mental health care

Miles Bryan

Janell Hanson and her son Adrien live in a sunny house just steps away from the historic Ivinson Mansion in Laramie. Their house is gorgeous--it’s actually older than the mansion. But on the day WPR visited, the beautiful oak front door was marred by a hole in its stained glass panel, temporarily sealed with duct tape. The subject came up near the end of the interview. Adrien confessed the damage happened after a fight with his mother. But, he explained, he had meant to shut the door with care. “The air pressure outside blew the door shut,” he said.

Miles Bryan

Jodi Glover is exhausted. She usually is by the end of the day. Glover works two full time jobs: one as a doctor’s assistant in Cody, the other as the caregiver to her twenty year old son, who was recently diagnosed with schizophrenia.

“Literally he’ll stop eating for three or four days,” Glover said, describing one of her son’s psychotic episodes. “He is totally vacant, irrational, and also has refused to take medication. So as his caregiver, I’ve had to go to some extreme measures.”

Wyoming Officials Will Consider Changes To Title 25

Mar 18, 2015

Wyoming officials will soon meet to consider how to reform the state’s system of involuntary treatment for mental health issues, known as Title 25.

That system allows police or mental health officials to detain someone they consider to be a danger to themselves or others, and make them undergo psychiatric treatment.

THE ARTWORKS UNLTD LLC, FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

If you want to get the full picture of how the Title 25 process works in Wyoming you need to talk to Chel Bleckler. That’s because she spent over a decade working in an E.R. in Cody, where a big part of her job was working with Title 25 patients.

“Usually they came in with the police,” she said sitting on the couch of a counseling office in Cody. “And you could always tell the ones because they were crying or they were mad or they were handcuffed.”

Miles Bryan

The Cloud Peak Counseling Center in Worland looks more like a nursing home than a psychiatric hospital. It’s a small building with murals on the walls and a game room with leather couches. In fact it isn’t technically a hospital at all. It’s a “Crisis Stabilization Center:” a place where Title 25 patients in the area can be taken for psychiatric treatment for the first three days that they are held. It only has a few beds, but here in in the Bighorn Basin, where the nearest psychiatric hospital is hours away, it has had a huge impact.  

Willow Belden

In many parts of Wyoming, it’s impossible to get mental health care. That means residents with mental conditions either don’t get treated, or they have to drive long distances to get services.

But that’s starting to change. Recently, more and more patients have been using telemedicine to get psychiatric care. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

The State Senate has given initial approval to a change in the way Wyoming handles involuntary hospitalization of those needing mental health treatment.  The bill removes the requirement that a judge must review the involuntary commitment within 72 hours of it taking place.