Noted journalist speaks on mental illness Pete Earley chronicles son’s ordeal, offers tips

photo by Dave Waddell

Pete Earley

By Dave Waddell

Desperate to get help for his mentally ill son, journalist Pete Earley told Chicoans Saturday he did things he never thought he’d do.

Earley said he lied about what his son had said, violated his own professional ethics by threatening to summon feared investigative reporter Mike Wallace of “60 Minutes” TV fame, and “literally went out and grabbed a doctor” from a crowded emergency room hallway to evaluate his delusional son.

Eventually, Earley’s wife advised him that he couldn’t help his son, Kevin, as a parent, but that he could as a journalist. “For once, I listened to her,” Earley said. read more

DA sues DWR over Oroville Dam crisis Ramsey's office seeks damages over Feather River pollution

photo by Karen Laslo

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey

by Dave Waddell

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey announced today that he has filed a civil lawsuit against the state Department of Water Resources (DWR) over last year’s Oroville Dam calamity that forced the evacuation of 180,000 residents downstream.

Ramsey’s complaint against DWR was filed in Butte County Superior Court. It seeks damages of between $34 billion and $51 billion, or $10 for each of the between 3.4 billion and 5.1 billion pounds of material that the suit says were discharged into the Feather River during the crisis.

The complaint says DWR “assisted the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to evacuate millions of immature salmon from the Feather River Fish Hatchery located immediately downstream from Defendant’s releases.” read more

Chico PD to get pilot mobile crisis counselors Mental health workers to aid cops 10 hours a day

Dorian Kittrell

by Dave Waddell

A pilot project is in the works that will provide the Chico Police Department – criticized for its lack of crisis intervention efforts in the past – with two mobile mental health counselors to work alongside police officers 10 hours a day.

The program is described in a Nov. 27 memorandum, written by Butte County Department of Behavioral Health Director Dorian Kittrell to the county Board of Supervisors and obtained by ChicoSol.

Kittrell said his department is working on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Chico PD to assign two full-time mental health workers to the pilot mobile crisis response team, which will operate seven days a week from about 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. read more

Suicide prevention event draws hundreds Emotional remembrances mark Saturday's walk

photo by Dave Waddell

More than 300 people gathered Saturday at City Plaza and then walked through downtown Chico in support of suicide prevention.

Chico’s eighth annual Out of the Darkness Walk included some emotional remembrances from nine area residents, each holding a paper heart representing being touched by suicide or attempted suicide.

The event drew 307 walkers and raised nearly $10,500 that will be used “to prevent suicide, to defeat the stigma surrounding mental illness, and to support survivors of suicide loss and those at risk of suicide,” said walker co-organizer Lisa Currier, who directs Crisis Care Advocacy and Triage.

Chico protesters say “clinic” is a “scam” Women's Resource Clinic hosts anti-abortion speaker at gala

photo by Karen Laslo

by Leslie Layton

More than 30 people gathered Friday outside Chico State’s Bell Memorial Union (BMU) to protest a Christian clinic — Women’s Resource Clinic — that was hosting an anti-abortion speaker at its annual gala.

Protesters, organized by a Mobilize Chico group called “Women on Reproductive Defense,” or “WORD,” said the Women’s Resource Clinic – not to be confused with Chico’s Women’s Health Specialists – is actually an anti-abortion organization that fails to provide “medical treatment” or “clinical care” and has intentionally confused the community about its purpose. read more

Student challenges mental health stigma College can be tough time for those with disorders

Alexa Thornblad

photo by Hannah Panten

Studying at the coffee shop

By Hannah Panten

“I’m bipolar,” Chico State freshman Alexa Thornblad says casually, sipping her white mocha. Thornblad uses the tattooed back of her arm to wipe milk froth from her lip. Giggling, she holds up a No. 1 with her tiny index finger, then explains: “Bipolar 1 Disorder.” Tugging on her four-sizes-too-large corduroy pants, she sits in the corner of Naked Lounge — an eccentric cafe she frequents sometimes when she feels no drive to go to class.

Thornblad, an 18-year-old Los Angeles native, is majoring in sociology and liberal studies. Contrary to popular practice, she has no issue speaking up about her recently diagnosed mental disorders. Her first glimpse of depression came in 10th grade, soon after realizing she’s bisexual, but it wasn’t until last winter that she got diagnosed with Bipolar 1 and Borderline Personality Disorder. Thornblad attributes her late diagnosis to her parents not believing in mental disorders. She also believes that her parents’ lack of concern about mental health is not unusual. read more