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101.1 The Beat hosts 'Call-a-Psychiatrist' at 7 p.m. Thursdays


(Left to Right) Taraj Nyree, Dr. James Hillard, Kasey Davis, Kevin Campbell, Ahsha Davis, Jim Bollela. (Courtesy Photo)

Mental health can be a complicated quagmire, but Kasey Davis and Dr. James Hillard hope to guide their listeners through the bog.

Davis and Hillard host the "Call-a-Psychiatrist" program at 7 p.m. every Thursday on radio station 101.1 The Beat. Students can call in to ask Hillard, a professor and practicing psychiatrist at Central Michigan University, questions about mental health disorders.

The program begins with discussion of a specific mental illness, like anxiety or depression. Halfway through, they receive callers and answer their questions on any psychiatric subject. The questions have been “excellent” so far, Hillard said.

He was inspired to create the program after a patient mentioned being affiliated with a radio station, he said. It allows people to understand psychiatric issues without needing to be patients.

“I think a lot of students here, particularly minority students, have grown up with a lot of families that didn’t really think of psychiatry as something their children might need,” Hillard said. “One of the problems I have sometimes is that the people who’ve never seen a psychiatrist are kind of expecting Hannibal Lecter or something.”

He hopes that the program will allow listeners to understand people around them who may be afflicted with mental health issues as well as providing listeners with a route to take if they believe they may have a disorder. He also believes the show will generate more demand for counseling services throughout Isabella County.

Executive producer Ahsha Davis and Hillard are both optimistic.

“It is time that we stop making mental health a secondary conversation,” Davis said. “There are people that could really use help and conversation to get through their issues.”