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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Mental Health Crisis or Gun Control? Finding an answer to mass violence in America

Million-Dollar Question of the Day: What IS the answer to all these random acts of violence in America? Every other week it seems we hear about or see another incident on the news.. school shootings (& now stabbings!), Fort Hood shootings, wife drives car into church & then stabs husband because he's "worshipping Nascar."

Has it occurred to anyone that maybe we need better mental health care? To me it seems like the obvious answer. More often than not it appears that there's a single common denominator in all these horrid incidents: these folks are cray cray! The persons involved may not have a history of violence but I believe it only takes one episode to say someone's experiencing psychosis. And, I'd prefer they never even get the chance. But, I'm not a doctor though.. so what do I know? Something else to consider is the ever-increasing population. Not just in the U.S. but all across the world.. numbers don't lie. The larger the population, the more incidents will occur.. no matter what kind of control or lack thereof we may have over weaponry.

Health professionals use specially designed interview and assessment tools to evaluate a person for a mental illness. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) estimates about 3 in 100 persons are at risk of psychosis, "the experience of loss of contact with reality, and is not part of the person’s cultural group belief system or experience," ( which typically includes hallucinations and/or delusions.

Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks there might be an issue of mental illness here! Pittsburgh Rep. Tim Murphy, the only practicing clinical psychologist in Congress and author of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, states “These are sparks, but there’s usually a long fuse that goes with that,” speaking in regards to the 2 most recent incidents involving a Pennsylvania teen who went on a stabbing spree at his high school this week and the Fort Hood soldier who opened fire on his comrades last week (the 2nd Fort Hood soldier to do so in 4 years). These 2 recent occurrences appear to have finally opened up the possibility of legislation being passed in the U.S. ..and it's also a good sign for bipartisanship on mental health legislation. Murphy says, "There's no left or right on this issue," and he's not the only one.

Key provisions of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act "would increase the number of hospital beds available for crisis psychiatric care, improve access to mental health care for children and adolescents, authorize an assistant secretary of mental health at the Health and Human Services Department, and encourage states to adopt a 'need for treatment' standard for care, as opposed to the current requirement that a person must pose a danger to themselves or others before they can be committed." ( Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy said, “I know from personal experience how hard it is for families to protect their loved ones from themselves,” who along with his siblings gained guardianship of his mother when she was unable to keep herself out of harm’s way.

And, maybe it's just me but it seems like we're hearing about these things WAY more often than we used to! I've often wondered if it was just that reports have increased due to all the gun control controversy or if these violent incidents are actually happening more often. The FBI reports a disturbing rise in the number of  “active shooter” incidents across America, according to Mark Greenblatt with Scripps News. Click this link for an interactive map showing active shooter incidents across the U.S: Using information gathered by outside researchers, statistics show an average of 5 incidents per year from 2000-2008. However, Greenblatt reports from 2009 to the present, the number rose to an average of 15 per year. Dr. Peter Blair, an associate professor of criminal justice at Texas State University attributes much of the rise to events that might escape attention from other researchers. "Most of these are the much smaller events that end, fortunately, before a lot of people are killed," said Blair.

On that note, and I may be opening up a big fat can of worms here.. but for all those elated & thanking God that the Pennsylvania school attacker had knives instead of guns, if the adults at that school had been armed with guns I guarantee you he would've only gotten to a few victims rather than 20. Not trying to be a smart-ass or make light of this or any other horrific incident. It's always been my belief that guns, knives, and all other weapons don't kill people.. people kill people (& sometimes lions and tigers and bears, but that's a whole other afternoon of discussions). Just remember to keep 'em locked up tight and/or directly on your person to help avoid them getting into the wrong hands.

Anywho, in all seriousness.. combining crisis training for school/ government employees and law enforcement (for everyone really) with improvements in and better access to mental health care would appear to be a step in the right direction. Big government and healthcare legislation may not be the definitive answer to America's problems with violence.. but it's a damn good start in my book!

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

couldn't have said it better... Words by the Glass: The 2014 VS Swim Catalog: A Mom's Buying Guide

Couldn't have said it better...

Words by the Glass: The 2014 VS Swim Catalog: A Mom's Buying Guide: Get ready all you moms out there. The Victoria’s Secret 2014 Swim Catalog has arrived. In February.  I’m sure that whoever was having a goo...

Friday, January 10, 2014

Polar Vortex of Hell, a.k.a. Long Term Unemployment

If I've learned one thing about being unemployed it's never expect anything.. the second you do reality bitch-slaps you right back into the now reminding you there are forces you have zero control over. The sad thing is it's literally a world-wide epidemic of sorts.. a global state of conservatism with consequences of epic proportion. Employers need workers but aren't willing to sacrifice profit to complete said work-force.

"Unemployment falls to 7% in the US," is plastered all over the news. This news causes many of those still unemployed to ask themselves, "Then why the heck can't I find a job? What's wrong with me? What am I doing wrong?!"  Some reports state there are approximately 3 workers in waiting for every job opening. website reports, "When Walmart recently opened 2 stores in Washington, D.C., more than 23,000 people submitted applications for the 600 job openings. That means each applicant stood a mere 2.6% chance of being hired. Harvard has a higher acceptance rate." However, other statistics report ridiculously high numbers of job openings out there and more to come in 2014. Something doesn't add up! What does it all mean??

Well, one possibility could be that companies are posting available jobs with no real intention of hiring.. or maybe they're just REALLY picky. Making matters even worse, apparently the longer you're out of work the less "attractive" you are to employers. There's also the aspect of those long-term unemployed that became discouraged after looking for a job year after year and simply "dropped out" altogether (took early retirement, etc.) thereby falling out of the labor market and skewing the numbers posing an inaccurate perception on unemployment statistics altogether.

Who knows! In the meantime the long-term unemployed are running out of options. EUC, or Emergency Unemployment Compensation and otherwise known as federal unemployment insurance ran out as of December 28, 2013, and Congress can't make up their damned mind whether or not to extend these benefits to the millions of Americans still unemployed. It's said that Republicans believe extending unemployment benefits only hurts the economy giving the long-term unemployed the "wrong incentive" to stay unemployed. While Democrats believe it'll only lead to those losing benefits no longer being able to spend money thereby hurting businesses and local economies.. thus causing said conservatism. This doesn't stop the long-term unemployed from running through their hard-earned savings, possibly losing their homes or worse..

An unproven perception: Companies are looking for younger less-qualified people who are cheaper to higher and teachable. And, they're not interested if you've been out of work for more than six months no matter what age you are. So, those a little or a lot older, over-qualified, formerly over-paid unemployed persons would appear to unfortunately be S.O.L. What next? We can't just start lying on our applications/resumes right? How do you get the message out to recruiters that you're willing to take lower pay or less benefits and are welcome to change? What's certain is there's no simple solution here.. assuming of course there's any solution at all.

So, I simply continue to tell myself, "Never give up! Never surrender!" Like a river we must remain constant and at the same time willing to change direction at the drop of a hat. If you hit a rock or otherwise immovable object, simply meander around and just keep on moving. Don't stop.