Scattergood Foundation

Advancing Innovative Strategies for Change in Behavioral Health


WHYY’s mission is to strengthen the republic. We accomplish this by engaging our citizens as full partners in the conception and execution of content, and advancing civic life through storytelling, education and civic dialogue.

Gianna Tripodi-Bhise
Director, Foundation and Corporate Relations


Date Project Title
07/2010 to 05/2016 Behavioral Health Reporting


Roundup of Recent Stories about the Brain

How electroconvulsive therapy’s troubled past has colored its modern use By: Elana Gordon February 16, 2017   Elyse Hunt hit rock bottom last summer. She had pummeled deeply into an already serious depression, leaving her bedridden and contemplating suicide. And one point, the condition left her hospitalized. "I was ready to go," she recalled, from her Hampton, Virginia home. Ten years had passed...

Burning psychiatry's bible: A new framework for diagnosing mental illness

March 17, 2016 | By: Audrey Quinn The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM. (Courtesy of Irene Hurford)   Possibly the only thing scarier than public speaking, is getting called out while you're public speaking. In the early 1990s, Judith Ford was a neuroscientist at Stanford. She'd made her name in studying the aging brain, but she'd just recently...

Physician, heal thyself? Why more young doctors are depressed

February 18, 2016 | The Pulse By Neda Freyha

It's late afternoon at a busy medical clinic in Baltimore. Dr. John Allen sits at a small desk by the window. Pale yellow sunlight streams in. A can of diet soda rests on the windowsill. He scrolls through his patients' test results on his computer screen and picks up the phone.

"Hi, it's Dr. Allen, just...

How the 'stigma of masculinity' gets in the way for depressed men

By: Renee Gross

There is no difference between the number of men and women who experience depression, according to a recent survey. But you wouldn't know it from looking inside a therapist's office.   Women are still twice as likely to be diagnosed and treated with depression as men.   Dr. Harold, or "Woody", Neighbors is well aware of the pitfalls that...

10 years after Katrina, addressing the mental trauma that lingers

AUGUST 20, 2015 | LAine Kaplan-Levenson

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, much of the physical damage the storm caused in the city of New Orleans has been repaired. Neighborhoods and communities have been rebuilt. Schools, hospitals, businesses, and restaurants have re-opened.

But a deeper, invisible wound brought by the storm remains. Thousands of...

Tourists help fight the stigma that surrounds mental illness in Rwanda

  By Wyatt Orme   July 16th, 2015

Rates of mental illness in Rwanda are significantly higher than other countries. This is largely attributed to the trauma many suffered during the 1994 genocide, which left nearly one million dead and a country full of people deeply affected emotionally. 

The government is trying to respond to the need for mental health care. But resources are limited...

Putting research into practice, group aims to improve mental health care for African-Americans

May 11 , 2015 By Taunya English   In Philadelphia, a new group is working to provide better and more tailored mental health care for African-Americans. The Coalition of Culturally Competent Providers is hosting pop-up information tables from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday to spread the word about a decade or more of research focused on African-American psychology and wellness. That information has...

This Week's Behavioral Health Headlines

Study finds link between Great Recession, increase in suicide among middle-aged Americans By Maiken Scott March 16, 2015   The Great Recession that started in 2007 and lasted for several years years may have led to a jump in suicide rates among people between the 40 and 64, according to new research.   The suicide rate among middle-aged people in the U.S. has increased by 40 percent over the last...

Anesthesia drug works on severe depression, but off-label use raises concerns

By Maiken Scott December 1, 2014   Anti-depressants work for only about half the people taking them.  The unlucky half quickly run out of options. Some psychiatrists are exploring the off-label use of the common anesthesia drug Ketamine, which has shown results, but is also raising concerns.   Researchers aren't quite sure why or how Ketamine works for people with depression - but several studies...

State-run programs help nurses detox together and stay in their scrubs

By Laura Benshoff   It's a warm summer evening in New Jersey. About a dozen nurses gather under the hum of fluorescent lights in a church basement. They're there for their weekly peer support meeting through New Jersey's "alternative to discipline" program, called RAMP. It's where addicted nurses go when they want to detox – and keep their jobs.   The nurses huddle on squishy couches pulled into...

Can data help with suicide prevention?

Close to 40,000 Americans commit suicide every year, and that rate has been rising in the past decade, with an especially sharp increase among middle-aged people.

Could collecting and analyzing data help in preventing suicide?

To improve suicide prevention, you might start by gathering some seemingly straightforward information -- such as where suicides occur geographically. But...

stories from across the region on homelessness, drug abuse, and the shortage of mental health care

Pa. House, Senate diverge on approach to escalating prescription drug abuse May 13, 2014 By Mary Wilson


Pennsylvania lawmakers, health care professionals, and Gov. Tom Corbett agree prescription drug abuse in the commonwealth is reaching epidemic levels.
But the GOP-controlled state House and Senate have differing visions as far as how to respond.

The state...

Prisons hold 10 times as many mentally ill people compared to state hospitals

Maiken Scott

April 10,  2014

Prisons have become the country's holding tanks for people with severe mental illnesses. That may not be news, but a new report from the Treatment Advocacy Center puts some bleak numbers on this issue.

In the 1970s, as state hospitals across the country began shutting down, about 5 percent of prisoners had serious mental illness. By the 1990s,...

Asking a Key Question to Understanding Behaviors

February 27,  2014

A beautifully rehabbed row home on a crumbling Camden block defines a paradox.

Father Jeff Putthoff unlocks the door, and steps into a living room with comfy couches and walls covered in art work. Despite the cozy atmosphere, the people this was created for often feel very ill at ease in the space. 

"They will oftentimes say, 'this place is overwhelming...

Families facing deportation find support in local congregations

By: Yowie Shaw

By the time Pedro Avila arrived at the federal courthouse in Philadelphia in late August last year, a small crowd had already begun to form on the sidewalk. They were mostly members of Roxborough's Mishkan Shalom Synagogue. And they were full of nerves, waiting for him.

As Avila held a large box of case files tightly to his chest, the group gathered around him as...

Undocumented teens unite through a painful, shared journey

By: Yowie Shaw

In a lot of ways, Domingo is like other good kids his age. He has great manners. He does well in school – especially math class. And when he's not doing his homework, he likes taking naps, going out with friends, and making music under the name DJ Bless.

But the story of how Domingo ended up as an 18-year-old sophomore at Benjamin Franklin High School is anything...

This Week's Behavioral Health Headlines from WHYY's Health + Science Desk

The inspiration behind Cynthia Baum-Baicker's lifelong career in behavioral health

January 24th, 2014


When Philadelphia-based clinical psychologist Cynthia Baum-Baicker runs a therapy session, she listens with the ears of a musician and sometimes, she says, the pauses, the tempo and tone of a voice can tell her more than the words themselves. It gives her an insight of...

Philly Cafe Serves Something Different

By Maiken Scott

Death tends to be a taboo topic at social events because it's considered a downer. At a Philadelphia gathering Monday evening, however, death and dying will be front and center.   "Coffee, cake, and talk about death" that's how organizer Simcha Raphael sums up the "death cafe." "That's it, period, it's not covered up, there's no euphemisms around it."   The death cafes are...

N.J. mom casts wide net to prevent suicide

September 10, 2013

By Maiken Scott 

Each year, nearly 40,000 Americans kill themselves. This is Suicide Prevention Week -- but one New Jersey mother works to prevent suicides every day of the year.

Lisa Schenke's son, Tim, was good at so many things. He was a great student, a star athlete.

"Tim was so energetic, and such a smiley, active kid," she recalled.


Call for Youth Behavioral Health Videos

WHYY is looking for the best youth-created videos of the 2012-2013 school year for our 2013 Youth Media Awards film festival. The Awards will honor the best youth media created in the Philadelphia region between August 1, 2012 and July 31, 2013.

Selected videos will be screened at WHYY during an evening film festival in October, 2013, where prizes will be awarded. A selection of the...

Genetic test helps explain why anti-depressants work only for some

November 23, 2012

By Maiken Scott

"Choosing a medication to treat mental illness can be a gamble. Some patients don't respond at all. Others see marked improvement.

Many patients find they need to experiment for a long time to fine tune a complicated cocktail of pills. What accounts for these erratic drug responses?  Psychiatry is not...

Chronic disease model for addiction treatment

Drug researchers are urging doctors and policy makers to treat addiction more like they do heart disease and cancer -- by using regular prevention screens and follow-up care.
The Affordable Care Act will move addiction treatment and prevention more into the primary care setting says Tom McLellan who heads the Treatment Research Institute, something he believes will fundamentally change...

Medical legal partnerships and mental health services

Patients at Philadelphia's St. Christopher's Hospital for children now have the option to discuss legal issues with lawyers on site. This medical-legal partnership started because St. Chris physicians felt that so many of their patients' problems were rooted in legal rather than medical issues. Custody problems, insurance coverage, moldy walls and unresponsive landlords - all of these problems...

Protesters say psychiatrists over-label and over-medicate

Several thousand psychiatrists are in Philadelphia for their annual convention - and some mental health advocates are expressing their opposition to what they see as overdiagnosing and over-medicating of people with mental illnesses.

About 200 protesters gathered in Center City yesterday, May 5th, and marched to the convention center. Their signs read "label jars, not people" and "don...