mental health

flickr/Joe Houghton

Thirteen school districts in the Green River region of Kentucky are adding mental health counselors funded by a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The federal grant of nearly $4 million has been awarded to the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative.

Associate Executive Director Melissa Biggerstaff said the organization previously focused on academic support, and this is the first time it’s focusing on mental health.


Adam Hatcher/GEO International

Educators in the Bowling Green and Warren County school systems worry there’s a growing need for mental health resources aimed at helping refugee students. Many of those students living in southern Kentucky are adjusting to their new lives after facing trauma in their previous homes.

When refugees arrive in the United States, they’ve often been living in refugee camps for a decade or more.

Former Warren County educator Skip Cleavinger said students who are coming from war-torn areas often aren’t prepared to learn. That's because many of them are still dealing with the trauma of being forced out of their home country. 


The Federal Communications Commission is proposing to launch a new three-digit hotline for people who are feeling suicidal or are going through any other mental health crisis. It recommends making 988 the new national number to call for help, replacing the current 10-digit number.

The agency presented the idea to Congress in a report earlier this month and is expected to release more information and seek public comment about the proposal in the coming months.

J. Tyler Franklin

A new program aims to connect vulnerable homeless adults with mental health help and housing.

The nonprofit organization Wellspring is launching the program with $100,000 from the city’s budget and $150,000 from the James Graham Brown Foundation. Wellspring CEO Katharine Dobbins said the program addresses what the homeless community has needed for a long time.

“I think this is an important service and I’ve got to believe it’s going to make a difference,” Dobbins said. “These are folks who’ve been pretty disenfranchised. Who’ve been pretty alienated. Who just really haven’t had a lot of support and haven’t been brought into the mainstream.”

Suicides have been surging in Tennessee, and state health officials don’t know why — in part — because they haven't been studying them closely. The legislature is considering a proposal to review each suicide, case by case.

Centerstone

Seven Counties Services, Inc. is no more.

The mental health provider announced Monday that it officially merged with not-for-profit Tennessee-based Centerstone and will now be known as Centerstone of Kentucky.

For the coming months, patients won’t see any changes. But in the next two years, Centerstone plans to expand services and do more research.

Centerstone, which started in 1991, offers mental health services in Florida, Illinois, Tennessee, Indiana and now Kentucky. Starting Tuesday, Tony Zipple, president and CEO of Seven Counties, will become CEO of Centerstone of Kentucky.

Zipple said the merger means the local provider will have more resources for services like setting up “health homes” for people with serious mental health and medical conditions.

WKU Public Radio

Western Kentucky University students struggling with mental health issues can now tap into an on-campus support group.  

The National Alliance for Mental Illness is starting the free and confidential program which is available to students in all degree programs.

The group’s first meeting is Feb. 1 from 6:00-7:30pm in room 211 of the Academic Complex. Meetings will be held twice a month.

WKU Social Work Professor Jay Gabbard is the faculty member overseeing the group, along with trained NAMI staff.

He wants students to know that having a mental illness doesn’t mean they can’t succeed in school and in the workplace.

“I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 20, and through management of the illness over the years I’ve managed to have a successful life,” Gabbard said. “But I think it’s best to utilize a three-pronged approach: medication, therapy, and support resources.”

As Kentucky officials continue to implement the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, doctors are preparing for a rush of new patients in every sector of the health care industry. Seven Counties Services CEO Tony Zipple says at least 25 percent of uninsured Americans have behavioral issues that need attention. And once the Affordable Care Act takes effect, he's expecting to see a flood of newly-insured patients seeking treatments.

A team of Kentucky military and health care professionals have been charged with finding better ways to help military service members, veterans and their families with substance abuse and mental health issues.