mental illness

Eleni Pinnow

The Pinnow family broke some new ground when they wrote their daughter's obituary almost two years ago.

  "Aletha Meyer Pinnow, 31, of Duluth,  died from depression and suicide on Feb. 20, 2016."

©Deb Holman

Even after an entire semester in Jacki Buffington-Vollum's class on mental illness and crime, many students refuse to believe that anyone could commit violence without being mentally ill.​  The numbers say society is more afraid of mental illness now than we were in the '50s - but here in the Northland, are we afraid because we're actually in danger or because we're just ... uncomfortable?  UMD Professor and forensic clinical psychologist Jacki Buffington-Vollum and Duluth patrol officer Jake Willis are our guests as we talk crime, mental illness and what we're really afraid of.

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.

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.

David Romano is a graduate of the College of St. Scholastica, a social worker at Amberwing, and a person with depression.  He says opening up conversations about mental illness might have made a difference to the Germanwings pilot who may have deliberately crashed a passenger plane last week. Plus he says  his bike ride across America will be scary and difficult - much like mental illness itself.

LoLaVisuals/David Cowardin

Even though one out of four people suffer from some form of mental illness, the stigma persists. Find out what a pair of UMD alums (and documentary filmmakers) and Miss Minneapolis 2014 are doing to change the public perception of mental illness and its sufferers.