mental health

Two decades of life experience made a mental-health activist of Kai Koerber. When he was 16 and a student at a Parkland, Fla., high school, a gunman killed 17 people, including one his friends.

"I really did suffer a domestic terrorist attack, and that's not something that happens to you every day," Koerber says.

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School districts struggling financially will soon get some relief via federal CARES Act grants from Governor Kevin Stitt and the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

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Studies have found the rates of mental illness and suicide are higher for farmers. The profession requires long hours, limited social contact and is often at the mercy of external factors such as weather and market rates. Now the COVID-19 pandemic has farmers facing unprecedented challenges, and this has some worried about a mental health crisis in this community.

Nightmares. Tantrums. Regressions. Grief. Violent outbursts. Exaggerated fear of strangers. Even suicidal thoughts. In response to a call on social media, parents across the country shared with NPR that the mental health of their young children appears to be suffering as the weeks of lockdown drag on.

Oklahoma school districts will receive up to $145 million in emergency funding from the federal CARES Act. The money will be doled out based on how many low income students attend each school.

The state’s two largest districts — Oklahoma City and Tulsa — are by far the largest recipients, receiving $17.3 million and $16.2 million respectively. Putnam City Schools sit at number three and could get $4.5 million.

The high school senior sitting across from Franciene Sabens was in tears over the abrupt amputation of her social life and turmoil at home. Because of the coronavirus, there will be no prom, no traditional send-off or ceremony for the graduates of Carbondale Community High School in Carbondale, Ill. And Sabens, one of the school's counselors, could not give the girl the one thing Sabens' gut told her the teen needed most.

"I want to hug them all, but I really wanted to hug that one," Sabens remembers.

A report from the Healthy Minds Policy Initiative in Tulsa projected the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the economy are likely to push thousands of Oklahomans to attempt suicide and develop addictions. It also predicts children will be at increased risk for developing mental health problems.

The group says past natural disasters have had similar effects.

The report estimates that in the next twelve months:

Psychiatrist Philip Muskin is quarantined at home in New York City because he's been feeling a little under the weather and doesn't want to expose anyone to whatever he has. But he continues to see his patients the only way he can: over the phone.

Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

A national shortage of mental health providers is requiring universities and colleges to look at different ways to help students. StateImpact’s Robby Korth talked to university mental health providers to ask how Oklahoma colleges are promoting mental wellness.

Over four years is a long time to go between albums in pop music, and it has been an especially eventful period for Selena Gomez. In the space between 2015's Revival and her latest release, Rare, Gomez has battled Lupus, depression and anxiety, and had two high profile breakups — all while millions followed along on social media.

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