KOMU.com https://www.komu.com/ KOMU.com A Brighter Tomorrow A Brighter Tomorrow en-us Copyright 2020, KOMU.com. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Fri, 21 Feb 2020 HH:02:ss GMT Synapse CMS 10 KOMU.com https://www.komu.com/ 144 25 Firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty, study reveals https://www.komu.com/news/firefighters-are-more-likely-to-die-by-suicide-than-in-the-line-of-duty-study-reveals/ https://www.komu.com/news/firefighters-are-more-likely-to-die-by-suicide-than-in-the-line-of-duty-study-reveals/ A Brighter Tomorrow Thu, 20 Feb 2020 3:48:57 PM Christine Morton, KY3 Firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty, study reveals

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. –  Firefighters are more likely to die by suicide, than in the line of duty, according to a new study from the Ruderman Foundation

The life of a firefighter is never the same.

"You can be sitting in the station doing your normal daily duties and in two minutes you can be deep in a house that's on fire," said Scott Guccione

Scott Guccione is a firefighter with the Springfield Fire Department. He has been helping his community for nearly 15 years.

"I love to come to work," said Guccione.

Guccione says the stress of the job can take a toll on a person, he says every bad call they go to can stay with that person forever. Guccione says there have been close calls with firefighters attempting suicide, including one they have lost.

This is a brotherhood when one of us is hurting, we all hurt, said Guccione

"For first responders, they are repeatedly exposed to the trauma and stress like you said the people on the worst days of their lives," said Rachel Hudson.

Rachel Hudson works for Burrell Health, working hand in hand with first responders.

"I talked to several who have reported flashbacks and nightmares, being something in and an increase in alcohol," said Hudson.

Guccione says the fire department does have a peer support team people can turn to.

Both Guccione and Hudson say asking for help is not a sign of weakness.

"Without the help of our coworkers, the help of our peers, a family that helps us talk, work through it, get it out, it would be a lot worse," said Guccione.

"Seeing another firefighter, another first responder share is very powerful and can really open up that conversation where they realize they are not alone and there is nothing to be ashamed of," said Hudson.

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Active shooter drills raising concern among parents https://www.komu.com/news/active-shooter-drills-raising-concern-among-parents/ https://www.komu.com/news/active-shooter-drills-raising-concern-among-parents/ A Brighter Tomorrow Thu, 20 Feb 2020 3:11:55 PM Hope Beitchman, KOMU 8 Producer Active shooter drills raising concern among parents

A new report shows "active shooter drills" might be doing more harm than good. Today, 95% of schools participate in drills that are traumatizing students. 

Cheryl knew something was wrong last year when her 5-year-old daughter Ramona came home from kindergarten. She had a drawing in her backpack that was much different than the rainbows and unicorns she usually sketches. 

"And she wrote in her 5-year-old scrawl across the top, 'This girl looks like she's going to die," said Cheryl.

Cheryl said this was the first time she heard about the lockdown drill where they had to hide under their desks. 

"And she cried some more and paused and then said, 'And is this because a bad person with a gun is gonna come and shoot at me in my classroom?" Cheryl said.

Her concerns are echoed by a new report published by the nation's two largest teachers unions and the gun-control advocacy group, "Everytown for Gun Safety."

They say the drills have limited research supporting their effectiveness. 

"But there is research that shows that they cause depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, worsening school performance. So we have to decide as a country, are we doing more harm than good?" Shannon Watts, founder of "Moms Demand Action for Guns Sense" said. 

High school student Ryan Pascal says her first drill was unnannounced, which created confusion among classmates. 

"I think that was probably the scariest part. Just the not knowing what was happening," Ryan said. 

Ryan believes the school should inform students before conducting a drill. 

"There should never be an instance where a student thinks that their life is in danger when it actually isn't," Ryan said.

The new report recommends schools give families advance notice of any drills. They also say they should avoid life-like simulations. Instead, they believe schools should focus on preventing gun violence by offering mental health programs and educating about safe firearm storage. 

"If we spend our time and attention on these drills, we are taking away our attention and time and efforts into preventing gun violence from happening at schools," Jackie Pascal, Ryan's mom, said. 

However, some school security experts argue these drills are necessary. 

"You know, lives are at stake. So we need to provide them with more options than just to hide." Joe Deedon, president of Sea*Tac Consulting, said. 

Deedon's firm trains students as young as 6th grade how to respond to active shooters. In some scenarios, that includes trying to take down the gunman as a last resort. He says the drills are always announced in advance, and mental health counselors are onsite. 

"If we can save one life in one of these school shootings, then I'd say it's well worth it and well effective," said Deedon. 

However, critics argue drills can go too far. Jackson and Duncan, 11-years-old, say their drills involve people impersonating shooters, rattle classroom doors, and even douse students in fake blood. 

"They sent the staff out to pretend to be an intruder, so they would bang on the doors," Jackson said. 

Their mom, Mia, says it's proof something needs to change. 

"I didn't know about it, and I feel that someone took that right away from me as their parent to protect them. Let's work towards making school a safe environment for our kids again, where they feel secure," Jackson said. 

Many states require active shooter drills in school, but there are no national standards for what they should encompass.

Meanwhile, studies show that in most school shootings, the gunman is a student or former student, meaning they've probably been through these drills and know what to expect.

Experts say your child is more likely to be a victim of gun violence on the street, or in their own home, than in their school.

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Equine therapy for a healthy mind and heart https://www.komu.com/news/equine-therapy-for-a-healthy-mind-and-heart/ https://www.komu.com/news/equine-therapy-for-a-healthy-mind-and-heart/ A Brighter Tomorrow Wed, 19 Feb 2020 9:20:54 AM Hope Beitchman, KOMU 8 Producer Equine therapy for a healthy mind and heart

Loxahatchee, FL – According to the national institute of mental health, nearly one in five people in the United States live with mental illness. 

One organization in Florida is using horse therapy to help keep minds and hearts healthy. Patrick McNamara goes to the Dovecot Farm in Loxahatchee Groves before heading into the office. McNamara is the president and CEO of Palm Health Foundation; for him, it is a time for them to step away from his busy and stressful lives for self-care, by petting and talking to the horses. 

"Studies have shown that most of us do not cope well with workplace stress. And that there are many different things that employers can do to improve brain health of their employees," said Patrick McNamara.

The Palm Health Foundation is hoping business leaders will pass on to their employees what they have learned at the farm. 

"If we are going to encourage more of a culture of health and more of a culture of brain health within the work place, it starts from the top," said McNamara. 

Sarah Palmer, the owner of Dovecot Farms, says one of the goals of the farm is learning to have compassion for others. 

"Learning better relationship skills social skills, all of these components can be achieved by working with horses. And by doing heart-based breathing techniques," said Palmer.

The Palm Health Foundation has also made a wellness kit for participants.

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A Brighter Tomorrow - Addiction https://www.komu.com/news/a-brighter-tomorrow-addiction/ https://www.komu.com/news/a-brighter-tomorrow-addiction/ A Brighter Tomorrow Tue, 18 Feb 2020 6:22:56 AM A Brighter Tomorrow - Addiction

Addiction is a brain disease manifested by compulsive substance despite harmful consequences. People with addiction, also known as severe substance use disorder, have an intense focus on using certain substances such as alcohol or drugs, to the point where it takes over their life.

People with addictive disorders may be aware of it, but are unable to stop even if they want to. Addiction may cause additional health problems and even premature death. Addiction also has an increased likelihood of being accompanied by mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety.

Treatment options are available, and people can recover from addiction. Treatment may include hospitalization, sober houses, and outpatient programs.

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Decline in mental health among college students https://www.komu.com/news/decline-in-mental-health-among-college-students/ https://www.komu.com/news/decline-in-mental-health-among-college-students/ A Brighter Tomorrow Mon, 17 Feb 2020 7:45:39 PM Hope Beitchman, KOMU 8 Producer Decline in mental health among college students

A new study shows a substantial number of young adults are starting college feeling depressed or anxious.

The study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology shows about a third of first-year college students worldwide say they feel anxious, feel depressed or have some other kind of mood disorder. Depression and anxiety were most common, as well as panic issues.

Researchers at Columbia University analyzed data from 14,000 first-year university students around the world.

Other studies found only about 15 percent of students seek out services at campus counseling centers.




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Keeping your teen moving may reduce risk of depression https://www.komu.com/news/keeping-your-teen-moving-may-reduce-risk-of-depression/ https://www.komu.com/news/keeping-your-teen-moving-may-reduce-risk-of-depression/ A Brighter Tomorrow Fri, 14 Feb 2020 11:46:11 AM Sandee LaMotte, CNN Keeping your teen moving may reduce risk of depression

(CNN) -- Science shows moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise is good for us -- it improves sleep; lowers blood pressure; protects against heart disease, diabetes and cancer; reduces stress; boosts mood; and fights anxiety and depression.

It's especially important in adolescence, where the first signs of depression often begin, studies show. But unless your child is an athlete, it can be tough to wean them away from social media and the ever-present screen to swim laps or go for a blood-pumping jog.

A new study has some good news: even light exercise may help protect children against developing depression.

The study, published Tuesday in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, found that 60 minutes of simple movement each day at age 12 was linked to an average 10% reduction in depression at age 18. The types of movement ranged from running and biking to walking, doing chores, painting or playing an instrument.

"It's not just more intense forms of activity that are good for our mental health," Aaron Kandola, a PhD student in psychiatry at University College London and lead author of the study, said in a statement.

"A lot of initiatives promote exercise in young people, but our findings suggest that light activity should be given more attention as well," senior author Dr. Joseph Hayes, a psychiatrist and clinical research consultant at University College London, said in a statement.

"Schools could integrate light activity into their pupils' days, such as with standing or active lessons," Hayes said. "It doesn't require much effort and it's easy to fit into the daily routines of most young people."

Long-term results

The study used information from the University of Bristol's Children of the '90s study, which has been following 14,500 women and their children for 30 years, from pregnancy onward.

As part of this, 4,257 adolescents wore instruments to track their movements at ages 12, 14 and 16 over a three-day period. For at least 10 hours each day, accelerometers recorded whether the child moved or was sedentary. The machines provided a better method of tracking than prior studies, which relied on self-reporting, researchers said.

"Worryingly, the amount of time that young people spend inactive has been steadily rising for years, but there has been a surprising lack of high quality research into how this could affect mental health," Kandola said.

Sedentary behavior increased as the children grew older, the study found, with depression scores highest among the least active. Each additional hour of sitting at age 12 was linked to an 11% increase in depression scores at age 18, based on a clinical questionnaire which measures depressive symptoms and their severity on a spectrum.

At age 14, each additional hour of being inactive raised depressive scores by 8%, while 16-year-olds had an increased score of 10.5%, the study found. The study only looked at depression, not anxiety disorders.

Researchers adjusted their analysis to account for those with depression at the beginning of the study as well as socioeconomic status, parental history and the like, which are all linked to mental health. While the study is only an association and can't prove a relationship between movement and depression, "our study suggests that these two trends may be linked," Kandola said.

In fact, the data "suggested that a 2 [hour] reduction in daily sedentary behavior between the ages of 12 and 16 years old was associated with a 16 [to] 22% reduction in depression scores by age 18," the study said.

Rates of adolescent mental disorders on rise

According to the World Health Organization, depression is one of the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents around the world, accounting for "16% of the global burden of disease and injury in people aged 10 to 19 years."

In the United States, rates of teen depression are on the rise. A new study to be published in March found rates of major depressive episodes in the last year among teens increased 52% between 2005 and 2017. The study analyzed data from the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health and found rates rose from 8.7% to 13.2% over that time span.

A depressive episode is defined by a list of symptoms that include feeling sad, hopeless, frustrated, anxious or worthless for at least two weeks.

That number fits with a 2017 analysis by the US National Institute of Mental Health, which found 13.3% of American teens aged 12 to 17 have suffered at least one major depressive episode over the last 12 months. That's more than three million children, mostly girls. Girls are almost three times as likely to suffer depressive episodes, the report said.

The trend is worrisome, experts say, especially since only 50% of depressed teens are diagnosed before adulthood and suicide is on the rise. A study last year found that the numbers of children and teens with suicidal thoughts who went to emergency rooms in the US doubled between 2007 and 2015.

The National Institute of Mental Health is currently funding three separate research projects to study the depressed teenage brain and evaluate treatments.

What to look for

For parents, it might be hard to distinguish between normal teen angst and depression. Symptoms include fatigue, irritability, odd sleeping patterns, a wish to be left alone and a lack of interest in school and daily activities, among others.

In 2016, the US Preventive Services Task Force said that all primary care doctors, such as pediatricians and family physicians, should routinely screen teens over age 12 for signs of depression. One of the most used tests is called the PHQ, or patient health questionnaire.

The questions cover mood, sleep, energy, concentration and suicidal thoughts, and asks the teen to rate the severity of their symptoms from "not at all" to "nearly every day."

Parents should be able to access the test via their pediatrician, as the American Academy of Pediatrics updated their guidelines in 2018, encouraging all pediatricians to screen teens for depression, and depending on the severity of the results, refer teens for treatment. The US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also provides a national hotline in English and Spanish that teens and parents can call: 1-800-662-4357(HELP).

In the UK, parents can call 0808-802-05544, a hotline run by YoungMinds, a non-profit group that provides resources on depression for both teens and parents.

Parents, say experts, can help their depressed child by being supportive and validating their feelings. Rather than being critical, says the US nonprofit Child Mind Institute, try to notice positive behaviors.

For example, "Instead of saying, 'Honey, you should really get up and do something. How about calling an old friend?' you might say, 'I'm going to the mall to do an errand. Let me know if you want to come with me, and maybe we can get lunch together,'" the institute suggests.

And if you can't break through the first time you try to connect to your teen, says YoungMinds, keep trying on another day. But don't ignore your teen's feelings hoping they will go away.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness in the US has these tips as well:

  1. Watch for warning signs: low self-esteem, withdrawal, lack of energy and interest, lower test scores at school, fatigue and suicidal thoughts. If seen, get your child professional help.
  2. Spend quality time with your child and encourage "open and honest" conversations in which you actively listen to your child.
  3. Encourage regular exercise, healthy eating habits and regular, quality sleep.
  4. Encourage connections to others through family gatherings, social events, sleepovers and clubs and activities at school.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Snapchat launches mental health tool https://www.komu.com/news/snapchat-launches-mental-health-tool/ https://www.komu.com/news/snapchat-launches-mental-health-tool/ A Brighter Tomorrow Thu, 13 Feb 2020 8:00:27 AM Victoria Alaniz, KOMU 8 Digital Producer Snapchat launches mental health tool

Snapchat is checking in with its users' mental health with its newest update.

The app, popular with users ranging from 13 to 24 year olds, will introduce a new tool called: “Here for you.”

The new feature will provide safety resources from local mental health experts when users search for sensitive topics like anxiety, depression, suicide and bullying.

Snapchat, which has one of the youngest audiences of any social media platform, is the latest app to join the growing trend. 

Last year, Instagram launched its “restrict” mode, allowing users to block abusive or harassing comments.

A Brighter Tomorrow, KOMU 8 News' new initiative, will focus on lessening the stigma around mental illnesses. The series will tackle topics like addiction, anxiety and PTSD. 

Join the conversation by staying updated with our coverage both online and on air. 

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Children may be more likely to attempt suicide if their parents use opioids https://www.komu.com/news/children-may-be-more-likely-to-attempt-suicide-if-their-parents-use-opioids/ https://www.komu.com/news/children-may-be-more-likely-to-attempt-suicide-if-their-parents-use-opioids/ A Brighter Tomorrow Tue, 11 Feb 2020 12:46:25 PM Hope Beitchman, KOMU 8 Producer Children may be more likely to attempt suicide if their parents use opioids

A joint study conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh shows children may be more likely to attempt suicide if their parents use opioids. 

Researchers studied data involving more than 240,000 parents over six years. While the percentage of kids who attempted suicide was small, the results showed this number doubled if their parents used opioids.

The increased risk remained even after accounting for numerous factors, including depression and drug use in both the child and parent. 

The scientists are calling for improved treatment for the parents who use opioids as well as mental health screenings for their children. Half of the parents had filled opioid prescriptions for at least a year. 

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Mother Nature may be good for your mental health https://www.komu.com/news/mother-nature-may-be-good-for-your-mental-health/ https://www.komu.com/news/mother-nature-may-be-good-for-your-mental-health/ A Brighter Tomorrow Tue, 11 Feb 2020 12:36:33 PM Hope Beitchman, KOMU 8 Producer Mother Nature may be good for your mental health

Mother Nature can be good for your mental health, according to research from the University of Wollongong in South Wales.

Australian researchers studied data from 47,000 adults living in cities. The results showed the more exposure a person had to trees, the less likely there were to report psychological distress. However, being exposed to only grass resulted in higher psychological distress. 

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New study linked birth control to depression in teens https://www.komu.com/news/new-study-linked-birth-control-to-depression-in-teens/ https://www.komu.com/news/new-study-linked-birth-control-to-depression-in-teens/ A Brighter Tomorrow Tue, 11 Feb 2020 12:28:54 PM Hope Beitchman, KOMU 8 Producer New study linked birth control to depression in teens

 A new study from the University of British Columbia in Canada suggests teen birth control use may be linked to depression in adulthood. 

Canadian researchers studied survey data from over 1,200 women in the United States. Women who took birth control pills as teens were more likely to develop depression as adults compared to women who started taking oral contraception as adults or who never used them. 

The scientists say the study did not prove the pills caused depression, only that there was an association between the two. 

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New suicide hotline number to have three digits like 911 https://www.komu.com/news/new-suicide-hotline-number-to-have-three-digits-like-911/ https://www.komu.com/news/new-suicide-hotline-number-to-have-three-digits-like-911/ A Brighter Tomorrow Tue, 11 Feb 2020 12:19:51 PM The Associated Press New suicide hotline number to have three digits like 911

Federal regulators are setting up a new three-digit number to reach a suicide prevention hotline in order to make it easier to seek help and reduce the stigma associated with mental health.

Once it's implemented, people will just need to dial 988 to seek help, similar to calling 911 for emergencies or 311 for city services. Currently, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline uses a 10-digit number, 800-273-TALK (8255). Callers are routed to one of 163 crisis centers, where counselors answered 2.2 million calls last year.

"The three-digit number is really going to be a breakthrough in terms of reaching people in a crisis," said Dwight Holton, CEO of Lines for Life, a suicide prevention nonprofit. "No one is embarrassed to call 911 for a fire or an emergency. No one should be embarrassed to call 988 for a mental health emergency."

A law last year required the Federal Communications Commission to study assigning a three-digit number for suicide prevention. The FCC said in a report that there is overwhelming support for a three-digit number because it would be easier for distressed people to get help.

Thursday's vote starts the months-long process to make that happen. The next step is a comment period before the FCC moves to an order.

The government's action comes as suicide rates have increased across the U.S. over the past two decades, and dramatically so — by more than 30% — in half of U.S. states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were 45,000 deaths in 2016, the latest year for which figures were available. The report noted that from 1999 to 2016, suicide increased in every state except Nevada. It also noted that suicide rates are higher with at-risk populations, including veterans and the LGBTQ community.

"More than 20 veterans die by suicide every day and more than half a million LGBTQ youth will attempt suicide this year alone," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said. "A shorter, simpler suicide hotline number could be a game-changer."

The FCC determined that it would be better to have a new number that's only for the hotline, rather than one that's currently used for other purposes, such as 911. Advocates say that having a dedicated number, along with a message that mental health is of equivalent importance as medical emergencies, could help reduce the stigma of calling the number

The new, shorter number would likely lead to more calls, which in turn would mean more expenses for crisis centers already struggling to keep up. If the number of calls to the hotline doubled, centers would need an extra $50 million a year to handle the increase, the FCC said, citing the federal agency that funds the hotline, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Holton said that while the increase in calls might cost more, it saves money in the long run because more people will be calling 988 instead of 911, which involves sending first responders and costs thousands of dollars.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, said people making calls because of suicidal thoughts can often be helped just by talking them through it, without needing to send a first responder.

Holton added that having first responders present doesn't always help people in crisis because they aren't necessarily trained to deal with mental health issues.

Although 988 won't be available by text, there are other texting services available. Lines for Life offers a text service by texting 273TALK to 839863.

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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President Trump speaks at mental health summit https://www.komu.com/news/president-trump-speaks-at-mental-health-summit/ https://www.komu.com/news/president-trump-speaks-at-mental-health-summit/ A Brighter Tomorrow Tue, 11 Feb 2020 12:10:11 PM Hope Beitchman, KOMU 8 Producer President Trump speaks at mental health summit

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The White House hosted a summit on transforming mental health on December 19. President Trump promoted a new funding measure at the meeting. It would provide approximately four billion dollars for mental health programs, a 328-million dollar increase. 

 The president said his administration is focusing on evidence-based programs, early detection, and the opioid epidemic. The summit focused on combating homelessness, violence, and substance abuse. 

 President Trump spoke about the dwindling number of facilities at the meeting. "When I was growing up in Queens in New York we had a number of mental institutions and I'd look and I'd see these big buildings and then all of a sudden you go and you don't see them anymore and you say what happened to all of those beds what happened to all of that work and where are those people and in many cases those people are living on the streets," said President Trump.

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New study shows smoking may be bad for your mental well-being https://www.komu.com/news/new-study-shows-smoking-may-be-bad-for-your-mental-well-being/ https://www.komu.com/news/new-study-shows-smoking-may-be-bad-for-your-mental-well-being/ A Brighter Tomorrow Mon, 10 Feb 2020 10:29:11 PM Hope Beitchman, KOMU 8 Producer New study shows smoking may be bad for your mental well-being

JERUSALEM – A new study published in PLOS ONE suggests that smoking may be bad for your mental well-being. Israeli researchers from Hebrew University of Jerusalem surveyed more than 2,000 college students. They found those who smoke had double, and sometimes triple, the rates of clinical depression compared to non-smoking peers.

The smokers were also more likely to have symptoms of depression. 
The link was evident regardless of the students' economic or socio-political backgrounds. 

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Too much screen time may be bad for your teen's mental health https://www.komu.com/news/too-much-screen-time-may-be-bad-for-your-teen-s-mental-health/ https://www.komu.com/news/too-much-screen-time-may-be-bad-for-your-teen-s-mental-health/ A Brighter Tomorrow Mon, 10 Feb 2020 10:14:49 PM Hope Beitchman, KOMU 8 Producer Too much screen time may be bad for your teen's mental health

A new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal shows too much time spent on smartphones or social media may be bad for teens’ mental health.
Canadian researchers from The Hospital for Sick Children, or SickKids, reviewed numerous studies involving teenagers and their use of smartphones. They found an association between excessive phone and social media use with mental distress and suicidal thoughts. The scientists say while there is a possible link, they cannot say one causes the other. The res
Researchers encourage parents to discuss appropriate phone use with their children. They also suggest parents try and be a good role model by limiting their own screen time. 

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Dozens attend first ever rage yoga class, which includes cursing and alcohol https://www.komu.com/news/dozens-attend-first-ever-rage-yoga-class-which-includes-cursing-and-alcohol/ https://www.komu.com/news/dozens-attend-first-ever-rage-yoga-class-which-includes-cursing-and-alcohol/ A Brighter Tomorrow Mon, 10 Feb 2020 1:38:25 PM Megan Dillard Dozens attend first ever rage yoga class, which includes cursing and alcohol

KANSAS CITY, MO (WDAF) -- Yoga is about finding your center. There's a new trend to track down tranquility in the metro, but it’s a more alternative twist to the usually peaceful exercise.

Amanda Kauffman strolled into the back room at Cinder Block Brewery Monday night with a beer in one hand and a yoga mat in the other. She was there to teach the first ever rage yoga class in Kansas City.

“It’s a little bit different than your traditional yoga," she said. "You have dim lights, you have soft music. This is the complete opposite. It’s yoga with an attitude basically.”

She started practicing yoga seven years ago, but two years back, she came across a new technique she said is more her style.

“A lot of people stay away from yoga because they think, 'Oh well, you know, I’m not good enough for that, or what are people going to think about my poses,'" she said. "And in here, you can just be yourself.”

Kauffman now teaches rage yoga.

“The technique is different. Instead of calming your mind, you’re bringing everything out instead," she said. "Instead of just trying to push it out quietly, you’re going to push it out, and it’s going to be loud!”

Monday night’s class participants each got a beer that they drank throughout their time on the mat, and traditional hand motions and positions were replaced with gestures and sounds you’d more likely see at a rock concert.

“I’ve never done rage yoga before," attendee Hillary Luppino said. "I had recently seen something online about it, and then I saw that it was available here, so I just jumped on the opportunity.”

She appreciated the alcohol twist, but also “the idea of also kind of incorporating the stress release of like yelling or screaming or flipping somebody off, you know what I mean?”

Kauffman described the scene before the 7 p.m. class began.

“We’ll be listening to loud explicit music, we will be cussing, using profanity, yelling, screaming, just letting all the negative energy out tonight. That’s the goal," she said.

The instructor said mental health is as critical as physical maintenance, and the combination of these two things appealed to her.

“In my house, I practice yoga to rock music, to metal music, to loud music," Kauffman said. "That’s just what I enjoy. So when I saw the teacher training program for rage yoga, it spoke to me. It’s the perfect combination of anyone who’s into yoga and into an alternative lifestyle as well.”

The rage yoga practice began in Canada, and there have been two instructor training courses so far. The next class here in the metro is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 1 at Anytime Fitness in Excelsior Springs.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Veteran hangs 22 dog tags on tree every day for mental health awareness https://www.komu.com/news/veteran-hangs-22-dog-tags-on-tree-every-day-for-mental-health-awareness/ https://www.komu.com/news/veteran-hangs-22-dog-tags-on-tree-every-day-for-mental-health-awareness/ A Brighter Tomorrow Mon, 10 Feb 2020 1:35:43 PM Camryn Justice Veteran hangs 22 dog tags on tree every day for mental health awareness

AKRON, Ohio (WEWS) -- Every day an estimated 22 American veterans commit suicide, an issue Summit County is working to bring awareness to with a Witness Tree, according to an article by News 5 media partner Akron Beacon Journal.

On Friday, just outside the Summit County Courthouse, 22 dog tags were placed on the ceremonial tree to represent the veterans who have taken their own lives, the article said.

U.S. Army veteran John Schluep, who is the founder of Warriors’ Journey Home, will hang the dog tags each day. His nonprofit agency provides information and support for veterans, their families and the community as they transition to life back home after deployment, according to the article.

To raise awareness for veterans' mental health, the ceremony of hanging the 22 dog tags on the tree will be repeated every day through Nov. 11, Veterans Day. The ceremony will take place each day at 8 a.m., the article said.

The Witness Tree is located in the park-area at 209 S. High St. in downtown Akron.

There are four other Witness Tree locations in Northeast Ohio. For the schedule of the ceremonies and more information, click here.

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Inmates with mental health illnesses get a chance at treatment https://www.komu.com/news/inmates-with-mental-health-illnesses-get-a-chance-at-treatment/ https://www.komu.com/news/inmates-with-mental-health-illnesses-get-a-chance-at-treatment/ A Brighter Tomorrow Mon, 10 Feb 2020 1:34:02 PM Giang Nguyen Inmates with mental health illnesses get a chance at treatment

DAVENPORT, Iowa (WQAD) -- A Scott County program taking people at the Scott County jail with mental illnesses out of jail and into treatment has saved taxpayers more than half a million dollars since its inception.

Al Ramsey was one of the Scott County Mental Health Court's first clients when the court was established in 2016.

"My first official charge was conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine," he told News 8. "Going into jail I was nervous, scared, I faced 30 years in prison. That’s serious."

Ramsey was first booked into the Scott County Jail four years ago. A rehabilitation program at the jail helped him get clean initially, but it was tough.

"It’s really hard. I been an addict sicne I’ve been 8 years old. I'm 34 now. That’s a long time. It takes a lot to try to break those old habits.

A diagnosis of a schizoaffective disorder compounded his struggles.

"My probation officers felt like she couldn’t’ help me like she needed to. So she recommended mental health court."

The Scott County Mental Health Court had just begun operating its diversion program years ago, pooling resources across the county to help reduce recidivism, alleviate the overcrowding of the county jail with mental health patients, and reduce costs.

A team consisting of Judge Mark Smith, attorneys, psychologists, jail and probation staff meet weekly to go over each participants' progress and needs. Thus far, 36 individuals have been diverted from the jail and 13, including Al Ramsey, are still currently in the program.

"We’ll monitor medication, we'll monitor that they're going to treatment, whether it's substance abuse treatment, counseling, therapy groups, whatever is needed for that client, so that they can stay on the road to recovery and stay out of the county jails."

Ramsey said through the program, he's learned how to cook, how to bargain hunt, how to shop, in short, life skills that he needed to survive and thrive.

The court has saved taxpayers $594,000 halfway through its third year by diverting inmates with severe mental health illnesses from the jail. The program is currently financially limited to serve 15 clients, with funding in the first three years provided by Genesis Philantrophy and the Eastern Iowa Mental Health Region.

The program seeks buy-in from the victims in the crimes committed, before an inmate with a chronic mental health illness can participate.

With more than 300 inmates currently housed at the jail, here, "18 to 19 percent of our population deal with a mental health issue," said Dr. Paul Elias, program coordinator at the Scott County Jail.

Housing a healthy inmate at the Scott County jail costs $30 a day. Elias added that at leaset 45 inmates have to be housed outside the county at a cost of $50-60 a day, because they require seperation from the rest of the inmates. The county also bears the heatlh care cost, where as invididuals diverted from the program can access Medicaid and insurance money.

"If officers have to spend extra time dealing with somebody with mental illness, that keeps them from dealing with ins and outs of the daily routine at the jail," he said.

The program is not just saving money, Ramsey said.

"It saved my life."

He now serves as a peer mentor helping others who are struggling with addiction. He is on track to graduate from the Mental Health Court in two weeks.

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Colleges swamped by students mental health needs, but services vary greatly https://www.komu.com/news/colleges-swamped-by-students-mental-health-needs-but-services-vary-greatly/ https://www.komu.com/news/colleges-swamped-by-students-mental-health-needs-but-services-vary-greatly/ A Brighter Tomorrow Mon, 10 Feb 2020 1:31:52 PM Kathleen Megan Colleges swamped by students mental health needs, but services vary greatly

Connecticut (Hartford Business) -- At Connecticut College, almost a third of students get mental health services in a given year and half of all students get that help at some point before they graduate. At Trinity College, close to half of the student body comes into the counseling center in a given year.

By contrast, at Manchester Community College, very few mental health services are available.

“There’s a very large discrepancy between the haves and the have-nots in our state,” said Janet Spoltore, director of student counseling and health services at Connecticut College.

Spoltore is a member of the legislative task force charged with making recommendations on the prevention and treatment of mental health ailments on college and university campuses in the state.

The task force, which met recently for the first time, will identify gaps in mental health services on campuses and submit recommendations to the legislature’s higher education committee by early February.

Joseph DiChristina, dean of campus life and vice president for student affairs at Trinity College, said the task force will be looking at whether there is a “baseline” that could be recommended to colleges in terms of services and prevention.

It was clear from the first meeting of the group, which includes representatives from the state’s public and private institutions as well as clinicians from the community, that not only do services vary significantly from campus to campus, but demand for those services has gone way up in recent years.

DiChristina said a decade ago about a quarter of Trinity students would obtain mental health services during a typical year, compared to almost twice that now at 45%. At Quinnipiac University, the percentage of students getting mental health services was up 42% this fall, compared to last fall.

“You talk to any of the private colleges or the state [universities] right at this particular moment, they are absolutely swamped in terms of seeing students,” said Spoltore. “We typically see students every other week. There’s no way to see students weekly, just no way, and we have well-staffed colleges.”

Nicholas Pinkerton, director of university counseling services at Southern Connecticut State University, said, “There’s no single issue that’s bigger or more important to address than this issue of rising demand and how to meet that demand.

“I think everyone is invested in trying to support out students. The reality is what we provide students is time. Forty-five to fifty minutes of undivided personal time is something that is very difficult to scale, so the question is how many staff do you need to facilitate that?”

Pinkerton said he thinks this is partly because of the outreach that SCSU and other colleges do even before students arrive freshman year to inform them about available services, but also because of “generational trends” that have led to students being “more willing to talk about their concerns.”

Joseph Navarra, who coordinates services for students with disabilities at Manchester Community College, said the community colleges, in contrast, offer very little in the way of mental health services.

“Most of the community colleges don’t have clinical support on their campuses,” he said. He’s been talking to local community health agencies about having a clinician on campus a couple of times a week.

“That would be a game changer for us but still, compared to the amount of students who need support, it’s a drop in the bucket,” Navarra said.

Navarra said that every year faculty identify students who appear to be suffering or troubled, but there is little on campus to help them. If a student is in crisis, however, he said several staff members will respond and will call 911 or a mobile crisis team if needed.

“It would be great if we had something more comprehensive on campus,” Navarra said. “I see it also as a retention issue. It’s no secret that community colleges don’t do great at retention. Oftentimes, it’s not the academics, it’s the other stuff going on in students’ complicated lives and so if we can address mental health needs, not only will they feel better but they’ll perform better in school.”

DiChristina said he thinks the demand for services has gone up partly because students are getting mental health treatment before they graduate high school, so there’s an expectation that this will continue in college.

Spoltore said it’s important to not make an assumption that the increased number of students seeking help means there is more mental illness among students.

“There’s a lot of literature to suggest that anxiety and depression are increasing,” she said. “The other issues and diagnoses stay pretty stable, including high risk behaviors. What’s driving these numbers to the demand that we now have is the result of a lot of good work at the universities and colleges in providing prevention and outreach, so that people know when to refer people over, screening so that students recognize that they need to come in.”

Pinkerton drew a distinction between mental health and mental illness, saying that “more and more students are getting the message that taking care of your mental health is important and they are reaching out for support.”

Task force members also talked about the possibility of reaching out to community mental health agencies to treat students, but Spoltore said it isn’t easy to find that help.

“There aren’t too many accepting clients quickly, so that if I try to find psychiatrist with a certain specialization, there are none that have any openings,” she said. “There are none that take anybody. There’s just not enough service out there.”

Pinkerton said he’s found the biggest obstacles in referring students out to community services are transportation, insurance and convenience.

“The reality is the number of students who are given a warm send-off to a community provider who actually then follow through and continue with that provider are very, very low,” Pinkerton said, “and so the reality is that the counseling centers are in a position where we have to define our scope of practice. We have to be realistic about what we can provide and what we can’t.”

If a student needs help beyond what the counseling center can provide, Pinkerton said, “then we need to help out, [but] as the saying goes ‘you can lead a horse to water.’ It becomes a real challenge.”

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Five ways to improve your mental health in 2020 https://www.komu.com/news/five-ways-to-improve-your-mental-health-in-2020/ https://www.komu.com/news/five-ways-to-improve-your-mental-health-in-2020/ A Brighter Tomorrow Mon, 10 Feb 2020 1:27:49 PM Sandee LaMotte, CNN Five ways to improve your mental health in 2020

(CNN) -- It's a difficult birth for this new decade. The year 2020 kicks off under the shadow of divisive politics, international security threats, a spate of hate crimes, and a planet in environmental peril, plus all the reasons we're stressed individually: work, health problems, life changes and more.

No wonder so many of us are anxious or depressed.

But you can take scientifically validated steps to improve your mental outlook, and -- because the mind and body are entwined -- these behaviors also will improve your overall health.

1. Practice optimism

The studies are positive: Looking on the bright side of life really is good for you. Optimists have a 35% less chance of having a heart attack or stroke, are more likely to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly, have stronger immune systems; and even live longer. In fact, a 2019 study found people with the most positive outlook had the greatest odds of living to 85 or beyond.

Now, let's get real: Being an optimist doesn't mean you ignore the stress of daily life. Who can do that? It simply means that when crummy things happen, you don't blame yourself unnecessarily. If you face a challenge or obstacle, you're more likely to see it as temporary or even positive, allowing you to learn and grow.

Optimists also believe they have control over their fate and can create opportunities for good things to happen.

Not a natural optimist? No worries. Science has shown you can train your brain to be more positive. Only about 25% of optimism is programmed by our genes anyway.

"There is research which indicates that optimism can actually be enhanced or nurtured through certain kinds of training," neuroscientist Richard Davidson said. Davidson is the founder and director of the Center for Healthy Minds and has done groundbreaking work on the link between mental attitudes and physical health.

"When these kinds of mental exercises are taught to people, it actually changes the function and the structure of their brain in ways that we think support these kinds of positive qualities," Davidson said. "And that may be key in producing the downstream impact on the body."

According to a meta-analysis of existing studies, using the "Best Possible Self" technique is one of the most effective ways to increase your optimism. It's based on exercises that ask you to imagine yourself with all of your problems solved in a future where all of your life's goals were achieved.

In one study, people who did this for only 15 minutes a week over an eight-week period became more positive and remained that way for nearly six months. What do you have to lose?

2. Start volunteering

A prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi tell us, "It is in giving that we receive."

Turns out he was scientifically right. Studies have shown that putting the well-being of others before our own without expecting anything in return, or what is called being altruistic, stimulates the reward centers of the brain. Those feel-good chemicals flood our system, producing a sort of "helper's high."

There are physical benefits, too: Studies show volunteering minimizes stress and improves depression. It can reduce the risk for cognitive impairment. It can even help us live longer.

Even if you have little time to offer, just the act of giving has been shown to improve our health, possibly by temporarily reducing our sense of pain.

A new study found that people who said they would donate money to help orphans were less sensitive to an electric shock than those who declined to give. In addition, the more helpful people thought their donation would be, the less pain they felt.

Looking for ideas? CNN has a country-by-country list of aid organizations around the world.

3. Be grateful

We heard a lot about the benefits of thankfulness in the last decade, and that is backed by science: Counting our blessings protects us against anxiety and depression and boosts optimism. Need more proof? Middle-schoolers who practiced gratitude exercises had less problem behavior. (Did you read that, parents of adolescents?)

One of the best ways to make thankfulness a part of your life, say experts, is to keep a daily journal. Before you go to bed, jot down any positive experience you had that day, no matter how small.

But you can also do this via the practice of mindfulness, or a purposeful self-regulation of attention to stay in the moment. One of Davidson's favorite mindfulness exercises cultivates gratefulness.

"Simply to bring to mind people that are in our lives from whom we have received some kind of help," Davidson told CNN. "Bring them to mind and appreciate the care and support or whatever it might be that these individuals have provided."

If you do that for one minute each morning and evening, he added, that sense of appreciation can broaden to others in your life and bolster optimism and better mental health.

4. Bolster your social connections

"People who are more socially connected to family, to friends, to community, are happier, they're physically healthier, and they live longer than people who are less well connected," said Harvard psychiatrist Robert Waldinger in his popular TEDx talk.

The proof for this comes from the Harvard Study of Adult Development, which tracked 724 Boston men for more than 75 years and then began following more than 2,000 of their offspring and wives.

"The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period," Waldinger said.

And you don't have to be in a committed relationship or have scores of pals to get this benefit. Instead, it's the quality of the relationship that matters, he said.

"High-conflict marriages, for example, without much affection, turn out to be very bad for our health, perhaps worse than getting divorced," Waldinger said. "And living in the midst of good, warm relationships is protective."

5. Find your purpose

Finding a sense of purpose contributes greatly to well-being and a longer, happier life, experts tell CNN.

University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman, who co-founded the field of positive psychology, says a sense of purpose will come from being part of something bigger than ourselves. He points to religion, family, and social causes as ways to increase meaning in our lives. (See No. 2 on volunteering.)

It doesn't have to be a traditional religion to be effective, according to Lord Richard Layard, one of Britain's most prominent economists and the author of several books on happiness.

In his landmark book, "Happiness: Lessons From a New Science," he says spiritual practices can range from meditation to positive psychology to cognitive therapy.

"If your sole duty is to achieve the best for yourself, life becomes just too stressful, too lonely -- you are set up to fail. Instead, you need to feel you exist for something larger, and that very thought takes off some of the pressure."

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A massive study of 200,000 veterans identifies genetic links to anxiety https://www.komu.com/news/a-massive-study-of-200-000-veterans-identifies-genetic-links-to-anxiety-105068/ https://www.komu.com/news/a-massive-study-of-200-000-veterans-identifies-genetic-links-to-anxiety-105068/ A Brighter Tomorrow Mon, 10 Feb 2020 1:26:35 PM Ryan Prior, CNN A massive study of 200,000 veterans identifies genetic links to anxiety

(CNN) -- A massive genetic study in nearly 200,000 veterans with anxiety is providing new insights into how and why people may be pre-disposed to anxiety issues.

The genome-wide association study was the "largest ever study" looking into genes that could be associated with anxiety, according to Daniel Levey, a postdoctorate associate at the Yale School of Medicine and one of the authors of the study.

The study identified six genetic variants linked to anxiety. Some of the variants associated with anxiety had previously been implicated as risk factors for bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia.

Levey and his team used data from veterans provided by the Million Veteran Program, a national initiative by the Department of Veterans Affairs researching how genes and lifestyle affect the health of more than 800,000 veterans who've participated.

The study was published Tuesday in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Levey's research group focused on 199,611 veterans in the data that had a continuous trait for anxiety based on a diagnostic scale for Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Although anxiety is common across the human condition, Levey said "some people experience it in a way that becomes pathological."

Generalized Anxiety Disorder can manifest often in those who've experienced trauma while waging war far from home and looking at the genetic traits of veterans it affects can help the population as a whole.

They cast a wide net and came up with a few gems

Scientists use genome-wide association studies to examine the entire genetic code of a whole population. They go into the experiment hypothesis-free and see what comes up in a wide and penetrating sweep of the cohort's DNA.

Levey said having a "very large cohort is very effective" and the Veterans Affairs program is "one of the richest resources in the world" for data linking anxiety and genetics.

He noted that the veteran's data bank is valuable because of its racial diversity. Similar large-scale studies like this have been hamstrung by too many participants coming from a similar background, oftentimes only those with European ancestry.

In this most recent study, the researchers found that veterans of European descent had five genes that could be associated with anxiety.

One of the most useful findings was an association between anxiety and a gene named MAD1L1. In previous genome-wide association studies, MAD1L1 had shown indicated vulnerability to several other psychiatric conditions, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

"It keeps coming up over and over again," Levey said.

They also identified a gene connected to estrogen. Levey said that potential estrogen link was important because this veteran cohort was 90% male, and that particular hormone is often associated with women.

For African Americans, the researchers identified a gene associated with intestinal functions that was potentially linked to anxiety.

"That gene variant doesn't exist outside African populations," Levey said.

The goal is to pinpoint more targeted treatments

Results like these could lead to more specific studies on each of the genes identified to determine how exactly they might be linked to anxiety and other psychological disorders. If further scrutiny of the genes reinforces the study's conclusions, that could lead to pharmaceutical research targeting how these genes operate.

Levey said he hoped that the study could lead to even more proactive outcomes, including early genetic testing to determine someone's susceptibility to anxiety. Individuals could then receive therapy to learn positive coping and stress management techniques even before symptoms began to surface, he said.

"We're making a lot of progress in genetics into what causes these conditions and how we might approach treatment," he said.

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