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As suicide rates hit a 50-year high, it has become increasingly clear that we need to take mental health seriously. According to the World Health Organization mental health issues will be the leading cause of death among young people by 2020. In order to address […]
SALEM, Oregon — Oregon will allow students to take “mental health days” just as they would sick days, expanding the reasons for excused school absences to include mental or behavioral health under a new law that experts say is one of the first of its kind in the U.S.
But don’t call it coddling. The students behind the measure say it’s meant to change the stigma around mental health in a state that has some of the United States’ highest suicide rates. Mental health experts say it is one of the first state laws to explicitly instruct schools to treat mental health and physical health equally, and it comes at a time educators are increasingly considering the emotional health of students. Utah passed a similar law last year.
Oregon’s bill, signed by Gov. Kate Brown last month, also represents one of the few wins for youth activists from around the state who were unusually active at the Capitol this year. Along with expanded mental health services, they lobbied for legislation to strengthen gun control and lower the voting age, both of which failed.
Haily Hardcastle, an 18-year-old from the Portland suburb of Sherwood who helped champion the mental health bill, said she and other student leaders were partly motivated by the national youth-led movement that followed last year’s Parkland, Florida, school shooting.
“We were inspired by Parkland in the sense that it showed us that young people can totally change the political conversation,” she said. “Just like those movements, this bill is something completely coming from the youth.”
Hardcastle, who plans to attend the University of Oregon in the fall, said she and fellow youth leaders drafted the measure to respond to a mental health crisis in schools and to “encourage kids to admit when they’re struggling.”
Debbie Plotnik, executive director of the nonprofit advocacy group Mental Health America, said implementing the idea in schools was important step in challenging the way society approaches mental health issues.
“The first step to confront this crisis is to reduce the stigma around it,” Plotnik said. “We need to say it’s just as OK to take care for mental health reasons as it is to care for a broken bone or a physical illness.”
Suicide is Oregon’s second leading cause of death among those ages 10 to 34, according to data from the state Health Authority. Nearly 17% of eighth-graders reported seriously contemplating taking their lives within the past 12 months.
And it’s not just an Oregon problem, although the state does have a suicide rate 40% higher than the national average. The national suicide rate has also been on the rise and recently hit a 50-year high, climbing more than 30% since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Previously, schools were obliged to excuse only absences related to physical illnesses. At many schools, absences must be excused to make up missed tests or avoid detention.
Under state law, students can have up to five absences excused in a three month period. Anything more requires a written excuse to the principal.
Despite little public opposition from lawmakers, Hardcastle said she’s received pushback from some parents who say the legislation wasn’t necessary, as students can already take mental health days by lying or pretending to be sick. Other opponents have said the law will encourage students to find more excuses to miss school in a state that also suffers from one of the worst absenteeism rates in the nation. More than 1 in 6 children missed at least 10% of school days in the 2015-2016 school year, according to state data.
But those criticisms miss the point of the bill, said Hardcastle. Students are going to take the same amount of days off from school with or without the new law, but they might be less likely to lie about why they’re taking take a day off if schools formally recognize mental health in their attendance policies.
“Why should we encourage lying to our parents and teachers?” she said. “Being open to adults about our mental health promotes positive dialogue that could help kids get the help they need.”
Parents Roxanne and Jason Wilson agree, and say the law might have helped save their 14-year-old daughter, Chloe, who took her life in February 2018.
The Eugene-based couple said the funny and bubbly teen had dreams of becoming a surgeon but faced bullying after coming out as bisexual in middle school.
When things at school were particularly rough, Chloe would pretend to be sick to stay home.
“Because she lied to get her absences excused, we didn’t get to have those mental health conversations that could have saved her life,” said Roxanne, who now manages a local suicide prevention program.
Chloe was one of five teens to die by suicide in the Eugene area that month. Roxanne and Jason, who moved to the rural city of Dayton following their daughter’s death, worry that those against the bill underestimate the hardships today’s teens face.
“Calling kids coddled or sensitive will just further discourage them from being honest with adults about what they’re going through,” Jason Wilson said. “We need to do everything we can to open up that dialogue between parents and children when it comes to mental health.”
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.
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Yale psychiatrist: Trump using racism as a coping mechanism as his mental state rapidly deteriorates
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump continued to attack the young congresswomen of color nicknamed “The Squad,” after he was criticized for saying the women should go back to their own countries, even though all four are U.S. citizens. Now, he’s doubling down.
On Twitter Wednesday he called the women “left-wing cranks.” He added that they were free to leave if they don’t like America.
Raw Story spoke with Dr. Bandy X. Lee about the President’s racist tirades against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ayanna Pressley (D-IL).
Lee is a forensic psychiatrist and an expert on violence at Yale School of Medicine. She helped launch a public health approach to global violence prevention as a consultant to the World Health Organization and other United Nations bodies since 2002. She is author of the textbook, “Violence: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Causes, Consequences, and Cures,” president of the World Mental Health Coalition, and editor of the New York Times bestseller, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.”
She and her coauthors recently prepared a mental health analysis of the Mueller report with recommendations. On July 23, 2019, they will present their analysis at a town hall-style meeting on Capitol Hill as well as unveil five questions they would like to ask Special Counsel Robert Mueller (for more information, visit: dangerouscase.org).
Raw Story: Donald Trump told “Progressive Democrat Congresswomen” to go back to the countries they came from. When they rebutted, he doubled down, accusing them of spewing “foul language & racist hatred.” What do you make of these comments?
Bandy X. Lee: The first thing this indicates to me is that the president is deteriorating rapidly. He attacks as a maladaptive means of coping with stress, and he won’t stop. Given the rigidity of his repertoire, we can expect more, escalating attacks.
Secondly, his racism also lays bare his dangerousness. If the actual content of Robert Mueller’s report were to be understood properly, rather than in the light of distortion and deflection the special counsel generated to protect him, or the “No collusion! No obstruction!” hypnotism he has managed so far, things could become uncontrollable. We should not wait to see what happens.
Beyond the immediate risks, there is also widespread danger. There is a saying, “Sticks and stones may break bones, but words kill.” There are plenty of historical examples as well as research to support that this is true.
Dr. Kevin Washington, who specializes in African and African-American cultural psychology, calls racism a societal disorder. The president, through his powerful public position, is worsening this societal disorder. And since structural violence is the deadliest form of violence, causing more deaths per year than all the murders, suicides, wars, and massacres around the world combined, and racism is a form of structural violence, he is committing the worst violence of all through his words.
I wrote a textbook that illustrates how all forms of violence, including verbal aggression, sexual assaults, human rights abuses—such as the cruelty against migrant children—nuclear violence, and climate violence are all interrelated. I wrote it in 2014, with some updates just before publication, but I did not expect it all to play out in one presidency.
Raw Story: Will you be discussing this at your online town hall?
Lee: We will address the president’s lack of mental capacity, which is no longer a long-distance assessment, thanks to the Mueller report. We had to postpone our town hall to July 23, 2019, in order to fall just before Mr. Mueller’s testimony. We are doing this to maximize public attention on an issue all other authorities have suppressed, including the press. Details will be on our web site, dangerouscase.org.
Unfortunately, his limited testimony will come two days before the U.S. Congress goes into summer recess for six weeks, and the containment we urgently need will be delayed yet again. Stalling and obstructing, so that the natural time course of the 2020 presidential campaign will eliminate time for an impeachment inquiry, are consistent with the resistance against examination and treatment we see in mentally impaired individuals. The contributions of mental impairment are important, since they will be far more overpowering than criminality alone.
Raw Story: How will you have these mental health contributions be known? It seems we continue to fail to recognize them.
Lee: Not only that, the resistance will grow worse, the more severe the situation is. Mental health experts need to become part of the discussion, if only to reassure that there are ways of managing this. Without experts, even if the signs of disorder are obvious, it becomes a mere insult, since there is no scientific basis and no one will know what to do about it. If they are not obvious, it becomes a potential hazard to those exposed, which in the case of a U.S. president is the nation and the world. Most mental disorders cause suffering on the afflicted person and violence against the self, but there is a small subset that inflicts suffering on and violence against others. It should be no secret in which category the president’s impairments fall. It is very easy to underestimate the depth and complexity of this form of dangerousness without expert input.
Crucially, most people will be tempted, cajoled, confused, and pressured into enabling or colluding with the disease. This is how loved ones become accomplices in repeatedly recreating the trauma of traumatized individuals, unless treated. This is how ordinary people readily trust those with predatory drives, allowing perpetrators to repeat their acts again and again, unless stopped. Unfortunately, this is also how the public is more likely to give to a disordered leader frenzied, irrational support that is impermeable even to facts and self-interest. Dr. Judith Herman and I have outlined how there is great temptation to ally with power when the power becomes abusive and unhealthy.
Another popular misconception is that general mental defect exonerates from criminal responsibility. Political people may misapply this mistaken notion by trying to explain away wrongdoing or by believing that avoiding the topic will facilitate maximal punishment. The truth is, one can suffer from a severe mental illness and still be criminally responsible, while the determination of not guilty by reason of insanity is very specific and rare.
To see these signs and not to speak up, in my view, violates the heart of medical ethics. We are health professionals and not political players, and we are calling out the political nature of the American Psychiatric Association’s distortion of professional ethics, much like what I observe in the attorney general’s actions in relation to the law.
Medical guidelines should be clear: when lives and safety are at stake, there is not just permission but an obligation to act. If we have a duty to warn and protect non-patients or the public when it is in danger, and this has been litigated over a hundred times, then certainly the guideline not to diagnose a public figure without consent, which was litigated once 55 years ago, is subordinate to it. The former is a law adopted by most U.S. states and many nations. The latter is a rule that only one among many mental health organizations can enforce but can never become law because of its conflicts with the First Amendment. We are trying to expose this fact, in addition to speaking up, as our responsibility to public health.
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Flesh-eating bacteria death: Man dies from necrotizing fasciitis infection 48 hours after beach trip in Florida, family says – CBS News
A woman from Niceville, Florida, is warning others thatis not an urban legend – it is a real threat that took her father’s life.
Cheryl Bennett Wiygul wrote a lengthy Facebook post on July 10 explaining the short timeline from when her dad became infected by the bacteria to when he died about 48 hours later.
“There is not enough education out there about the bacteria in the water. There needs to be signs posted at every beach, every city and state park, and every bayou stating that ‘due to naturally occurring bacteria in the water people with open wounds or compromised immune systems should not enter,'” Wiygul wrote.
Flesh Eating Bacteria sounds like an urban legend. Let me assure you that it is not. It took my Dad’s life. This is so…
She explained her dad is battling cancer and therefore has a compromised immune system. However, he has gone swimming many time over the years and his family did not see the risk. This time, Wiygul’s parents were visiting her in Okaloosa County, Florida, about a week afterin Destin, her post said.
Okaloosa County put out information to defuse any rumors about the incident. Officials said the girl had a cut on her leg, which lead Wiygul to believe as long as no one went into the water with open wounds, they’d be OK.
“When my parents got in town I was fanatical about Neosporin and liquid bandaid,” Wiygul wrote. “My Dad didn’t have any open wounds. He had a couple places that were practicality healed small scratches on his arms and legs that I made sure were super sealed up.”
The family “had a blast” splashing around various bays and beaches, Wiygul said. Her dad seemed fine until about 4:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. “12 hours after we were in the water, he woke up with a fever, chills and some cramping,” his daughter wrote.
Since her dad has a history with illness, Wiygul’s parents thought it was best to go home to Memphis to be closer to his doctors. On the way home, however, her dad’s condition drastically worsened. He was suffering severe pain in his legs, and when he got to Baptist Hospital in Memphis, there was a swollen sore on his back that had not been there before, Wiygul said.
She said her mother told the hospital staff he had been in Florida, where there was bacteria in the water that could cause the so-called flesh-eating infection necrotizing fasciitis. However, “one person told her the media had blown that out of proportion. Others said it was staph,” Wiygul wrote.
Her dad’s condition worsened and he was moved to the ICU. “He was gone by Sunday afternoon. Less than 48 hours after getting out of the water feeling great, the bacteria had destroyed him,” Wiygul wrote.
The concerned daughter said when the family got her dad’s test results back, they confirmed he had been infected with, “which manifests into necrotizing fasciitis” she said.
Vibrio vulnificus is found in high-salinity, brackish waters with surface temperatures above 13 degrees Celsius, or 55 degrees Fahrenheit, medical research shows. It has typically been found in the warm waters of the Gulf Coast and southern states like Louisiana and Texas, especially during the months from May to October. One recent study suggests it’s also becoming .
Wiygul wants others to take the potential risk seriously. “There were no bacteria warnings at any beach or park we went to. They do post advisories for high bacteria but there were none,” she wrote. “I would never have taken my Dad in the water if there was a bacteria advisory but it would have been because I didn’t want him to get a stomach virus not because I thought it would kill him.”
She said she doesn’t want to scare people into not going to the beach or swimming, but she wants others to recognize the symptoms and become educated about flesh-eating bacteria.
Vibrio vulnificus causes about 205 infections in the United States every year, the CDC estimates. Anyone can be affected, but people with compromised immune systems or liver disease are more likely to get an infection and severe complications, the CDC says.
Via Fox35 Orlando Sorry Florida, it looks like you might want to put off swimming for a little while. Well, unless you want a flesh-eating bacteria roaming around your body eating all your tissue. If that’s the case, then go ahead and swim away. But […]