mental health

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

At eight-years-old David Hall was taken from his mother’s house in Canadian County and placed into foster care. He had been abused most of his life and was struggling with PTSD.

Hall says he didn’t talk about being abused, he assumed it was normal.

“That’s not really something you talk about at school. When I was a kid, I talked about Scooby-Doo and things like that,” Hall said.

More teens and young adults — particularly girls and young women — are reporting being depressed and anxious, compared with comparable numbers from the mid-2000s. Suicides are up too in that time period, most noticeably among girls ages 10 to 14.

These trends are the basis of a scientific controversy.

One hypothesis that has gotten a lot of traction is that with nearly every teen using a smartphone these days, digital media must take some of the blame for worsening mental health.

This summer's mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, accelerated calls for more red flag or extreme-risk laws in those states, as well as helped jump-start bills in Congress. The laws allow courts to order the seizure of firearms from those believed to pose an imminent danger to themselves or others. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have passed such laws.

But, while the political focus may be on mass shootings, states are using the laws far more often to prevent cases of individual gun violence, including suicide.

Following the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Congress is considering a bill that would encourage states to pass red flag laws. Members of Congress may want to study Florida, where it's been in place for a year and a half.

Since it was adopted there, courts have approved some 2,500 risk protection orders. That's nearly five every day, more than any other state. The Florida law allows police, acting with court approval, to temporarily seize weapons from people deemed to be at risk of harming themselves or others.

A new tool

Strong majorities of Americans from across the political spectrum support laws that allow family members or law enforcement to petition a judge to temporarily remove guns from a person who is seen to be a risk to themselves or others, according to a new APM Research Lab/Guns & America/Call To Mind survey.

After back-to-back mass shootings, residents in one Houston suburb are demanding members of Congress finally take action to stop a deadly trend in America.

Fort Bend County is home to Sugar Land and other cities where demographics and political stripes are dramatically changing. And voters in the 22nd congressional district who have elected Republicans opposed to major gun restrictions in recent years may be considering giving a Democrat the job in 2020.

Oregon's suicide rate has outpaced the national average for the past three decades. In an effort to combat stigma around mental illness, four local teen activists took matters into their own hands and championed a proposed state law.

Oregon schools will now excuse student absences for mental or behavioral health reasons, as with regular sick days. In other words, if a student is feeling down, they can stay home from school without getting docked for missing classes.

Seattle is grappling with a crisis of what is sometimes called "visible homelessness" — people who live in the street and struggle with mental illness or drug addiction. It's a population that often commits small crimes, such as disorderly conduct or shoplifting to pay for drugs. And public frustration is growing.

Some accuse a reform-oriented local criminal justice system of becoming too tolerant.

Amanda Bacon's eating disorder was growing worse. She had lost 60% of her body weight and was consuming only about 100 calories a day.

But that wasn't sick enough for her Medicaid managed-care company to cover an inpatient treatment program. She was told in 2017 that unless she weighed 10 pounds less — which would have put her at 5-foot-7 and 90 pounds — or was admitted to a psychiatric unit, she wasn't eligible for coverage.

"I remember thinking, 'I'm going to die,' " the Las Cruces, N.M., resident recalls.

Updated at 7:13 p.m. ET

The U.S. Army issued a tweet ahead of Memorial Day weekend with a question for service members and veterans: "How has serving impacted you?"

Among the thousands of responses: harrowing tales of trauma, depression and sexual assault.

In a thread, an Army tweet that preceded the question featured a video by Pfc. Nathan Spencer, a scout with the Army's First Infantry Division.

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