Houston Matters

Mental Illness Presents Major Challenges for Houstonians

For a number of years, the Texas Department of State Health Services surveyed Texans to determine their own perception of their mental health. They wanted to know how many respondents reported five or more days out of the year that they felt they were in poor mental health. Between 2000 and 2010, that percentage hovered […]

For a number of years, the Texas Department of State Health Services surveyed Texans to determine their own perception of their mental health. They wanted to know how many respondents reported five or more days out of the year that they felt they were in poor mental health. Between 2000 and 2010, that percentage hovered between 16 and 20 percent.

For some, there can be isolated moments of poor mental health. For others, mental illness can be a much more serious and ongoing phenomenon.

Such was the case for Elizabeth Smalling. She was diagnosed as bi-polar when she was 21, and went through cycles of good mental health, followed by periods when she needed to be hospitalized. She also struggled with addiction. Smalling sat down with Houston Matters’ Michael Hagerty to describe what has become a life-long challenge to maintain good mental health.

Next, we discuss challenges mental health professionals face in Houston, with Dr. Asim Shah, Chief of Psychiatry at Harris Health System and Ben Taub Hospital, and Alice Brink, Board Vice President, of the National Alliance on Mental Health for Greater Houston.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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