"Should I write movies or work for a production company?" a fresh-faced Miguel Ali (formerly Miguel Ali Hasan) asked his professor, John Badham, the director of Short Circuit and Saturday Night Fever. Badham replied: "Go get some life experience. It will make you a better director." So Ali did: He f ... More >>
Shortly after his arrival in the Colorado prison system, a mentally stable teenager named Sam Mandez landed in solitary confinement for a series of minor rules infractions. He soon began to experience auditory hallucinations and other signs of mental illness, and his erratic behavior made it imposs ... More >>
What role should mental health play in a discussion of gun-control legislation? Is it possible to limit access to firearms without trampling on the rights of those who battle mental illness? Is a future consensus on gun control within the realm of possibility, or are debates over the Second Amendmen ... More >>
Troy Anderson, a mentally ill inmate at Colorado's supermax prison, won a landmark decision last summer when a federal judge ruled he's entitled to at least three hours a week of fresh air and outdoor exercise. Now, Anderson's attorneys claim Department of Corrections officials have failed to comply ... More >>
Governor John Hickenlooper is scheduled to speak at today's reopening of the Aurora Century 16, where "an evening of remembrance" will honor the victims of the shootings on July 20 during a screen of The Dark Knight Rises. Let's hope the event works as well as Hickenlooper's subsequent talk about g ... More >>
This morning's press conference to unveil Colorado's new mental-health plan was scheduled weeks earlier -- but the announcement ended up being very timely, since it took place just days after one of the worst mass shootings in history. And just as Governor John Hickenlooper's recent-gun control comm ... More >>
Since James Holmes killed twelve people in Aurora, catalyzing heated gun control debates across the country, many have focused their attention on the suspect's past psychiatric care. As officials debate what can be done to keep guns out of the hands of those with a history of mental illness, a new r ... More >>
Where's the military when the chips are down?
The first thing Amy Smith has to explain to skeptics is that she isn't a Scientologist. You don't have to belong to an oddball religion to question American medicine's heavy reliance on psychoactive drugs to treat everything from mild depression to schizophrenia. In fact, members of a growing consu ... More >>
Hype spread throughout the aesthetically attractive city of Boulder after the release of the most recent 2011 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Boulder beat out most other cities across the nation, ranking number five (and number one in 2010) for "overall well-being." Mirror, mirror, on the wall, ... More >>
Most people stopped practicing art in grade school, and according to Heidi Hafenstine, that's why art therapy works so well for adults. Art, according to Hafenstine, offers a form of communication that taps into the subconscious. Because unlike language, most adults have lost their mastery an ... More >>
Big pics below.Tomorrow, Vally Dikovitskaya and seven other members of the Boulder Youth Body Alliance (BYBA), a program dedicated to helping teens with body image concerns and eating disorders, will be in Washington, D.C. They're hoping to convince Colorado officials to co-sponsor the Federa ... More >>
Roughly four out of every ten prisoners in solitary confinement in Colorado is either developmentally disabled or mentally ill, a figure that's been rising steadily over the past decade. Senate Bill 176, headed for a statehouse committee review later this week, seeks to drastically reduce tha ... More >>
As reported here last summer, a controversial state study suggesting no harmful psychological effects from solitary confinement was drawing heated protests from prison activists even before it was published. Now that it's been released, psychiatric experts and the ACLU of Colorado are saying ... More >>
Troy AndersonThis week, without much fanfare and after months of budget-related delays, state officials opened one wing of Colorado's second supermax prison, designed to hold "the most disruptive offenders" who have "demonstrated the inability to function at a less secure facility." The mov ... More >>
Denver Health broke ground this week on a four-story building that by late next year will be home to an adolescent psychiatric facility. Although the psych ward's new digs won't be a whole lot bigger, Denver Health officials say they will be a lot better. In terms of hard numbers, the facili ... More >>
Troy Anderson hasn't been exposed to direct sunlight since 2000.Troy Anderson knows he's never going to get out of prison alive. He's spent 23 of his forty years on the inside, and though he's never killed anyone, he's currently serving a 75-year sentence on multiple counts for two shootouts ... More >>
Chris Romer's adding a couple of years to his proposal.Senator Chris Romer is the sponsor of Senate Bill 109, a measure that aims to clarify the relationship between doctors and medical marijuana patients. It was approved by the Senate in February. Last week, however, Romer admitted to being ... More >>
Photo by John J. Kruzel, courtesy of the U.S. Defense DepartmentThe use of the lifelike simulator shown here has been approved for PTSD treatment.Update, 4:00 p.m.: Representative Sal Pace's amendment relating to medical marijuana and post-traumatic stress disorder has been defeated, and the ... More >>
Stan Garnett and Jann Scott: e-mail buddies?Beware of sending an e-mail to Jann Scott. The longtime public-access gadfly (profiled by yours truly back in 1992, prior to the launch of our online archives) tends to forward his correspondence to anyone and everyone -- and that's precisely what h ... More >>
Squeeze off a few rounds. It'll make you feel better. On October 23, the Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network is hosting a wine tasting and auction, with proceeds earmarked to provide mental-health services to insurance-challenged folks in the area. And what's being auctioned off? Among other th ... More >>
Denvers Court to Community program is showing promise.
What happens to the mentally ill in the justice system is just crazy.
After Michael Tate lost all hope of a family life, he found the Devil.
Police raids bust up drug labs. But they also bust up families.
According to a recent U.S. Department of Justice study, more than half of all state prisoners in America reported some kind of mental health problem last year. At least one in every five inmates in Colorado's prison system is seriously mentally ill -- and, as this week's cover story, "Head Games," m ... More >>
At least one out of every five Colorado prisoners is mentally ill -- some violent, some undetected or untreated. How did the Big House become the Bug House?
Wild Child Revisited
Big Pharma explores the dependency on mood-altering drugs.
His biological parents didn't want him -- but to get him the help he needs, his adoptive parents must give him up.
The Denver Drug Court tests a formula for reclaiming addicts.
Forty bucks buys a flicker of heaven and a life of hell.
The pendulum is swinging back from stiff mandatory sentences for drug offenses.
Denver C.A.R.E.S. picks drunks off the streets, then puts them right back out there.
The squeeze in managed mental-health care is choking patients and providers alike.
The state is finding ways to treat behavioral problems when they first appear -- in daycare.
Order in the Court
Trick or treatment?
When the accused reject a not-guilty plea, Colorado's insanity law breaks down.
From the week of October 5.
Colorado has become one of the country's hubs for teaching, and learning, how to feel bad.
A judge may force Colorado to take care of its homeless mentally ill population.
Stan Israel spent two days in a psych ward. There was just one little problem.
A lawsuit is driving DU's Graduate School of Professional Psychology crazy -- or was it already?
When Mental Health Services, Inc. went out of business, no one was around to help the therapists who were hurt.
A new detox program for heroin abusers storms into Denver. Methadone proponents are irked.