A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Whayne Herriford: How do I know if my mental health is OK? Consider four general areas to test yourself

How do I know if my mental health is OK? This is a question I frequently hear when people learn that I am a licensed counselor. And the simple answer is that there is no standard answer. Just like physical health describes our body’s ability to adjust to environmental stimuli or events which challenge its functioning, mental health describes how well we respond to events in our life that challenge...

With rates of depression rising in U.S., mental health experts say online screenings are an important tool

More Americans are using online screening tests to gauge whether depression is playing a role in their health, and mental health experts say that’s a good thing. Just as people might screen for diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure, a depression screening provides a quick way to spot the first signs of what might be a serious mental health issue. Marcie Timmerman, executive director...

Melissa Martin: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in children is a mental health issue and it can be treated

Shawn’s mother brought him to therapy because she noticed he began to squeeze his head in the mornings before school. He was trying to “squeeze out the thoughts.” Shawn (a 5-year old) was experiencing ruminating thoughts that “would not go away.” He was having unwanted intrusive thoughts. Kate (a 9-year old) developed an irrational fear that certain foods would harm or poison her. She read...

Keven Moore: What to do to reduce PTSD with first responders? Needs to be treated as workplace issue

In Covington, after 26 years of service, Assistant Chief Chip Terry went into a deep depression shortly after retirement. Everybody I have talked to who knew him has told me that he was a wonderful family man who loved his community and his children. But his service to the community took a toll on his life and in September 2017 he took his own life. In a speech that recapped his life at his retirement,...

Rural Blog: Research links depression and suicide to chronic disease, especially for rural seniors

Research increasingly links depression and suicide to chronic disease, especially among seniors in rural U.S. “Rural America has some of the highest rates of chronic disease in the nation – the more remote a community, the more heart disease, cancer and diabetes. And there’s a side effect from having a chronic condition many people don’t think about – depression, anxiety and even suicide,”...

Dr. Mark Goulston: ‘Yes, your kid’ — every child is at risk for suicide, and it just keeps happening

(Editor’s note: Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Kentuckians aged 15-54. More than twice as many people die by suicide in Kentucky annually than by homicide. Teen suicides are dramatically on the rise. According to the Kentucky Department of Education, and the Kentucky Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 15 percent of Kentucky high school students (1 in 7) reported having seriously considered...

Melissa Martin: The tragedy of suicide when veterans who fought for us die by their own hands

Those who fought for our freedom are also dying by suicide on American soil.   “On the battlefield, the military pledges to leave no soldier behind. As a nation, let it be our pledge that when they return home, we leave no veteran behind,” proclaimed Dan Lipinski. In 2015, an average of 20 active duty service members, non-activated guard or reserve members, and other veterans died by suicide...

School Safety Working Group, Joint Education Committee hear testimony on mental health, security

On Monday, lawmakers on both the General Assembly’s School Safety Working Group and the Interim Joint Committee on Education heard testimony relating to the various mental health and security needs facing Kentucky students. The meeting was the third of the newly established School Safety Working Group, which came together to find ways to improve the safety of Kentucky’s schools. The group consists...

Bill requiring mental health professionals in all Kentucky schools passes house with 81-1 vote

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Legislation aimed at making schools safer by mandating mental health professionals in Kentucky schools passed the House on Friday by a nearly unanimous vote. House Bill 604, sponsored by Rep. Will Coursey, D-Symsonia, was introduced following the Jan. 23 shooting at Marshall County High School, which left two students dead and 23 others injured, 16 with gunshot wounds. Coursey...

Jeanine Grant Lister: It’s time to pay attention, ask young people what they think of gun violence

In light of the tragic shootings at Marshall County High School in Benton, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, it seems that everyone is tut-tutting and wagging their heads over the tragedies. The WHY of these incidents has gotten me to thinking about how to create change. We need to find out why kids…and adults, too…think that a gun is any solution to a problem....

Commentary: Are we putting too much pressure on our high school students?

By Kristina Slusser Special to KyForward Wake up early. Go to school for seven hours without a break. Pay attention. Be engaged. Write papers. Take tests. Do homework. Be involved. Have friends. Work. Do community service. Spend time with family. Do chores. Play sports and play them well. Get enough sleep to wake up and do it all again and again. Five days in a row, 10 months a year. The life of an...

Health, including mental issues, post major challenges to coal communities as industry declines

As the coal industry declines, rapidly in Central Appalachia, there are “clues suggesting that health and mental-health issues will pose enormous challenges to the affected coal communities, and will linger for decades,” Georgia State University biology professor Roberta Attanasio writes for The Conversation US. Appalachia’s death rates are higher than in the nation as a whole, Attanasio...

Wellness Matters: Debunking the common myths about therapy – and therapists

By Blake L. Jones KyForward columnist   It seems as if every time I have a client who has never been to a counselor, I have to spend an inordinate amount of time debunking the myths they have heard about therapy and calming their nerves about what’s in store. In the interest of paving the way for those of you who have never been to a therapist, I give you the “Top 10 Myths about Psychotherapy...