mental health

Fresno American Indian Health Project

While reports show that the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affects communities of color, gaps in data have made it difficult to quantify the impact of the virus on indigenous populations. To get a better sense of how Native Americans in the Valley are faring during the pandemic, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Selina De La Peña, CEO of the Fresno American Indian Health Project.

Fresno County Behavioral Health Department

 

In June, 17 people in Fresno County died by suicide, a number that the Fresno County Behavioral Health Department revealed is the highest of any month since at least 2017. It’s made all the more stark by the fact that early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, suicides had dropped significantly.

Fresno State / Fresno State Official Facebook

 

As coronavirus cases are surging, so are reports of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. But even as mental health professionals are needed more than ever, those who graduated from one Fresno State nursing program are being told to return to school.

 

Armen Bacon

Author and former Fresno Bee columnist Armen Bacon is known for exploring her emotional life through her writing. She spoke to FM89's Kathleen Schock from her home in Fresno about how to navigate our emotions during the pandemic and the ways our reactions to COVID-19 resemble the grief process.

Valley Children's Hospital

 

With children home from school and concern about COVID-19 on the rise, how do parents protect the mental health of their children?

According to Valley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Psychologist Dr. Amanda Suplee, honest communication, using age-appropriate language and building a strong routine in the home are some ways to support the emotional life of children during these uncertain times.

Jasmine Singh

With COVID-19 cases on the rise in California, mental health professionals say it is normal for people to be afraid and concerned about their well-being. But when does a health fear turn into debilitating anxiety? FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with Dr. Jasmine Singh, resident in the UCSF Fresno Department of Psychiatry, about how to manage coronavirus panic.

On this week’s Valley Edition: It’s been two and a half months since the mass shooting in a Fresno backyard that killed four members of the Hmong American community. We speak to mental health providers helping family members heal. 

Alice Daniel

Two and a half months ago, four members of the Hmong community died in a mass shooting in Fresno. As the victims’ loved ones continue to process their feelings of anger and loss, The Fresno Center has provided counseling and support programs. Now it’s expanding its efforts thanks to an $80,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente. FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with psychologist Dr. Ghia Xiong from The Fresno Center along with licensed marriage and family therapist Ana Boydstun from Kaiser  Permanente about the ongoing work to help the community heal.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Ellen Eggert stands at the front of a Tehachapi auditorium in a tie-dyed t-shirt, sweatshirt tied around her waist, salt and pepper hair loose at her shoulders. “First of all I want to thank all of you brave souls who came here tonight,” she says. Then she stops mid-sentence and reaches down to take her shoes off. “I’m sorry, my feet are sweaty, do you mind?” Audience members giggle as she throws them behind her.

On this week’s Valley Edition: September is National Suicide Prevention Month. We bring you the story of one Kern County woman who says helping someone in need could be as simple as asking questions. 

 

We also tell you about the 30th annual Reel Pride Film Festival coming up next week. It’s the sixth-longest-running LGBTQ film festival in the country.

 

And we meet a man whose street photography helps him cope with cancer.

Listen to those stories and more on the podcast above.

Alice Daniel / KVPR

Caring for a child with acute mental illness can be an overwhelming and isolating experience. And when youth become a threat to themselves or others, resources to keep them safe can be difficult to find. Kathleen Schock spoke with Katie Rice, former Fresno County Behavioral Health Board Vice Chair of the Children's Committee and the mother of a child struggling with mental health needs, developmental disabilities and medical needs. Also joining the conversation is Chris Roup, executive director of the Fresno chapter of the National Alliance On Mental Illness.

On this week’s Valley Edition: caring for a child with acute mental illness can be really difficult especially when resources to keep the child safe are limited. We get feedback from parents and profressionals.

We also dig into why the Selma City Council wants to get rid of at-large voting and map out districts. And the Friant-Kern Canal delivers water to farms and communities on the east side of the Valley but excess groundwater pumping is causing it to sink in some areas. We hear about one possible, but expensive, fix.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Last week we brought you a story about high schoolers in Merced asking for a mental health class, and getting one. This week, moderator Kathleen Schock digs deeper into youth and mental illness with Christina Valdez-Roup, executive director of the Fresno National Alliance on Mental Illness, and teacher Abraham Perez from Edison High School. Perez has spent the last two years teaching a mental health class as part of the school’s bio-med career technical education pathway.

This week on Valley Edition: Rates of domestic violence appear to be climbing in the Central Valley. How pervasive is it, and what’s behind the increase? We bring you the story of one survivor whose abuser was a Clovis cop.

We also hear from mental health educators who work with high schoolers and other youth. Kids are learning the signs of mental illness, and if a career in mental health is for them.

Later, we talk about a festival brewing in Lemoore, and it’s all about lagers, IPAs, and ales to name a few.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

When it comes to access to mental health care at public schools, California ranks at or near the bottom according to a Columbia University report. But one Merced high school is going against that tide with an entire course dedicated to mental health. Kids are responding so positively, they’re becoming advocates themselves.

Among those students is 18-year-old Jonathan Swart.

This week on Valley Edition: We’ve moved from Tuesdays to Fridays!

 

A Los Banos mother explains why she became an activist for the multiracial movement, and in Merced, we talk to high schoolers about a mental health class they initiated.

In Bakersfield, an unusual event uses games and humor to encourage attendees to think about what they want - after they die.

Stars Behavioral Health Group

Mental health care is a constant need here in the San Joaquin Valley, especially for those who can’t afford to go elsewhere—and for those whose symptoms are tough enough to require some treatment but not hospitalization.

Last week, Fresno County opened a new crisis residential facility to house those who fall in that in-between space. In this interview, we speak about the new facility with Dawan Utecht, director of the Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

These days, Crystal Giles negotiates dinner options for her two kids alone. There’s Talon, her four-year-old son, and Riley, her eight-year-old daughter.

 

Giles moves a plate of burritos out of the microwave for Talon, and eventually settles on pizza rolls for Riley.

 

“That is way too many pizza rolls, little girl,” Giles tells her as Riley pours them out of a bag from the freezer.

Riley responds, “That’s how much daddy would eat.”

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

It can be hard to find the right kind of care for your physical health, and it can be just as challenging to find the right care for your mental health. One Fresno State alumna’s latest book is about facing that challenge herself. Sarah Fawn Montgomery is an author from California’s Central Coast, and now an assistant professor at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts.

Andrew Nixon - file photo / Capital Public Radio

We’re at the start of another school year. And that means more than just a focus on basic academic skills. In Fresno County there’s a new push to address mental health and wellbeing. It’s part of a five year, $111 million dollar campaign that’s called “All 4 Youth” that’s bringing together the county’s office of education and the behavioral health department.

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