“US researchers have found early intervention can help prevent negative experiences in infancy turning into long-term health risks”
Illustration: Nathalie Lees
by Lauren Zanolli in New Orleans
“When Sabrina Bugget-Kellum walked into a neighbourhood clinic in New York for a routine appointment in in 2016, she was desperate. Her son was in prison. She was trying to look after his two young children, who were aged one and two. Their mother was emotionally unstable. Bugget-Kellum did not want the chaos of the adults’ lives passed down to another generation.
“‘We didn’t know if they would be safe with their mother,’ she recalled recently. ‘I began to pray, please God, I need some help. There were so many things going on.’
“While at the clinic, Bugget-Kellum learned about a new parenting programme designed for carers of young children who have faced early adversity such as domestic abuse, homelessness or the loss of a parent to incarceration. ‘It was like I had my ammunition and I knew how to fight,’ said Bugget-Kellum of the programme.”
At bottom there is a revolutionary idea. It’s about moving from ‘what’s wrong with you?’ to ‘what happened to you?’ – Leslie Lieberman
Click here to continue reading this article at The Guardian.
As the anniversary of the massive wildfires in Northern California arrives, researchers are trying to pinpoint the best ways to treat the anxiety, depression, and trauma left in the disaster’s wake.
“An aerial view of homes that were destroyed by the Tubbs Fire on October 11, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California. Twenty-one people have died in wildfires that have burned tens of thousands of acres and destroyed over 3,000 homes and businesses in several Northen California counties. – JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES”
by Matt Simon
“A YEAR AGO, while on a tourist visit to Latvia, Sharon Bard was awoken at 4 am by a buzzing alert from her phone. It was an email from a friend who’d been checking on her home in Santa Rosa, California. Given the alarming news, the email’s phrasing was rather gentle: A fire had broken out in the area, officials had ordered evacuations, and Bard’s country house at the end of a road might be affected.
“Then came the deluge. Six or seven emails from other folks arrived, with more urgent queries like ‘oh my God, are you OK?’ So Bard checked CNN, and sure enough, there was the fire. This was not just local news. What neither Bard nor anyone else knew at this point was that what would become the most destructive conflagration in California history, the Tubbs Fire, was well on its way to destroying more than 5,500 structures, killing 22 people, and causing $1.2 billion in damage.
“For three days after that first email jolted her awake, Bard traded frantic messages with friends.”
“Cognitively speaking, there may be no way to recover from a disadvantaged childhood.”
by Tom Jacobs
“The aging of the Baby Boomers has inspired a lot of research into how we can stave off old-age cognitive decline. But a large new study suggests the most effective interventions may take place at the beginning of one’s life.
“It finds people who grew up in socially disadvantaged households—defined as crowded living quarters that are lacking in books—tend to score lower than others on tests of cognitive skills.
“This gap apparently does not increase over time, but it remains significant after taking into account such factors as education, employment, and physical health.”
“Rita Mizak (top left), YMCA aquatics instructor, leads a water walking class Friday May 18, 2018, for local retired professikonals who have been taking the class for 30 years.” – photo by Thomas Slusser – The Tribune-Democrat
by Randy Griffith
“It’s not your grandparents’ old age.
“With access to clean water, vaccinations, waste removal, electricity and refrigerators, people are not only surviving to live longer, they are remaining active and living better in their senior years.
“As the late George Burns famously said: ‘You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.’
“Some are calling it the longevity revolution.
“Based on current life expectancy and average health quality, the World Health Organizations suggests that people in developed nations are ‘young’ until they are 65, ‘middle aged’ up to 79 and ‘elderly’ until they hit 100. Then they are ‘long-lived elderly.’”
Read this Tribune-Democrat article in its entirety, click here.
“One in Five Americans Report Always or Often Feeling Lonely or Socially Isolated, Frequently With Physical, Mental, and Financial Consequences” – KFF/Economist Survey
One in five Americans (22%) say they always or often feel lonely or socially isolated, frequently with serious consequences, finds a new Kaiser Family Foundation/Economist three-country survey examining loneliness and social isolation.
Americans who feel lonely or socially isolated often report negative impacts on their mental (58%) and physical (55%) health, their personal relationships (49%) and ability to do their job (33%). Some also say it has led them to think about harming themselves (31%) or committing a violent act (15%).
The survey also finds that while most Americans (58%) view the increased use of technology as a major reason why people feel lonely and socially isolated, those who report feeling lonely or socially isolated are divided on the impact of social media in particular. About as many say using social media such as Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter has made their feelings of loneliness better (31%) and worse (27%).
The survey takes a comprehensive look at the prevalence, causes and consequences of loneliness and social isolation in the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan at a time when aging societies and increasing use of technology is generating concerns about the effects of loneliness on health. Findings appear in The Economist’s Sept. 1 issue and in a separate KFF report that looks at people’s views and experiences with loneliness across the three countries.
Reports of always or often feeling lonely or socially isolated are similar in the U.S. (22%) and U.K. (23%), compared to 9 percent in Japan.
Other findings include:
- Loneliness appears to be closely tied to real life problems and circumstances, with at least six in 10 of those experiencing it across the three countries citing a specific cause, most often the death of a loved one. Those who feel lonely are much more likely to report a negative change in financial status, a change in living situation, a serious injury or illness personally, or loss of a job in the past two years than those who don’t report feeling lonely across the three countries.
- In the United States, those most likely to experience loneliness include people who report having a mental health condition (47% report loneliness) or a debilitating health condition (45%). That’s roughly three times the rates for those who don’t have such conditions.
- Similarly, Americans who are single, divorced, widowed or separated are more than twice as likely to report feeling lonely or socially isolated than those who are married or living with a partner (33% compared to 13%). The pattern is similar in the U.K. and Japan.
- Half of Americans (51%) say they’ve heard “a lot” or “some” about the problems of loneliness and social isolation – fewer than say the same in the United Kingdom (67%), where a minister for loneliness was appointed earlier this year.
- Across countries, large majorities of people say individuals and families should play a major role in helping to reduce loneliness and social isolation in society today. However, just about a quarter of Americans (27%) say the government should play a major role, less than half the shares who say the same in the U.K. and Japan. Most Americans (61%) also see a major role for churches and other religious institutions.
The three-country survey is part of a polling partnership between KFF and The Economist. The poll was designed and analyzed by survey researchers at KFF in collaboration with The Economist. Each organization is solely responsible for the content it publishes based on the survey.
The poll was conducted by telephone from April through June 2018 among random digit dial telephone (landline and cell phone) samples of adults in the U.S. (1,003), the U.K. (1,002) and Japan (1,000), including at least 200 adults in each country who report always or often feeling lonely or socially isolated.
The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the U.S. results and plus or minus 4 percentage points for results for the U.K. and Japan. For results based on subgroups, the margin of sampling error may be higher.
“Despite the modern obsession with a good night’s rest, more of us are sleeping less. Perhaps we should pay attention to the advice of early modern doctors.”“Detail from A Maid Asleep by Johannes Vermeer, c.1656–57.”
by Katharine A. Craik
“Sleep is an urgent topic for neuroscientists and now more than ever is known about its crucial importance for concentration and memory formation. Despite all this, the western world spends fewer and fewer hours asleep. With human interaction increasingly taking place in timeless virtual spaces, our time spent asleep is shortening and our working days are lengthening, with profound implications for the quality of the lives we lead. In particular, the impact of light-emitting screens upon the circadian rhythms, so essential to well-being, are only just becoming apparent. A similar debate took place during the Enlightenment when artificial lighting offered many people the novel opportunity to manipulate their hours of wakeful productivity. But the origins of sleep science lie centuries earlier, in Renaissance theories about the body’s sensitivity to light and darkness.
“The science of sleep was developing rapidly in the 17th century, when rest was regarded as one of the core factors for maintaining good health, along with other essential ‘non-naturals’ such as air, food and drink. Most writers agreed that the optimum quantity of sleep lay somewhere between seven and nine hours and that its health-giving benefits were many and varied. The medical literature of the time however suggests that people – then as now – were often plagued by slumber’s elusiveness.”
This important message is from The National Council for Behavioral Health.
“In political advocacy, the first and most important step is deciding who will represent you and your community in Washington, D.C. The National Council is committed to helping increase voter engagement among Americans living with mental illness and addiction and their families. We are calling on you, our members, to get out the vote by running Voter Registration drives in your organizations this summer and fall. Join National Council’s Policy and Advocacy staff for a 1-hour webinar on August 15, at 2:30 p.m. ET to learn more. Download this toolkit to get a jumpstart!
“Despair and anxiety: Puerto Rico’s ‘living emergency’ as a mental health crisis unfolds” – The Guardian
“Shaina kisses her son Keydiel, five, in the yard of the school he attends in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico.” Photograph: Angel Valentin for the Guardian
by Amanda Holpuch
“For the first 36 hours after Hurricane Maria, five-year-old Keydiel and his mother Shaina were trapped by the toppled trees that blocked the doors to their home in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico.
“Eventually, neighbors cleared the sturdy tamarind trees, cutting by hand because there was no electricity. The mother and son emerged to find an island devoured by 155mph winds and harsh rains.
“Their immediate concerns were physical – finding food and water – but bubbling below were anxieties and trauma that would endure for months.”
“Unusually hot days have profound effects on mental health and human physiology.”
“MIKE BLAKE / REUTERS”
by Robinson Meyer
“For almost two centuries now, scientists have noticed a place’s suicide rate bears troubling links to the changing of the seasons and the friendliness of its climate.
“In 1881, the Italian physician Enrico Morselli noted that suicide rates peak in the summer, deeming the effect “too great for it to be attributed to chance of the human will.” Two decades later, the French sociologist Emile Durkheim noticed the same effect—though he also found the suicide rate was higher in Scandinavian countries.
“Even today, CDC data confirms that suicides peak in the United States in the early summer.”
Read this article in its entirety, click here.
As the US continues to grapple with a deadly opioid crisis, a growing number of experts are concerned that overdose deaths are masking a larger suicide crisis.
The background is this: Suicide rates in the US rose 30% between 2000 and 2016, according to estimates. But the real numbers are undoubtedly higher, partly because of the opioid epidemic.
According to a recent study, suicide by drug overdose is “profoundly underreported” in the US. On top of that, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder affect more than half of people with drug use disorders.
Here’s the thing: The official numbers say that less than 4% of the 44,000 fatal opioid overdoses in 2016 were suicides. However, experts say that data from teen deaths points to a much higher suicide rate — perhaps 13.5% of all opioid deaths. One addiction expert put it like this: “We should be very concerned that many overdoses are unrecognized suicide attempts.”
The reason this matters, as a mental health and suicide expert described, is that if people were more aware of the overlap, focusing on treating some drug users for depression would offer them a better chance of getting off drugs and not dying.