mental health

SLU administrator helps fight med students’ depression

Dr. Stuart Slavin, associate dean of curriculum for the SLU School of Medicine, is tackling the problem of far too many students in medical school who become burned out, anxious and depressed. He is developing a national following for his efforts, with publication in various medical/education journals, and is partly responsible for changes implemented at the SLU Med School. He talked with his students after they took an pharmacology exam.

When Dr. Stuart Slavin started his administrative duties at the St. Louis University Medical School, the mental health of medical students was not one of his concerns.

About nine years ago Slavin, the associate dean of curriculum, came across material about a problem of depression and anxiety among med students. He almost dismissed it, thinking that the problem didn't exist at SLU. "They seemed happy," Slavin said of his students. "I knew some students were suffering because medical school is demanding, but overall I thought our students were doing well."

SLU/Glennon support of postpartum moms via text is growing

Sarah Caldera Wimmer and her three sons, Camilo, 2 months-old, Elian, 3 and Mateo 4, she needed some friendly support while her husband Yader Caldera was at work. Sarah and her husband Yader played with the baby while the other two boys played with their train set.

Sarah Caldera Wimmer remembers how overwhelming it felt to have two children 18 months apart. Danis Pediatric Center turned out to be a support not just for her sons' care, but also her well-being.

Caldera Wimmer was among the first participants in a St. Louis University research program to support mothers through post-partum depression via text messages. The Happy Mothers, Healthy Families program was launched in 2013 to evaluate the feasibility of sending supportive text messages to mothers of varying backgrounds at risk for postpartum depression.

Outpatient mental health office opens in Herculaneum

Catholic Family Services has opened an outpatient mental health office in Herculaneum to serve children and families in Jefferson County.

The office opened after Catholic Family Services received a three-year grant of more than $500,000 from the Jefferson Memorial Community Foundation. Therapists will provide individual and family therapy services to those seeking support and those who may be mandated for treatment.

Editorial | Speak up on mental illness

When a child has a fever or a rash that won't seem to go away, it's off to the doctor's office. Broken bones expedite a trip to the emergency room.

But somehow, we don't always treat emotional and mental well-being in the same way. And it's no wonder, the way our culture treats mental illness.

The comments and jokes about those with mental illness happen too often. Most people don't mean to be offensive, but it perpetuates the stigma of mental illness.

What is mental illness? Definitions and resources for mental illness

A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.

Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. The good news about mental illness is that recovery is possible.

Community discussions break down walls of stigma of mental illness in youths

Tamara Kenny and her son Eli take a daily walk at Francis Park to check in with each other and talk about their days before heading home for dinner. Eli, who lives with autism and bipolar disorder, uses the time with his mom to communicate how he’s feeling.

Taking a walk in Francis Park is how Eli Engel decompresses after school.

He talks with his mom, Tamara, about how his day went and how he's feeling. Checking in on his mental well-being is an important part of their routine.

The 17-year-old has an outgoing, fun personality. He likes writing rap lyrics under the pseudonym "Bulldog." His favorite subject is math, and he's a strict vegetarian, citing a need to protect all creation — even little ladybugs.

But the last several years have been tough on Eli, who has bipolar disorder.

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