Public Health

America’s Massive Gap Providing Mental Health Services

Counties are pushing Congress to help fix the problem, which is especially bad in rural communities. But whether lawmakers will do so as part of upcoming budget legislation is unclear.

Schools, Sheriffs, and Syringes: State Plans Vary for Spending $26B in Opioid Settlement Funds

The cash represents an unprecedented opportunity to derail the opioid epidemic, but with countless groups advocating for their share of the pie, the impact could depend heavily on geography and politics.

Thousands of Experts Hired to Aid Public Health Departments Are Losing Their Jobs

As the Covid-19 pandemic raged, an independent nonprofit tied to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hired an army of seasoned professionals to fill the gaps in the country’s public health system. Now, the money has largely run out, and state and local health departments are again without their expertise.

The High Toll of Work on Mental Health and Its Hit to Productivity

New survey findings show that more than a third of workers say their jobs are a drag on their mental health, with government employees topping a list of those reporting ill effects.

How a Vending Machine Prevents Drug Overdoses

About 600 lives have been saved by a machine in Ohio that stocks overdose treatments and other harm reduction tools, according to a health nonprofit.

Who Sees What You Flush? Wastewater Surveillance for Public Health is on the Rise

COMMENTARY | But a new survey reveals many U.S. adults are still unaware.

Congress is Spending Millions on New Air Monitors. Will it Make a Difference?

The new climate bill could help reveal industrial pollution. But no law requires the government to act.

EPA Calls Out Environmental Racism in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley

In a “remarkable” letter, the EPA accused Louisiana regulators of neglecting Black residents’ concerns about toxic air pollution and urged the state to move kids out of a school where monitors found extreme levels of a cancer-causing chemical.

Different Risks, One Crisis

COMMENTARY | Across the U.S., communities experience climate change in different ways. But the health consequences and destruction from another summer of storms, floods, fires and drought, underscore why it’s time for collective action.

Doctors Prescribe Healthy Meals to Keep Patients Out of the Hospital

Some states will offer medically tailored meals to low-income residents with diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Biden Calls on Governors to Pardon Marijuana Possession Offenses

He did so after issuing a blanket pardon for all federal convictions for simple possession of the drug.

Mental Health Crisis Teams Aren’t Just for Cities Anymore

In many cities, social workers and counselors are responding to mental health emergencies that used to be solely handled by police. That approach is spreading to rural areas even though mental health professionals are scarcer and travel distances are longer.

How California’s Salton Sea Went From Vacation Destination to Toxic Nightmare

And why the shrinking lake might be key to meeting America's clean energy goals.

Deciding How to Use $41B in Remaining State ARPA Aid

States have already chosen where to spend the bulk of $195 billion in pandemic funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. A think tank is weighing in on what to do with the money that’s left.

How a School’s ‘Bike Bus’ Won Over Students and Charmed the Internet

Nearly 200 kids in Portland, Oregon join a weekly bicycle ride to school, instead of relying on buses or drop-offs. The fun-spirited, pedal-powered convoys have drawn nationwide attention and the teacher behind them says they have many benefits.

Preventing the Next Jackson-Like Water Crisis

COMMENTARY | There’s federal funding available to make badly needed water infrastructure upgrades in communities of color harmed by years of disinvestment. But the onus is on state lawmakers to direct the money to places that need it most.

States Take on PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’ With Bans, Lawsuits

Rising awareness has prompted action in more than two dozen states.

Medicaid Enrollment Soared by 25% During the Covid-19 Pandemic

COMMENTARY | But a big decline could happen soon.

States Look to Help Tenants Pay for Air Conditioning as Climate Warms

“We don’t want anybody to pass away because of something we can fix; that’s just not right.”