe portraying real-life mental health crisis situations helped train law enforcement officers from across Western Massachusetts.

Organized by the Berkshire County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the unscripted role-playing designed to increase an officer’s confidence in handling a call involving individuals with mental illness, comes after a 40 hr training course the officers participated in to recognize and deal with mental health crises.

Mediating Mental Health looks across fictional and factual genres in film, television and radio examining media constructions of mental health identity. It also questions the opinions of journalists, mental healthcare professionals and people with conditions with regard to mediated mental health meanings.