Category: Mental Health - Part 3

Public housing project a national model for supporting health

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon The woman is missing most of her teeth, but grins like a 6-year-old at a birthday party. Unsteady on her feet, the 48-year-old homeless woman nonetheless proudly describes the meaning of the famous Emanuel Martinez mural outside Denvers La Alma Recreation Center. The young Chicano man is the future. The Indian is our past, says Gina Marie Crespin, who grew up in the Lincoln Park area and now spends her days in the neighborhood park. The eagle is power, Crespin says, pointing to the center of the mural where the soaring birds wings spread to form…

ER ‘frequent flyers’ need more care, not less

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Frequent flyers at hospital ERs sought emergency care at least four times a year and accounted for anywhere from 11 to 40 percent of total emergency room visits around the U.S., according to seven new studies unveiled this week at the annual meeting of the American College of Emergency Physicians in Denver. In one of the studies, researchers in San Diego identified a group of super users, each of whom visited an ER 21 or more times in a single year. These patients bounced from hospital to hospital. While they represented just .2 percent of all patients, they accounted for 4.5 percent of all…

Childhood experiences ‘smoking gun’ for school success, lifelong health

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Policy makers who want to simultaneously boost high school graduation rates and reverse health epidemics from diabetes to obesity should focus intently on helping the youngest children and their families, according to one of the nations leading experts on early child development. Dr. Jack P. Shonkoff, director of Harvard Universitys Center on the Developing Child met with Colorado policymakers on Thursday and spoke to childrens advocates at the annual luncheon for the Colorado Childrens Campaign. His message was clear. Intervene early. Intervene now. And pool your resources. Early experiences shape the development of the brain and affect the development of other organ systems, Shonkoff said. The…

Melding mental, physical health a struggle

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon COLORADO SPRINGS The relationship is on the rocks. Long divided into opposing cultures, doctors, who focus on the body, are trying to work side-by-side with behavioral health experts who try to heal patients minds. In a grand Colorado experiment called Advancing Care Together, 11 pilot sites are participating in a $4 million four-year experiment to bring these disparate worlds together. And some are pining for a divorce. Or at least they want a proper wedding that includes electronic medical records that actually talk to each other. If we want it, weve got a put a ring…

‘Patch’ Adams advocates joyous revolution in health care

By Diane Carman Hunter Doherty Patch Adams is a physician who has never made a penny from medicine. He treats patients with laughter and loving, and he rebels openly against the tyranny of market capitalism. He said he is ashamed of the U.S. health care system. Its not about health. Its not about care. And its not a system, its a business. Adams spoke at the Tivoli Student Union on the Auraria campus Wednesday, challenging his audience to join his revolution of joy for the sake of their own well-being and that of the planet. You can decide to never…

Ill-equipped college students flood counseling centers

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Six students in crisis flooded the counseling center on the first day of school this fall at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Last year, the number of UCCS students who needed emergency or crisis counseling tripled over the year before. And the director of the campus counseling center says the number of students seeking care has been steadily rising along with the student population in recent years. In Boulder at CU, the number of students seeking counseling has been steadily climbing for eight years and last year the schools psychological and counseling services center treated…

Outreach campaign targets men with depression

By Mark Wolf Most maladies are unencumbered by shame and stigma. Yet for many men to acknowledge they are uncomfortable with the way theyre feeling maybe down, irritable, unmotivated, fatigued, feeling as if life might not be worth living, and, yes, maybe there are some issues down there requires a leap most men seem hesitant to take. Men are stubborn. We dont want to talk about our feelings. We are very leery and afraid of being labeled sissies, afraid of looking weak, and a lot of those things apply when youre talking about mental health, said Matt Vogl, deputy director…

The happiness cure

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Good health makes us happy and happiness makes us healthy. So what are the secrets to becoming happier and healthier? Daniel Gilbert, a Harvard psychologist and author of the bestseller, Stumbling on Happiness, shared his insights on Monday during a speech at his alma mater, the University of Colorado Denver.. His prescription for a happy life could be summed up with these mini-mantras: Get married. Earn at least $50 K. Have sex. Skip kids. Work. Dont try to predict happiness youll be wrong. Women: talk and eat with friends. (Ahh. Happiness is summing up happiness in…

Opinion: We can’t afford to turn our backs on victims of mental illness

By Lacey Berumen As a special committee of Congress takes on the important mission of reducing our countrys federal deficit, we must not lose sight of the need to protect some of our nations most vulnerable citizens those suffering from mental illness. Congress understandably will have to make some tough choices, but it also must set priorities. On the heels of Mental Illness Awareness Week, observed earlier this month, the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Colorado is imploring Congress to oppose cuts to Medicare and Medicaid that could imperil the estimated 195,000 Coloradans living with mental illness. This special…

Behavioral health coaching key to doctors’ success

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon WESTMINSTER Exam room No. 1 at Westminster Medical Clinic is a striking departure from the classic, sterile rooms in a typical doctors office. The walls are pale lavender. Soft light from a lamp washes over a plush couch and easy chair. Candles and a CD player sit on a bookshelf next to wellness and self-help books along with the bible of the American Psychiatric Association, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Yet, this oasis is a place within the walls of a busy primary care practice where doctors can lead a patient, giving them…