Chartrand…

JoCo Mental health failures

David Chartrand

David Chartrand

Two decades ago the nation’s health care scholars established a blueprint — a set of litmus tests — for community mental health care. It was in the newspapers and everything.

Not everyone paid attention. Nowhere is this failure to follow the lead of modern medicine more vivid than in America’s upper middle class — the affluent suburbs. Consider Exhibit A — Johnson County, Kansas. Ninety-six percent of all Johnson Countians consider it a great place to raise a family, according to a Board of County Commissioners report. The commissioners don’t indicate how many folks consider it a great place to be treated for depression or bipolar disorder, which is to to be expected from officials who use the word “infrastructure” when measuring quality of life.

Mental health Litmus Test #1 was cited by a 1999 U.S. Surgeon General Report. You can look it up. The test looks for the existence of a local “surveillance: system that tracks the incidence of depression, suicidality and other emotional disorders in local population. One cannot reach the countless mentally ill persons in a community if nobody bothers to count them. One cannot discount the possibility that established surveillance methodologies were too confusing or awkward for Johnson County’s leadership. Continue reading

Chartrand…

ObamaCare, analysts, health care, and Brad and Angela

David Chartrand

David Chartrand

Americans aren’t ready to read, or believe, stories about the accomplishments of ObamaCare. We aren’t ready to think anything positive about health insurance. We become especially cranky when forced to read stories about whether Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are really divorced.

No one hates reading about health insurance more than those who have health insurance but have to wait months to see a doctor or travel hundreds of miles to find a proper hospital. Continue reading

Chartrand…

A Father’s Letter to Santa

David Chartrand

David Chartrand

(EDITOR’S NOTE:  This essay was first published 20 Christmases ago, on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal. It launched my career as a newspaper columnist and author.  It also made my son the most popular kid at school, at least among kindergarteners who read The Wall Street Journal.

The piece has since been republished in newspapers, magazines and Web sites around the world. It was included in the first “Christmas Soup for the Soul” anthology as among the most memorable Christmas essays of all time. On Tuesday morning (12.24.13) at 7:55 am CST, the piece will be “performed” by syndicated radio talk show host Bruce Elliott (WILM/1450 AM/Dover, DE)). Elliot has done a live reading of “A Father’s Letter” every Christmas Eve for the past 20 years.)

Dear Santa:

My five-year-old boy scribbled out his Christmas list. It’s there by the fireplace. The Coke and M&Ms are from him, in case you’re hungry. You know 5-year-olds these days. The Cheezits are from me.

Santa, if you don’t mind, I thought I’d go ahead and leave my list, too.  It’s long, but do what you can.
It’s all I want for Christmas. Continue reading

Chartrand…

Remembering and honoring Rosemary Pierron

Rosemary Pierron

Rosemary Pierron

Rosemary Wolff Pierron of Olathe died July 18th, 2015 from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease. She was 89. She passed peacefully, surrounded by family at the Good Samaritan Nursing Center.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 21, preceded by a rosary, 5:30 at Prince of Peace Catholic Church.  There will be a Mass of Christian burial at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 22, at Prince of Peace Catholic Church, 16000 W 143rd St., Olathe. Rosemary will be interred at Resurrection Cemetery, 8321 Quivira Road, Lenexa, Kan, next to her beloved husband, Dr. G. Joseph Pierron.

Born Nov. 10, 1925, in Everest, Kan., Rosemary entered Highland Community College at the age of 16. She subsequently attended the University of Kansas where she met pre-medical student Joe Pierron. She claims the two often would sneak off together to wander through the underground steam tunnels on the KU Lawrence campus. As money was scarce, for entertainment they would sit on the benches outside the student hospital to watch the clouds change shapes. Continue reading

Chartrand…

Misery at sea: Don’t rock the boat

David Chartrand

David Chartrand

There is nothing like the open sea to make you forget about the ups and downs of life while enjoying the ups and downs of ocean waves until you become violently seasick.

I am tormented by motion sickness and its evil siblings. Travel sickness. Airsickness. Seasickness. Tilt-A-Whirl Carnival Ride Sickness. I once became nauseated watching the U.S. Spelling Bee on television.

Polygraph Examiner: Is your name David Chartrand?

Me: Yes.

Polygraph Examiner: Is it true that you developed motion sickness watching a Spelling Bee? Continue reading

Chartrand…

Fear, Snakes, Boneheads, and Vaccination Theology

David Chartrand

David Chartrand

Odd to read about “religious freedom” proposals in a nation that guarantees religious freedom. Unless there’s another agenda or something.

Those who want me to hear about their religious principles never seem interested in hearing about mine. This may be just a coincidence.

“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist.”

— from the 2013 film, After Earth Continue reading

Chartrand…

News media starting to watch its language

when reporting about mental illness

David Chartrand

David Chartrand

The Associated Press Stylebook — the bible for news media accuracy and terminology — has just released its 2015 updates. The changes include the journalism profession’s first serious attempts to write clearly and accurate about mental health issues in general and suicide in specific.

So far, the mental health community seems most encouraged by the Associated Press’s new guidelines regarding stories about suicide.  The 2015 guidelines provide much-needed expansion of the AP’s 2013 guidelines, which included the first-ever attempts to recommend wording and terminology standards about mental health issues.

The Associated Press guidelines are just that — guidelines. Recommendations. Part dictionary and part encyclopedia. None of it has the force of law or even the leverage of shame. Individual media outlets and web-based publications remain free to set their own conventions for stories about mental illness and suicide.

The new 2015 AP Stylebook updates regarding suicide state: Continue reading

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