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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Poverty and Mental Health

Central 2008 Display Mental Health MonthImage by mySAPL via Flickr
Found an article that equates poverty to having mental health problem(s). How true, I don't know. I actually disagree. You'd be more nuts worrying about keeping your money safe, than simply worrying about how or where you'd get the next meal. I'm talking of extreme cases here. But stranger than the truth is the fact that those who have just enough, or less, of finances, can sleep better than those who have to upkeep, and therefore, keep up, their financial status of being rich.


SIDNEY – Eleven percent of Nebraska children between the ages of 2 and 17 have at least one emotional, behavioral or developmental condition – and the statistics are growing every year. The state’s increasing poverty level is but one of a number of contributing factors, according to the 2010 Kids Count in Nebraska report issued Tuesday by Voices for Children. Other factors include geography, out-of-home care and contact with the juvenile justice system.

Just more than 66,000 Nebraska children were living in poverty in 2009. That’s 15.2 percent of the state’s youth, and increase from the 2000 rate of 10 percent. The 2008 economic recession is in part to blame for the increase, said Melissa Breazile, research coordinator for Voices for Children in Nebraska.
Economic well-being is not a cause of behavioral health disorders, but it is an environmental stressor that increases the chances of episodes for susceptible youngsters and it can leave families with hardships in addressing the issues.

As the state’s poverty rate has increased, so has its child abuse and neglect rates. Nebraska’s Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline registered 25,106 calls in 2009, an increase over the prior year’s 24,073 calls. Of the 2009 reports, 56 percent were investigated and 16 percent were determined to be “unsafe” situations.
But this year’s report, comprised of the latest data from 2008 and 2009, is not all bad news. Graduation rates have increased. Dropout, expulsion and juvenile arrest rates are down. Infant mortality rates have also decreased.

Families struggling with mental or behavioral issues have an easier time accessing the help they need. Much of that was the state’s response to the 2008 debacle with the Safe Haven Law that allowed parents to relinquish custody of children of any age. Thirty-six children were left to state custody before lawmakers closed the loophole. Thirty-four of them had received prior mental health treatment.

Breazile said the children’s parents felt the only way to find adequate services to help them was to leave their children in the state’s custody.

“Parents should not have to give up custody of their children to get help,” said Region 3 Behavioral Health Services Administrator Beth Baxter.

After fixing the Safe Haven Law, the state implemented the Nebraska Family Helpline, Family Navigator Services and the post adoption/guardianship program, Right Turn. But concerns now turn to the state’s increasing budget shortfalls and how that could affect the future of the programs.

“As the state attempts to strengthen its services, project budget shortfalls threaten even existing programs,” Breazile wrote in the report. “Already, the Nebraska Family Helpline and Family Navigator Services – implemented in 2010 – have been listed as potential programs to cut in an effort to reduce the DHHS budget.

“Some of the framework is in place for an effective system, but it’s a work in progress,” Breazile said. “That’s why we believe that the helpline and family navigator services are critical front doors for families entering and trying to find their way around the behavioral health system.”

Phone services for families in a state as large as Nebraska play a critical role in connecting families with needed resources. Only 14 percent of Nebraska children live in counties with no mental health service shortage. About 57 percent live in counties with no services and another 29 percent live in counties where services may be hard to find.

Baxter said one one-quarter of Nebraska children get the behavioral health care they need.
“That means three-quarters of them are not getting help,” she said. “Nineteen percent of all pediatrician visits involve some type of psychosocial problem, making it the most chronic condition for pediatrician visits – more than asthma.”

That’s why Breazile emphasized an importance on keeping the existing services available.

“If we address the health needs now, it increases the chance all children will grow up to be productive and prosperous,” Breazile said.

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Taken from Sun Telegraph; source article is below:

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

How my mother taught me appreciation, teamwork and relationship

One young academically excellent person went to apply for a managerial position in a big company.

He passed the first interview. The director did the last interview, then made the last decision.

The director discovered from the CV that the youth's academic achievements were excellent all the way, from the secondary school until the postgraduate research, never had a year when he did not score.

The director asked, "Did you obtain any scholarships in school?"

The youth answered "None".

The director asked, "Was it your father who paid for your school fees?"

The youth answered, "My father passed away when I was one year old, it was my mother who paid for my school fees.

The director asked, "Where did your mother work?"

The youth answered, "My mother worked as clothes cleaner. The director requested the youth to show his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect.

The director asked, "Have you ever helped your mother wash the clothes before?"

The youth answered, "Never, my mother always wanted me to study and read more books. Furthermore, my mother can wash clothes faster than me.

The director said, "I have a request. When you go back today, go and clean your mother's hands, and then see me tomorrow morning.”

The youth felt that his chance of landing the job was high. When he went back, he happily requested his mother to let him clean her hands. His mother felt strange, happy but with mixed feelings, she showed her hands to the kid.

The youth cleaned his mother's hands slowly. His tear fell as he did that. It was the first time he noticed that his mother's hands were so wrinkled, and there were so many bruises in her hands. Some bruises were so painful that his mother shivered when they were cleaned with water.

This was the first time the youth realized that it was this pair of hands that washed the clothes everyday to enable him to pay the school fee. The bruises in the mother's hands were the price that the mother had to pay for his graduation, academic excellence and his future.

After finishing the cleaning of his mother hands, the youth quietly washed all the remaining clothes for his mother.

That night, mother and son talked for a very long time.

Next morning, the youth went to the director's office.

The Director noticed the tears in the youth's eyes, asked: " Can you tell me what have you done and learned yesterday in your house?"

The youth answered, "I cleaned my mother's hand, and also finished cleaning all the remaining clothes'

The Director asked, "Please tell me your feelings."

The youth said, “Number 1, I know now what appreciation is. Without my mother, there would not the successful me today. Number 2, by working together and helping my mother, only I now realize how difficult and tough it is to get something done. Number 3, I have come to appreciate the importance and value of family relationship.”

The director said, "This is what I am looking for to be my manager.
I want to recruit a person who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of others to get things done, and a person who would not put money as his only goal in life. You are hired.”

Later on, this young person worked very hard, and received the respect of his subordinates. Every employee worked diligently and as a team. The company's performance improved tremendously.


A child, who has been protected and habitually given whatever he wanted, would develop "entitlement mentality" and would always put himself first. He would be ignorant of his parent's efforts. When he starts work, he assumes that every person must listen to him, and when he becomes a manager, he would never know the sufferings of his employees and would always blame others. For this kind of people, who may be good academically, may be successful for a while, but eventually would not feel sense of achievement. He will grumble and be full of hatred and fight for more. If we are this kind of protective parents, are we really showing love or are we destroying the kid instead?*

You can let your kid live in a big house, eat a good meal, learn piano, watch a big screen TV. But when you are cutting grass, please let them experience it. After a meal, let them wash their plates and bowls together with their brothers and sisters. It is not because you do not have money to hire a maid, but it is because you want to love them in a right way. You want them to understand, no matter how rich their parents are, one day their hair will grow gray, same as the mother of that young person. The most important thing is your kid learns how to appreciate the effort and experience the difficulty and learns the ability to work with others to get things done.
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Watch grandpa's gait for longevity clues

Posted: 05 January 2011

WASHINGTON - If you want to know how long grandpa is going to live, check his pace of walking.

A report appearing in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association found a strong correlation between walking speed and expected survival rates for persons over 65.

The analysis from nine studies between 1986 and 2000 showed faster walking speed among older adults was associated with increased length of survival.

The average gait speed of the 34,485 participants was 0.92 meters (three feet) per second. But analyzing results over periods from six to 21 years, the University of Pittsburgh researchers found the faster ones lived longer.

"Walking requires energy, movement control, and support and places demands on multiple organ systems, including the heart, lungs, circulatory, nervous, and musculoskeletal systems," the researchers wrote. "Slowing gait may reflect both damaged systems and a high energy cost of walking."

All studies had participants walk at their usual pace and from a standing start. The walk distance varied from eight feet (2.4 meters) to six meters (19 feet).

"Predicted years of remaining life for each sex and age increased as gait speed increased," the researchers said.

"Gait speeds of 1.0 meter (3.3 feet) per second or higher consistently demonstrated survival that was longer than expected by age and sex alone. In this older adult population the relationship of gait speed with remaining years of life was consistent across age groups."

The researchers found that gait speed was associated with differences in the probability of survival at all ages in both sexes, but was especially notable after age 75.

"The data provided herein are intended to aid clinicians, investigators, and health system planners who seek simple indicators of health and survival in older adults," said researchers headed by Pittsburgh's Stephanie Studenski.

"Gait speed has potential to be implemented in practice, using a stop watch and a four-meter (13 feet) course.... Gait speed may be a simple and accessible indicator of the health of the older person."

In an editorial accompanying the report, Matteo Cesari of the Universita Campus Bio-Medico, Rome, said that because no evidence definitively supports the hypothesis that gait speed improvements are associated with better health-related outcomes, gait speed should not be considered as a primary target for interventions at present.

"It represents a global marker of health status, and an optimal secondary and complementary outcome to support research findings, clinical decisions, or both aimed at modifying more pragmatic end points," he wrote.

"Future research will be needed to determine whether gait speed has the potential to change the way in which a patient is defined as geriatric."

- AFP/rl

Taken from; source article is below:
Watch grandpa's gait for longevity clues

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