Making Sense of Mental Health

90.3 WBHM | Birmingham -- Underlying many of Alabama's societal challenges, from homelessness to prison overcrowding to school failure to unemployment, is undiagnosed or mistreated mental illness. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that only one-third of Americans with mental health problems get care. The numbers for African Americans are even more discouraging, due in no small part to the fact that state-funded mental health centers generally treat only those with the most serious mental illnesses and private practitioners require insurance or charge prohibitive rates. Stigma is another major hindrance to diagnosis and treatment, especially in a Bible belt state like Alabama where cultural and historical prejudices against discussing mental illness still prevail.

WBHM's year-long special project Making Sense of Mental Health explores the high human and fiscal cost of untreated mental illness through the targeted lens of mental illness in low and moderate-income women and children, with particular attention to minorities. WBHM is producing weekly features and interviews, as well a weekly email listserve.

On Monday, March 13, WBHM concluded our year-long series "Making Sense of Mental Health" with a special call-in program. We talked to mental health experts and consumers and took listener questions and comments. To listen to the complete call-in program, click here.

You can also listen to our most recent Making Sense stories:

Latino Mental Health ~ John Sepulvado, 5/18/06

Hurricane Katrina & Asian Mental Health ~ John Sepulvado, 5/9/06

Autism & Diet ~ Donna Francavilla, 4/11/06

Home Mental Health Care ~ Les Lovoy, 4/10/06

Domestic Abuse & Mental Illness: The Cycle of Cause and Effect ~ Dale Short, 3/28/06

Making Sense of Mental Health: Rebecca's Story ~ Gregory Warner, 3/20/06

Tapestry: Poet Gail Fox ~ Sharene Azimi, 3/16/06

Hurricane Katrina: Kids Mental Health ~ Raleigh-Elizabeth Smith, 1/31/06

Hurricane Katrina: Root Shock ~ Dale Short, 1/30/06

Autism: Treatment ~ Karen Brown, 1/18/06

Autism: Diagnosis ~ Karen Brown, 1/17/06

Medicare Part D & Mental Health ~ Benjamin Shaw, 1/16/06

Play Therapy ~ Ryan Mills, 1/09/06

Holiday Blues ~ Frank Thompson, 12/27/05

Lawyer Assistance Program ~ Frank Thompson, 12/21/05

Phyllis's Story ~ Rosemary Pennington, 12/21/05

Methamphetamine Legislation ~ Laura Strickler, 12/16/05

Asperger's Syndrome: The Children's Story ~ Donna Francavilla, 12/08/05

Mental Health and Workplace Productivity ~ Tanya Ott, 11/23/05

My Uncle Danny ~ Rosemary Pennington, 11/21/05

US House Budget Proposal & Mental Health ~ Laura Strickler, 11/18/05

Special Education ~ Tanya Ott, 11/08/05

Overcoming Schizophrenia ~ Dale Short, 11/07/05

Asperger's Syndrome: Nathan's Story ~ Donna Francavilla, 10/10/05

Boarding Home Inspections ~ Tanya Ott, 10/03/05

Teen Depression Study ~ Rosemary Pennington, 9/28/05

Hurricane Katrina Aftermath: the Mental Health Needs ~ Tanya Ott, 9/6/05

Animal-assisted Therapy ~ Steve Chiotakis, 8/31/05

Raise Your Voice: Teen Diary 3 ~ David Sommerstein, 8/15/05

Raise Your Voice: Teen Diary 2 ~ David Sommerstein, 8/8/05

Raise Your Voice: Teen Diary 1 ~ David Sommerstein, 8/1/05

Small Business & Mental Health Plans ~ Tanya Ott, 7/29/05

Mental Health & Housing ~ Tanya Ott, 6/15/05

Mental Health Court ~ Steve Chiotakis, 5/31/05

Covering Suicide ~ Francesca Rosko, 5/10/05

Mental Health Counseling ~ Tanya Ott, 5/6/05

Mind's Eye: Art and Mental Illness ~ Tanya Ott, 4/28/05

Tutwiler Storytime ~ Rosemary Pennington, 4/27/05

Alzheimer's Poetry Project ~ Rosemary Pennington, 4/18/05

ADHD & Outside Play ~ Francesca Rosko, 4/12/05

Music Therapy for Kids ~ Tanya Ott, 3/25/05

Mental Illness & Poverty ~ Tanya Ott, 3/24/05

Skyrocketing Autism Rates ~ Tanya Ott, 3/9/05

God & Rehab ~ Melanie Peeples, 2/28/05

Maternal Depression and Small Babies ~ Rosemary Pennington, 2/21/05

Music for the Mind ~ Francesca Rosko, 2/14/005

Medical Bankruptcy ~ Tanya Ott, 2/7/005

Not Just the Baby Blues ~ Rosemary Pennington, 1/31/05

Mental Health Stigma ~ Steve Chiotakis, 1/17/005



Local Resources:


More | Crisis Center
More | Alabama Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation
More | National Alliance for the Mentally Ill - Alabama Chapter
More | National Alliance for the Mentally Ill - Birmingham Chapter
More | National Mental Health Association .
More | PostPartum Support International
More | Alabama Mental Health Counselors Association.
More | Glenwood -- the oldest autism service provider in the state of Alabama





Oasis Women's Counseling Center

WBHM is partnering for this project with Oasis Women's Counseling Center and the UAB School of Public Health (UABSPH). Oasis is providing outreach through community forums, seminars for professionals, and outreach activities for National Depression Screening Day. UABSPH is incorporating mental health topics into its BodyLove soap opera, which airs on WJLD-AM, the state's oldest black-owned radio station.

Body Love

Making Sense of Mental Health is funded by a grant from Sound Partners for Community Health. Sound Partners for Community Health seeks to increase public awareness of specific health issues and facilitate citizens' involvement in making decisions affecting health care by fostering partnerships between public broadcasters,community organizations and additional media entities. Sound Partners is a program of the Benton Foundation and funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Sound Partners for Community Health Benton Foundation