A Young Comic Shares His Struggle With Depression

September 16, 2015
Comedian and activist Kevin Breel's new book "Boy Meets Depression: Or Life Sucks and Then You Live" chronicles his struggle with depression. (

After his viral TED Talk, 21-year-old Kevin Breel is out with a book, “Boy Meets Depression: Or Life Sucks and Then You Live.”

Are Poor Kids With Mental Disabilities Getting Too Much Government Aid Or Not Enough?

September 11, 2015
Trays of social security checks are pictured at the U.S. Treasury printing facility on July 18, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

A new report looks at Supplemental Security Income, the federal program that provides monthly checks to poor people with disabilities.

California Faces Uphill Battle To Improve Mental Health Care

September 11, 2015
Psychologist Melinda Ginne says she sent countless emails to her managers at Kaiser Oakland about patient scheduling that went unanswered. (Heidi de Marco/KHN)

The state has found it difficult to enforce rules requiring insurers to treat mental illnesses the same way they would treat other illnesses.

Race, Class And The Response To Today’s Heroin Epidemic

September 11, 2015
A defendant in waist chains is among a group of prisoners that are being evaluated for their willingness to participate in the Supervision Motivation Accountable Responsibility and Treatment program, also known as SMART probation at the Pulaski County Courthouse in Somerset, Ky., Thursday, April 9, 2015. The probation program overseen by Judge David A. Tapp provides medication under the brand name Vivitrol that blocks the opioid receptors in the brain. It means opioids like prescription painkillers and heroin would have no effect on addicts, which would help them stop using the drugs. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

People who long ago called for treatment instead of incarceration reflect on the new shift toward just that.

Surgeon General’s ‘Call To Action’ Takes 22 Minutes A Day

September 10, 2015
US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy delivers remarks at a Clean Power Plan event at the White House in Washington, DC, August 3, 2015. President Barack Obama described climate change as one of the key challenges of our time Monday as he announced the first ever limits on US power plant emissions. As a step to try to adapt, Obama announced power plant owners must cut carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Vivek Murthy’s nationwide initiative urges people of all ages to walk for a minimum of 150 minutes a week.

A Town Where Police Try To Help, Not Arrest, Heroin Addicts

September 10, 2015
Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello is pictured in Gloucester, Massachusetts, on July 10, 2015. Gloucester is taking a novel approach to the war on drugs, making the police station a first stop for addicts on the road to recovery. Addicts can turn in their drugs to police, no questions asked, and officers, volunteers and trained clinicians help connect them with detox and treatment services. (Elise Amendola/AP)

More than 150 people in three months have used the program in Gloucester, Mass., to get into treatment.

Doctor: Prescription Painkillers Kill More People Than Heroin

September 9, 2015
OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vermont, Feb. 19, 2013. (Toby Talbot/AP)

As doctors prescribed more, “it led to parallel increases in rates of addiction and overdose deaths,” says Dr. Andrew Kolodny.

Heroin Claims Two Sons In One Massachusetts Family

September 8, 2015
Patrick Avitabile (left) and James Avitabile (right) are pictured with their father Louis Avitabile (center). Patrick died of an overdose in August 2015; James died of an overdose in July 2013. (Courtesy of the Avitabile family)

In part one of our series on the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic, we speak with Ann Ahearn-Avitabile.

26 Years Old, And 7 Years Sober

September 4, 2015
Ben Yeager is pictured with his mother, Anne Yeager, at his 2014 graduation from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. (Courtesy of Ben Yeager)

By the time Ben Yeager realized his drinking “phase” was really a habit, it was almost too late. He shares his story.

Massachusetts Health Care Spending Rises

September 2, 2015
Per capita Total Health Care Expenditures in Massachusetts grew slightly faster than projected  national per capita expenditure growth, state inflation, and the general Massachusetts economy. (Massachusetts Center for Health Policy Analysis)

Despite a benchmark that health care spending should not rise more than the state’s GDP (3.6 percent), costs jumped 4.8 percent last year — double the previous year’s growth.

Why Head Lice Are Becoming More Drug-Resistant

September 2, 2015
Chante Ballou, right, a licensed vocational nurse with The Texas Lice Squad, looks for lice on a client Friday, Oct. 26, 2007, Missouri City. Ballou uses a product called Nit Free to loosen up the glue like substance that sticks the nits to the hair and a lice comb to extract them. The process takes about three hours and has to be so tedious that she can't leave one nit or lice behind or else the search is lost. Penny Warren, The Texas Lice Squad president, says parents should check weekly for lice because you can't prevent infestation but you can control it. (Nick de la Torre/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Some of these small parasites have been mutating and are now resistant to many over-the-counter medications.

Remembering Oliver Sacks: How His Case Histories Became Bestselling Books

September 1, 2015
Oliver Sacks gave a TED Talk in 2009 on hallucinations. (Bill Holsinger-Robinson/Flickr}

Sacks wrote about his late-stage terminal cancer in an op-ed in The New York Times last February.

Diagnosing Shaken Baby Syndrome

September 1, 2015
Aisling Brady McCarthy listens during a status hearing at Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn, Mass., Tuesday, May 19, 2015. (Charles Krupa/AP)

The surprising decision by prosecutors to drop criminal charges against an Irish nanny accused of shaking a baby to death more than two years ago in Cambridge is raising some questions about the diagnosis itself.

Solitary Confinement Rules To Be Changed In California

September 1, 2015
A lock is seen on a small port where items are passed to inmates without having to open the cell door in the Secure Housing Unit at the Pelican Bay State Prison near Crescent City, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

Lawyers representing thousands of inmates who have been held in small, windowless rooms say they’ve reached a settlement.

A Push To Make Flying Safer For People With Peanut Allergies

September 1, 2015
Peanuts on a napkin (Daniella Segura/Flickr)

A coalition of allergy organizations wants airlines to be required to carry EpiPens to treat someone who goes into anaphylactic shock.

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