‘Lost Patients’ Podcast Examines America’s “Maze-Like” Mental Health System

For Immediate Release — Mar. 5, 2024
Lindsay Taylor, Consumer Marketing Manager

March 5, 2024; SEATTLE — Over the past half-century, 84 percent of state-run psychiatric hospital beds have disappeared. So where have the patients gone? Launching March 12, Lost Patients, a new six-part investigative series from KUOW and The Seattle Times, explores how vulnerable patients with psychosis and severe mental illnesses can end up in an endless loop between the streets, jail, clinics, and courts.

Hosted by reporter Will James, with mental health journalist Esmy Jimenez and investigative reporter Sydney Brownstone, Lost Patients examines the difficulties of treating serious mental illness through the lens of Seattle’s past, present and future. Each week, testimonials from patients, families, and professionals on the front lines are interwoven with rigorous investigative journalism, providing a solutions-oriented look at how we got stuck here — and what we might do to break free.

“Imagine a sprawling house in which every room, doorway, and hall passage was designed by a different architect,” says James. “Doorways don’t connect. Staircases lead to nowhere. Rooms are cut off from each other. This is what we call a mental health system in America.”

Merging personal, clinical, and historical perspectives, Lost Patients grants intimate access to those most affected by severe mental illness: women who have lived through psychosis who now devote their lives to helping others understand their reality, a psychiatrist father searching for answers following his son’s schizophrenia diagnosis, a nurse reflecting on her role in controversial treatments at a Washington state facility in the 1970s, among others.

Lost Patients is distributed by the NPR Network, and is a joint production of KUOW and The Seattle Times.

Listen to the trailer here.