Elizabeth Wurtzel, the author of “Prozac Nation,” died Tuesday at the age of 52 from cancer. Wurtzel’s memoir chronicling her experiences with depression was a best-seller, and has been praised for how it helped open dialogue about mental illness. It also sparked conversations about treatment for depression and other mental health challenges, specifically, the use of psychiatric medication.

This hour, our guests discuss the impact of the book, stigma related the mental illness, and how treatment methods have evolved. In studio:

  • Eric Caine, M.D., former chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Melanie Funchess, director of community engagement for the Mental Health Association of Rochester
  • Jeremy Moule, news editor for CITY Newspaper
  • Jerome Stiller, owner of Thrive Health and Wellness LLC, and In Our Own Voices presenter for the National Alliance on Mental Illness


A federal task force has announced new recommendations that encourage health care workers to refer many women who are pregnant or have just given birth to mental health counseling.

Local health care systems said they were already following the recommendations, published this week by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

New York is ranked 30th in the nation for the lowest maternal mortality rate, and Governor Cuomo is introducing efforts to drive down the number of maternal deaths. He's creating a Maternal Mortality Review Board to analyze every maternal death in the state. He's also pushing to require all health insurance policies to cover maternal depression screening.

We talk to experts about how these efforts could help women, and we discuss how to combat the stigma of maternal depression. Our guests:

  • Dr. Chris Glantz, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and member of New York State's Maternal Mortality Review Board 
  • Dr. Jennifer Richman, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Lauren Deutsch, executive director of the Healthy Baby Network
  • Heather Bryant, local mother and former patient of Dr. Glantz

The British writer Johann Hari has just released a new book about how to treat depression. It's a book that makes a case for a much different approach -- but that's not what is sparking the most controversy. In the book, Hari claims that antidepressants fail the vast majority of the time. He makes statistical claims that have already been essentially debunked. The medical community is concerned that Hari's claims could convince people to stop taking medication, so they're pushing back.

We discuss antidepressants, and a multi-pronged approach to treating depression. Our guests:

  • Eric Caine, M.D., former chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester
  • Christopher R. Noel, PharmD, BCPP, assistant professor of pharmacy practice at St. John Fisher College’s Wegmans School of Pharmacy
  • Eleni Gogos, mental health activist and psychology student at RIT
  • Jordan Dube, mental health activist

Chamique Holdsclaw is a six-time WNBA All-Star and an Olympic gold medalist, but her life now is dedicated to her achievements off the court. 

Holdsclaw struggled with depression as a child, in part, she says, due to her difficult home life. Her mother was an alcoholic, so she and her younger brother were raised by her grandmother in a housing project in Queens. Holdsclaw took her anger and frustration to the basketball court, where she realized she had a gift. She won three NCAA championships with the University of Tennessee, and was the first draft pick for the WNBA in 1999.

Yet, while she dominated on the court, her personal life was unraveling. In 2006, she attempted to take her own life, and in 2012, she was arrested for firing a pistol into a vehicle while her ex-girlfriend was inside. She was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Holdsclaw now travels the country as a mental health advocate, speaking about ending the stigma of mental illness. She's a guest of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Rochester chapter, but first, she joins us on Connections. Our guests:

  • Chamique Holdsclaw, mental health advocate, WNBA All-Star, and Olympic gold medalist
  • Pat Sine, executive director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Rochester chapter
  • Kristina Mossgraber, events coordinator for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Rochester chapter

Second Opinion Live examines postpartum depression, from the latest studies, to prevalence and treatment. Our guests:

  • Dr. Ellen Poleshuck, associate professor of psychiatry and OBGYN at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Dr. Steve Cook, associate professor of pediatrics at Golisano Children's Hospital

Senator Ted Cruz's wife, Heidi, has found herself unexpectedly forced into the center of the presidential race. The reason? Donald Trump has been saying he might "spill the beans" on some secret to Heidi Cruz's past. His supporters have already done so: they seem to think it's scandalous that Heidi Cruz has depression and was approached by a police officer ten years ago during a mental health call. Trump supporters are saying that Heidi is "unstable."

New York Magazine writes that "attacking Heidi Cruz for her depression is disgraceful, and a new low." So why is a presidential candidate attacking anyone over mental health? Our guests:

We focus on depression and anxiety in children. According to researchers, an estimated 20 percent of children between the ages of 13 and 18 are living with some kind of pediatric depression or anxiety disorder, and only 20 percent of those children receive any kind of treatment.

How can we recognize when a child might be suffering from clinical depression? What are the new treatments? The Rochester Academy of Medicine calls it a public health crisis, and it's planning an evening of discussion and presentations on the subject. Our guests:

  • Eve Gotham, LCSW-R, director of personalized recovery oriented services, Rochester Regional Health, Behavioral Health

  • David Kaye, MD, professor of psychiatry and vice chair for academic affairs (Psychiatry), University at Buffalo School of Medicine; and project director of CAP PC

  • Michael Scharf, MD, director of psychiatry residency and child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship training; and chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center

Maybe you’ve seen someone with a tattoo of a semi-colon. What does it mean? The answer relates to depression and suicide prevention. We’ll explore how the movement began and talk about mental health issues with Shye Louis, 2-1-1/Life Line manager.

On August 21, 1985, Ken Baldwin was ademant...that he was going to end his life. He drove out to the Golden Gate Bridge, got out of his car, stood on the bridge's edge, counted to 10...but didn't jump. He counted to 10 again, and plunged towards the water. That's when Ken realized he wanted to live, and as he hit the water, he was happy to realize he was alive. Unfortunately, many aren't Ken Baldwin, and do end up taking their own life. Why does this happen? How can we prevent suicide? What signs should we be aware of? We discuss this sensitive topic with our guests: