9 episodes

Imagine a sprawling house in which every room, doorway, and hall passage was designed by a different architect. Doorways don't connect. Staircases lead to nowhere. Rooms are cut off from each other. That's how reporter Will James describes our complicated system for treating people with severe mental illness – a system that, almost by design, loses patients with psychosis to an endless loop between the streets, jail, clinics, courts and a shrinking number of hospital beds.Lost Patients is a deeply-reported, six-part docuseries examining the difficulties of treating serious mental illness through the lens of one city's past, present and future. With real-life testimonials from patients, families, and professionals on the front lines, Lost Patients provides a real, solutions-oriented look at how we got stuck here...and what we might do to break free.Lost Patients is a joint production of KUOW and The Seattle Times. It is distributed by the NPR Network.

Lost Patients NPR

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.9 • 432 Ratings

Imagine a sprawling house in which every room, doorway, and hall passage was designed by a different architect. Doorways don't connect. Staircases lead to nowhere. Rooms are cut off from each other. That's how reporter Will James describes our complicated system for treating people with severe mental illness – a system that, almost by design, loses patients with psychosis to an endless loop between the streets, jail, clinics, courts and a shrinking number of hospital beds.Lost Patients is a deeply-reported, six-part docuseries examining the difficulties of treating serious mental illness through the lens of one city's past, present and future. With real-life testimonials from patients, families, and professionals on the front lines, Lost Patients provides a real, solutions-oriented look at how we got stuck here...and what we might do to break free.Lost Patients is a joint production of KUOW and The Seattle Times. It is distributed by the NPR Network.

    Churn

    Churn

    Heidi Aurand has watched her son Adam spiral from one psychiatric crisis to the next for about eight years, bouncing between emergency rooms, jails, and homelessness. Now, after treatment at the state's largest psychiatric hospital, Adam was just released back onto the streets of downtown Seattle. A mother asks: How could her son pass through so many institutions and none are able to stop his decline?

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    • 47 min
    Against Their Will

    Against Their Will

    Across the U.S., efforts are underway to make it easier to involuntarily commit people to psychiatric hospitals. It's a reaction to the sight of seriously mentally ill people on the streets and the cries of families who say it's too hard to get a loved one help when they're in crisis. But this gets at one of the most delicate questions our society has faced: When does our belief about what's best for someone override someone's right to decide for themselves?

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    • 42 min
    Nostalgia

    Nostalgia

    After Carrie Davidson learned that her great-grandmother died in a psychiatric hospital, she spent years tracking down details of her life there. Was the asylum a refuge? Or a prison? This earlier era hangs like a shadow over our approach to care today. We peer into horror and nostalgia that surrounds our societal memories of these mental institutions — and try to sort out which narrative is true.

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    • 47 min
    Opening

    Opening

    In the middle of the last century, a movement to free patients from state-run psychiatric hospitals swept the U.S. This movement — deinstitutionalization — is widely blamed for seriously mentally ill people ending up on the streets. The real story goes much deeper than a loss of psychiatric hospital beds. It's about how incentives and decisions half a century created the dysfunction many people with serious mental illness are lost in today.

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    • 46 min
    The Way Out

    The Way Out

    After 10 months at Washington State's largest psychiatric hospital, Adam Aurand is discharged onto the streets of downtown Seattle — ejected into a world shaped by decades of deinstitutionalization and failure to build community-based mental health care. His mother rushes to save him before he gets pulled back into the "churn." A Seattle Times reporter tries to pinpoint where the discharge process failed — and the investigation leads her to new conclusions about the limitations of psychiatric care in the U.S.

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    • 53 min
    Coming up on Lost Patients

    Coming up on Lost Patients

    A look ahead at the final episode of Lost Patients, coming next week on April 23. We'll explore what recovery looks like for people with serious mental illness — and what it might look like for our fractured system of psychiatric care itself.

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    • 3 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
432 Ratings

432 Ratings

PsychRNPA ,

Thank you!

You’ve done a really good job here with this podcast. Would love to hear more about the challenges faced by the caregivers (doctors, nurses, psych techs) who deal with people in psychiatric crisis on a daily basis. These are understandably high burnout roles and the reasons for this are as complicated as the patients they care for. Iwas really inspired by the physician in episode 8 who said the best treatment is treatment from a practitioner who sticks with the patient over time, not necessarily the one with the most credentials who charges the most $$. Any meaningful solutions to our current mental healthcare crisis will take into account that each patient will likely need their own specific approach based on who they are, their experiences in life and not the various diagnostic labels they receive from medical professionals.

LJJCDC ,

Keep doing this

Thank you so much for all your hard work and insight into starting a crucial conversation and hopefully a positive change for all those who are struggling with severe mental health and the churning. I shared this entire podcast with several friends and family members.

kakerri ,

Thoughtful and comprehensive

My family has a history of schizophrenia. My aunt was lost to us when I was 13 years old. She is still alive to my knowledge but she was paranoid - especially about our family. There was lots of trauma, some drug use, and years of homelessness. As much as I have read over the years about this disease and psychosis, I learned so much in this and I feel like I was able to look through a window I have wanted to look through my whole life. Thank you so much for the incredible delicate and detailed work.

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