Mental Health Week

©Netflix (used with permission)

You get a breakup text -- on your phone.

Your boss calls you into her office.

Your partner says, "I want a divorce."

That moment - the moment of crisis or panic - can send your mind tearing into the future, constructing one awful scenario after another, and it's that moment when you - or someone you love is vulnerable.

But you can learn and strengthen skills to get you through that moment and out on the other side - safe.

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Lisa Johnson

The suicide rate for Native kids is twice the rate of that for non-Natives.

With that terrifying number, how can tribal people encourage hope and resilience in young people when their lived experience is so different - and falls so short, many times - of what they see on television or online?

All over the country, and here in Minnesota, tribes are working hard to reconnect their young people with traditional teachings, the land, the natural world and with elders to restore their identify and reinvigorate their pride in who they are.

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©NETFLIX (USED WITH PERMISSION)

Do you have five people you can talk to?  Really talk to?

How do you find them - as a young person or an adult?

And how can you become that person for someone else?

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Shawna Weaver

When we heard on Earthwise Radio this week that communing with nature makes us feel better, it probably wasn't a surprise.

But the why might surprise you.  Who woulda thunk that it's the structured, predictable nature of, well, nature that appeals to us?

©Netflix (used with permission)

ERs in the Northland are seeing young people coming in who have made, to varying degrees, attempts to take their own lives in the wake of the popular Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.

©Netflix (used with permission)

The Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. The death of Project Semicolon founder Amy Bluel. The study that discovered that a group of white, middle-aged Americans are dying what they call "deaths of despair."

What do these three things have in common?

Let's call it an absence of hope.

In troubling times, it's easy to put your finger on everything that's going wrong. And we're given the idea that focusing on the problems is somehow the right thing, the mature thing to do, while focusing on the good makes you naive or foolish.

Lisa Johnson
Joseph Yetman Photography LLC

On September 23, 2016, Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) announced KUMD’s Lisa Johnson as the winner in the Journalism Award Program for Excellence in Reporting on Suicide in the state of Minnesota.

Photo provided by Arne Vainio

When Arne Vainio set out to write articles on the epidemic of Native youth suicide for Indian Country Today and Indianz.com, he put out a call for names of people who had taken their own lives.

What the Finnish-Ojibwe family medicine practitioner on the Fond du Lac reservation didn't expect was 109 names, including four from one family.

Dr. Arne Vainio sees the effects of poverty, substance abuse, tribes without the resources to provide programs for young people.  Factors as far back as the BIA boarding schools and as current as social media contribute to despair that can sometimes drive Native youth to suicide.

But Vainio is in a unique position to see more than one side of the story:  his father took his own life when Vainio was four years old.


Eleni Pinnow

"Aletha Meyer Pinnow, 31, of Duluth,  died from depression and suicide on Feb. 20, 2016."
That was the first line of Aletha's obituary as it was printed in the paper.  Aletha's older sister joins us this morning to talk about Aletha's death and the decision - to talk honestly about her suicide - that got the entire country talking.

(the full text of Aletha's obituary is reprinted below)


Kevin Hines

When he was 19 years old, Kevin Hines threw himself off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco.  Tormented by a variety of mental illnesses - in his own words - "haphazardly following his treatment plan - but really not" - he decided to end his own life.

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Native American teens experience the highest rate of suicide of any population in the United states, more than double that of the general population, according to the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute. And as is so often the case, alcohol factors into almost 70% of those deaths. 

The Mental Health Week on KUMD was made possible in part by the Human Development Center, Miller-Dwan Foundation and the St. Luke’s Foundation.

Christiaan Tonnis/Flickr

Are we substituting jails for insane asylums in America?

Deb Holman:CHUM/HDC Street Outreach Advocate

At the turn of the 20th century, people with mental illness were still being locked up in institutions.

100 years later, they're still being institutionalized, but now, they're mainly ending up in jail.

Work by Allie Brosh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

DBT (or Dialectical Behavior Therapy) may sound intimidating, but it's really just teaching a set of skills to help people manage stress better.

begemot_dn/Flickr

What's the number-one chronic health condition in northeastern Minnesota?

David Lee says depression.

The director of Public Health and Human Services for Carlton County is also a licensed mental health professional, and he says depression leads 2-1 over the next leading chronic health condition.

But there are some interesting changes in the works that may make mental health care more routine ... and reduce the percieved stigma at the same time.  Plus a new facility in Duluth aimed at giving folks a quiet safe place to regroup as an alternative to a locked facility.

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