Collateral damage: Local veterans wrestle with the aftermath of war-attachment0

Collateral damage: Local veterans wrestle with the aftermath of war

Despite having no military base nearby, nearly 20,000 veterans call Buncombe County home — giving it the sixth-largest veteran population in the state. As local visits for PTSD, depression, substance abuse, homelessness and unemployment continues to climb at Charles George VA, three local veterans share their struggles and stories about mental health. (Cover design by Sarah Riddle)

Inside story: Theater workshops give voice to those touched by mental illness-attachment0

Inside story: Theater workshops give voice to those touched by mental illness

Local poet and performer Griffin Payne, pictured above, teaches theater-workshop participants how to share their stories in new and creative ways. The weekly workshops are for people affected by mental illness, whether directly or indirectly, and is sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness Western Carolina. (Photo by Max Cooper)

Smoky Mountain approves management agreement, Western Highlands to consider it tomorrow-attachment0

Smoky Mountain approves management agreement, Western Highlands to consider it tomorrow

Smoky Mountain Center unanimously adopts a management agreement with Western Highlands Network. According to board members from both organizations, Western Highlands will likely adopt the same legal document at its 8:30 a.m. meeting tomorrow, May 24. (Photo of Western Highlands interim CEO Charlie Schoenheit by Caitlin Byrd)

Making a path for mental health: Local psychotherapist starts national nonprofit-attachment0

Making a path for mental health: Local psychotherapist starts national nonprofit

As a private psychotherapist, Paul Fugelsang understands the struggle between saying “yes” to middle-class clients who can’t afford his services and “no” to people in need. To meet those challenges, Fugelsang recently launched a national nonprofit, the Open Path Psychotherapy Collective. Its mission is to make it easier for people to find the counseling they need at a price they can afford, and to reward and encourage counselors to say “yes” to a group Fugelsang says is “falling through the cracks.”  (Photo of Paul Fugelsang by Max Cooper)

Western Highlands announces plans to merge with Smoky Mountain-attachment0

Western Highlands announces plans to merge with Smoky Mountain

As the July 31 deadline looms for ending Western Highlands Network’s state Medicaid contract, its board hopes to keep mental health, substance abuse and developmental disability services close to home. (Above, WHN board member Steve Wyatt announces the board’s the resolution of intent to merge with Smoky Mountain. Photo by Caitlin Byrd)

Been there, done that-attachment0

Been there, done that

The concept of peers helping peers is nothing new in health care, but in Buncombe County the interest in peer support specialists is growing. Known informally as PSS, these people help others navigate the mental health and substance abuse system. However, peer support specialists have a unique perspective: They’re in recovery from mental illness and/or substance abuse themselves. As of March 21, there were 838 peer support specialists in North Carolina, 65 of them in Buncombe County.  (Map courtesy of the Peer Support Specialist Program at UNC-Chapel Hill)

Rethink “Rethinking Mental Health”

In your Feb. 6 article, Rethinking Mental Health, the overall tone was quite critical of modern psychiatry and the use of psychoactive medications to treat various forms of mental illness. While it is clear that many psychiatrists, and physicians in general, are too quick to prescribe potent medications without exploring other approaches to treatment, it […]

I am a poster boy for mental-health legislation

I am a prime example of why North Carolina needs a “need for treatment” mental-health law that will allow for the forced treatment and forced drugging of mentally ill individuals who, while they may not be dangerous, are in need of treatment. I should be in mental-health treatment, seeing a psychiatrist, receiving long-acting antipsychotic injections […]

Lifesavers-attachment0

Lifesavers

Buncombe County struggles with a high suicide rate, and though old wives’ tales say that letting someone talk about killing themself will make them more likely to do it, local health experts disagree. “That is not true. It’s actually the opposite,” says Sue Brooks, executive director of All Souls Counseling Center at 35 Arlington St. […]