What Your Patients are Hearing

Liquid nicotine in e-cigarettes could prove more addictive; gratitude tied to less anxiety, depression


Did talk radio host save a life?

Talk radio can be filled with acrimony and argument – but it also can save lives. As reported in the Guardian, a show hosted by British TV and radio personality Iain Lee is different in that Mr. Lee sometimes connects with his audience by riffing on his own struggles with depression. A recent show extended the audience connection in a lifesaving way.

Mr. Lee received a call from a listener who reported overdosing on drugs with the intent of suicide. In hearing of that intent, Mr. Lee kept the caller on the line for 30 minutes. At one point, he responded: “Shut up, man, I know you want to die, brother, but I love you. I love you. You may want to die, but we can talk about that tomorrow.”

The response got through to the caller, who reportedly lay on the pavement outside a nightclub. Meanwhile, the call was being traced, and emergency medical personnel responded.

When Mr. Lee learned that the caller had been located and was still alive, he broke down on air. Later, he tweeted: “Tonight we took a call from a man who had taken an overdose … Long periods of silence where I thought he’d died. That was intense and upsetting. Thanks for your kind words. I really hope he makes it.”

A trip to Walmart can include therapy

A Walmart in Carrollton, Tex., is trying out a new service for customers: It is including an on-site mental health clinic. As reported by the Dallas Morning News, the idea is to make mental health care convenient and bring people who otherwise might forgo help through the clinic door.

“Twenty years ago, we would never imagine going to a retail location for a flu shot. You’d make an appointment with your primary care,” said Russell Petrella, chief executive of Beacon Health Options, which runs the in-store clinic. “The idea of bringing these services to places where consumers – potential patients – are more comfortable is getting more and more accepted.”

Initially, therapy was $25 for a 45-minute session with an individual or family. Prices will rise to $110 for an individual and $125 for a family early in this year. Lower prices are available for people who demonstrate a financial need.

The location for this trial run was deliberate. Texas has a disproportionately large number of residents without mental health care, ranking 49th in the nation, according to a 2018 report by Mental Health America.

Greg Hansch, public policy director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Texas, said he is encouraged by novel types of care like the Walmart clinic. He would like to see further integration of mental health care into schools, workplaces, and other retailers. “You remove some of that stigma if you can make services part of a person’s everyday routine,” he said.

Smartphones and the teenage brain

Researchers remain divided over whether smartphones harm the developing brains of adolescents, although it is clear that overuse precludes other daily activities that can help produce a well-rounded individual, a CBC News article said.

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