Illinois could become the third state in the U.S. to allow psychologists to prescribe medications that are used to treat mental illness.
Under legislation approved by the state’s assembly and now awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn’s signature, psychologists would need to undergo training and would have to work under the supervision of a medical doctor.
For many young people, college graduation marks the entry into what grown-ups call "the real world." But if you're a new graduate with a mental health condition, the transition can be especially challenging.
The attacks near the University of California, Santa Barbara, are renewing focus on programs aimed at requiring treatment for people who are mentally ill as a way to prevent mass shootings and other violence.
Colleges and universities continue to see growing demand for mental health services. But national data published this month shows budgets and staffing levels for most campus counseling centers are not keeping up with that demand.
Joey Ramp gets uncomfortable in large crowds of people. New places also make her uneasy. It’s her service dog, Theo, and her highly regimented schedule that helps her handle her anxiety and cope with her post-traumatic stress disorder. Theo is always with her, and since her disability isn’t visible, she says people are curious. Sometimes they ask; sometimes they don’t. “Most often, when people ask and I say I have PTSD, people want to thank me for my service.”
That makes it awkward for Ramp to explain that she never served in the military.
Harry Wolin manages Mason District Hospital in Havana, Illinois, one of many clinics in Illinois that provide care to medically underserved areas. The hospital has been treating patients via telepsychiatry, when a patient meets with a doctor via a computer screen, for about four years now. Wolin says they started offering appointments that way after the county mental health center shut down due to lack of funding.
“If we wouldn’t have started offering this service, many of our patients would have had to travel an hour or more to see somebody,” he explains.
In an evolving health care system where cost control and efficiency are key, some are looking to telepsychiatry as a solution; some are more skeptical. Could the technology a way to offer more patients quicker access to a doctor? Is that really the best solution?