Therapeutic Farms Are Helping Americans With Mental Illness: VICE News Tonight on HBO (Full Segment) – Published on Jan 30, 2017

A farm in Mesopotamia, Ohio — one of just six therapeutic farms in the United States — is treating people with mental illness.

Unlike routine hospital treatments, which focus on medication and short-term stabilization, Hopewell’s residents stay for an average of 180 days. And they relapse less frequently. In addition to medication, residents diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, among other mental illness, work on the farm, gaining social skills they wouldn’t practice in a more traditional setting.

Read: “Prisons basically ignore the Americans With Disabilities Act, leaving a third of inmates facing abuse and neglect” –



Chicago Police Shoot And Kill Mother Of 5, College Student – BY PATRICK SMITH DEC 26, 2015 2:25 PM


CREDIT: Screenshot/NBC 5, Chicago

Chicago police shot and killed two people early Saturday morning after responding to what they called a domestic disturbance call.

According to NBC 5, police fatally shot Quintonio Legrier, a student at Northern Illinois University, after responding to a call from Legrier’s father. Family at the scene say that police were called after Legrier threatened his father with a baseball bat.

However, Janet Cookery, Legrier’s mother, said her son suffered from mental illness. “He was having a mental situation. Sometimes he will get loud, but not violent,” Cookery told WLS-TV in Chicago.

Police shootings of people suffering from mental illness are a common occurrence. According to a Washington Post investigation, police shot and killed 124 people “in the throes of mental or emotional crisis” in the first six months of 2015. That accounted for nearly one-fourth of all police shootings in the first half of the year.

People around the victims often find themselves in danger as well. On Monday, a Georgia man attempting help his son who was in distress was fatally shot by police.

The second victim in Chicago, Bettie Jones, was a mother of five who lived in the same apartment building as Legrier and his father. Witnesses say she was shot in the neck shortly after opening the door for police. Jones’ daughter said she found her mother on the ground after being awoken by three gunshots.

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Why mass shootings don’t convince gun owners to support gun control – Updated by David Roberts on December 4, 2015, 8:30 a.m. ET

"Cold, dead hands, etc."(Shutterstock)

“Cold, dead hands, etc.” (Shutterstock)

One thing I often hear in the wake of these endless mass shootings is, “Surely this will convince those gun people. Surely the carnage and suffering are bad enough now that they’ll feel compelled to support some gun control.”

This betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the cognitive and emotional dynamics at work. It presumes that mass shootings constitute an argument against guns, to be weighed against arguments in their favor. But to gun enthusiasts, mass shootings are not arguments against guns but for them. The rise in mass shootings is only convincing both sides that they’re right, causing them to dig in further.

It’s not even clear that opinions on guns and gun violence remain amenable to argument. Over the past few decades, gun ownership in the US has evolved from a practical issue for rural homeowners and hunters to a kind of gesture of tribal solidarity, an act of defiance toward Obama, the left, and all the changes they represent. The gun lobby has become more hardened and uncompromising, pushing guns into schoolschurches, and universities.

This has taken place in the context of a broader and deeper polarization of the country, as Red America and Blue America have become more ideologically homogeneous and distant from one another. The two sides are now composed of people who quite literally think and feel differently — and are less and less able to communicate. The gun issue is a salient example, but far from the only one.

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Seeking Refuge (Excerpt from ‘Hiding the Homeless’) – Vice News Published on Dec 1, 2015

A growing number of American cities are ticketing or arresting homeless people for essentially being homeless. The new laws ban behavior commonly associated with homelessness like reclining in public, sharing food or sitting on a sidewalk.

Supporters argue these measures are necessary to push homeless people into the shelter system and maintain public safety. Critics say the laws violate the rights of homeless people and ignore the more complicated drivers of homelessness like mental illness.

Richard Morgan became homeless when the auto shop he worked at in Boise, ID went under. He is one of many who resort to camping in the woods to avoid harassment and ticketing by the police.

Read “New York Cops Are Now Shaming Homeless People On Social Media” –


Coloured MRI Scan Of Human Brain

Coloured MRI Scan Of Human Brain

A brain surgeon begins an anterior cingulotomy by drilling a small hole into a patient’s skull. The surgeon then inserts a tiny blade, cutting a path through brain tissue, then inserts a probe past sensitive nerves and bundles of blood vessels until it reaches a specific cluster of neural connections, a kind of switchboard linking emotional triggers to cognitive tasks. With the probe in place, the surgeon fires up a laser, burning away tissue until the beam has hollowed out about half a teaspoon of grey matter.

This is the shape of modern psychosurgery: Ablating parts of the brain to treat mental illnesses. Which might remind you of that maligned procedure, the lobotomy. But psychosurgeries are different. And not just because the ethics are better today; because the procedures actually work. Removing parts of a person’s brain is always a dicey proposition. But for people who are mentally ill, when pills and psychiatry offer no solace, the laser-tipped probe can be a welcome relief.

And boy, do they need relief. Yes, cutting into someone’s brain sounds extreme, but physicians perform these procedures only on people who’ve failed to respond to at least three types of medications, and for whom months on a counselor’s couch have had no effect. For decades these kind of surgeries have been out of favor, but now—in certain cases—psychiatrists, neuroscientists, and physicians are finding that they might provide a treatment of last resort. “For these patients who are the sickest of the sick they should be allowed the best option at a normal life,” says Charles Mikell, a neurosurgery resident at Columbia University Medical Center.

For people who need them, psychosurgeries can be highly effective. Success rates are relatively high.

In the 1930s, doctors infamously used lobotomies to treat aggressive, demented, or otherwise affected people. These first treatments were awful, but led to useful ideas about neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and epilepsy. It wasn’t until the 1990s that people brought them back to treat a mental illness: Obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Without any visible biomarkers, obsessive-compulsive disorder is difficult to treat with drugs. But neuroscientists have narrowed down the faulty wiring involved in the disorder to fewer than a half dozen places in the brain—some of which psychosurgery can target. Probably the best target is a region called the anterior cingulate cortex. Put your finger on your temple, then move it about an inch back. If you were to triangulate a point between your fingertip, the top of your head, and the center of your forehead, you’d land roughly on the right spot.


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Blaming “mental illness” is a cop-out — and one that lets us avoid talking about race, guns, hatred and terrorism

This April 2015 photo released by the Lexington County (S.C.) Detention Center shows Dylann Roof, 21.  Charleston Police identified Roof as the shooter who opened fire during a prayer meeting inside the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., Wednesday, June 17, 2015,  killing several people.  (Lexington County (S.C.) Detention Center via AP)

This April 2015 photo released by the Lexington County (S.C.) Detention Center shows Dylann Roof, 21. Charleston Police identified Roof as the shooter who opened fire during a prayer meeting inside the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., Wednesday, June 17, 2015, killing several people. (Lexington County (S.C.) Detention Center via AP)

I get really really tired of hearing the phrase “mental illness” thrown around as a way to avoid saying other terms like “toxic masculinity,” “white supremacy,” “misogyny” or “racism.”

We barely know anything about the suspect in the Charleston, South Carolina, atrocity. We certainly don’t have testimony from a mental health professional responsible for his care that he suffered from any specific mental illness, or that he suffered from a mental illness at all.

We do have statistics showing that the vast majority of people who commit acts of violence do not have a diagnosis of mental illness and, conversely, people who have mental illness are far more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators.

We know that the stigma of people who suffer from mental illness as scary, dangerous potential murderers hurts people every single day — it costs people relationships and jobs, it scares people away from seeking help who need it, it brings shame and fear down on the heads of people who already have it bad enough.

But the media insists on trotting out “mental illness” and blaring out that phrase nonstop in the wake of any mass killing. I had to grit my teeth every time I personally debated someone defaulting to the mindless mantra of “The real issue is mental illness” over the Isla Vista shootings.

“The real issue is mental illness” is a goddamn cop-out. I almost never hear it from actual mental health professionals, or advocates working in the mental health sphere, or anyone who actually has any kind of informed opinion on mental health or serious policy proposals for how to improve our treatment of the mentally ill in this country.

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Nearly 1 in 5 had mental illness before enlisting in Army, study says – By Alan Zarembo March 3, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. soldiers had a common mental illness, such as depression, panic disorder or ADHD, before enlisting in the Army, according to a new study that raises questions about the military’s assessment and screening of recruits.

Mental illness and the military


More than 8% of soldiers had thought about killing themselves and 1.1% had a past suicide attempt, researchers found from confidential surveys and interviews with 5,428 soldiers at Army installations across the country.

The findings, published online Monday in two papers in JAMA Psychiatry, point to a weakness in the recruiting process, experts said. Applicants are asked about their psychiatric histories, and those with certain disorders or past suicide attempts are generally barred from service.

“The question becomes, ‘How did these guys get in the Army?'” said Ronald Kessler, a Harvard University sociologist who led one of the studies.

A third study looked at the increased suicide rate among soldiers from 2004 to 2009. The study, which tracked nearly 1 million soldiers, found that those who had been deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq had an increased rate of suicide.

But it also found that the suicide rate among soldiers who had never deployed also rose steadily during that time. The study did not explain the cause.

The Pentagon did not make officials available Monday to discuss the studies.

The three studies are the first from a massive research initiative started in 2009 by the Army and the National Institutes of Mental Health in response to the surge in suicides.

In 2011, a representative sample of soldiers was extensively questioned and assessed for a history of eight common psychiatric disorders.

Traditionally, the Army has been psychologically healthier than the rest of society because of screening, fitness standards and access to healthcare. Soldiers committed suicide at about half the rate of civilians with similar demographics.

But researchers found that soldiers they interviewed had joined the Army with significantly higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder than those in the general population.

Most notably, more than 8% of soldiers entered the Army with intermittent explosive disorder, characterized by uncontrolled attacks of anger. It was the most common disorder in the study, with a pre-enlistment prevalence nearly six times the civilian rate.

“The kind of people who join the Army are not typical people,” Kessler said. “They have a lot more acting-out kind of mental disorders. They get into fights more. They’re more aggressive.”

The researchers found that despite screening, pre-enlistment rates of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and substance abuse were on par with civilian rates. Rates of suicidal ideation, planning and attempts were lower than in the general population but still significant, given the military’s practice of excluding recruits with a known suicidal history.

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McCaul: ‘Mental illness’ major factor in LAX shooting. – By JONATHAN TOPAZ | 11/3/13 9:18 AM EST

Mike McCaul is shown. | AP Photo

AP Photo

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said on Sunday the suspect’s “mental illness” was a chief reason behind the shooting at Los Angeles International Airport.

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas) said the incident underscored “how easy it is to bring a gun into an airport.”

On Friday, a gunman opened fire at LAX Terminal 3, killing a TSA officer and wounding two others. The suspect, identified as Paul Anthony Ciancia, was shot four times by airport police and is in the hospital. His condition remains unknown.

McCaul said he had already spoken with TSA Director John Pistole about instituting reforms to create better coordination between TSA officials and local law enforcement. TSA officers, he noted, are particularly vulnerable because they’re unarmed.

McCaul mentioned that the TSA officer who was killed, Gerardo Hernandez, was the first TSA employee to die in the line of duty. As he did on Friday, the congressman praised the efforts of law enforcement, saying the damage could have been far worse had they not responded so quickly.

But McCaul acknowledged it will be challenging to prevent future attacks at U.S. airports. “It’s very difficult to stop these types of attacks,” he said, likening the scene to an “open shopping mall.”

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