WXXI AM News

mental health

Max Schulte | WXXI News

It's been a year since Daniel Prude died after Rochester police officers restrained him during a mental health arrest. He had been rendered brain-dead during the March 23 arrest and was taken off life support a week later. 

What happened to Prude reignited an already active movement for racial justice, this time focusing on mental health and policing. 

Some police officers receive crisis intervention team, or CIT, training. It's a program that’s been in place since 2004. 

One year ago, Rochester Police encountered Daniel Prude in the early morning hours. One week later, Prude was dead. His story continues to change Rochester. We talk about the impact of his life, his death, and what is known as Daniel’s Law. Our guests:

  • Samra Brouk, New York State Senator, who introduced Daniel’s Law
  • Harry Bronson, New York State Assemblymember, who introduced Daniel’s Law
  • Serena Viktor, member of the Black Healers Network of Rochester

Research shows the pandemic has had significant mental health burdens on young adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 63 percent of 18-24-year-olds surveyed reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, with 25 percent reporting increased substance use to deal with that stress. 25 percent said they seriously considered suicide.

This hour, we talk to mental health experts about this issue, as well as young people who share their personal experiences. Our guests:

  • Megan Clifford, psychotherapist and mental health first aid instructor.
  • Soren Kilmer, student at Nazareth College
  • Julia Smith, contributing writer 585 Magazine and recent Nazareth College graduate

A member of Rochester City Council, Mary Lupien, joins us. She discusses why she had information about Daniel Prude's death before the public found out in September. We also discuss how Lupien and mental health professionals see the Prude case and the need for changes in who responds to emergency calls.

Our guests:

  • Mary Lupien, member of Rochester City Council
  • Melanie Funchess, mental health advocate, and member of the Greater Rochester Black Agenda Group and the Black Healers Network
  • Chacku Mathai, mental health and substance use ex-patient, recovery advocate, member of the New York State Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council, and vice president for the National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy

Leaders across the community are responding to Rochester Police Department officers handcuffing and pepper spraying a nine-year-old girl on Friday. The incident has brought more national attention to policing in Rochester.

Reverend Lewis Stewart of United Christian Leadership Ministry and mental health advocate Melanie Funchess are among the leaders calling for comprehensive and culturally responsive mental health services, as well as for RPD to change its procedures involving minors. They join us this hour to discuss these issues and more. Our guests:

Leaders at Action for a Better Community are gearing up to host a conference on racism, health, and the pandemic. It's called "Racism as a Public Health Crisis - Attacking the Two Pandemics." The multi-day virtual event kicks off this week. Speakers will address how to heal communities, how to boost hurting economies, and how to help families thrive during a global pandemic that is widening disparities in health, wealth, and justice. 

We preview the conference this hour with our guests:

The holidays will look different this year for many families. How are children handling that and all of the changes that have come with the pandemic? What can caregivers and educators do to recognize when kids may be struggling?

We talk with the experts about how to help children understand their emotions during this difficult time. Our guests:

  • JoAnne Pedro-Carroll, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, author, and speaker
  • Melanie Funchess, director of community engagement and family support at the Mental Health Association of Rochester, and member of the Black Healers Network
  • Brian Wray, award-winning children's book author

We discuss the spectrum of emotions that come with this election. We talk about how to deal with the stress, and how to communicate with friends and family.

Our guest:

  • Melanie Funchess, director of community engagement and family support at the Mental Health Association of Rochester, member of the Greater Rochester Black Agenda Group, and founder of the Black Healers Network

The Black Healers Network of Greater Rochester is a newly organized group of Black health providers whose mission is to provide culturally competent care for Black patients. The group released a statement following the death of Daniel Prude, calling on local, state, and federal governments to adapt several recommendations for addressing mental health crisis intervention.

This hour, we talk with members of the network about their goals, their recommendations, and the impact that culturally competent care can have in physical and mental health outcomes. Our guests:

WXXI hosts its fifth live, televised forum. This edition will examine racial disparities in Rochester.

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