Blog

Is Gratitude Good for Your Health? [greatergood.berkeley.edu]

After 15 years of research, we know that gratitude is a key to psychological well-being. Gratitude can make people happier , improve their relationships , and potentially even counteract depression and suicidal thoughts . But might the benefits of gratitude go beyond that? Could gratitude be good for your physical health, too? While some studies have associated gratitude with a whole slew of benefits—from fewer aches and pains to improved sleep to better cardiovascular health—others have...

Victims of Spousal Abuse are Losing Their Children to Social Services [psmag.com]

Amy, a domestic violence survivor and disabled veteran of the Iraq War, did everything in her power to protect her son. Her abuser—who threw her off a third-floor balcony and nearly ended her life multiple times—is also her son's biological father. In 2012, Amy's abuser, Terrance, kidnapped their four-year-old son from daycare and broke into Amy's rental home in Texas, where he assaulted her. Two weeks after the kidnapping, a stranger dropped Amy's son back off at daycare with a burn on his...

Meet the Muppet Bringing Joy to Syrian Refugees [ozy.com]

Like Sesame Street’s the Merry Monster, Tonton has wild orange hair, and like Elmo, she prefers to speak in the third person. But this pint-size Muppet with the outsize personality, known for being somewhat disorganized and prone to fits of restless curiosity, doesn’t live on Sesame Street. Well, not exactly. She lives in a place called Hikayat Simsim, the Jordanian version of Sesame Street that premiered in 2003, when Tonton was just 4 (she hasn’t aged much). Brought to life by puppeteer...

People are dying because we misunderstand how addicts think [vox.com]

The American opioid epidemic claimed 63,600 lives in 2016 alone. While the public policy challenge is daunting, the problem isn’t that we lack any effective treatment options. The data shows that we could save many lives by expanding medication-assisted treatments and adopting harm reduction policies like needle exchange programs . Yet neither of these policies has been widely embraced. Why? Because these treatments are seen as indulging an addict’s weakness rather than “curing” it.

'Which Kids Do We Care About?': A Conversation with Noor Tagouri [psmag.com]

Last year, 34 sex workers were murdered in the United States—that we know of. There's little accurate data for this multi-billion-dollar industry that exists in the shadows. It's a black-market business where workers are far more likely to face violence than in conventional jobs, but they're also at risk if they call a cop. Yet sex workers continue to ply their trade for money. Hardline critics hold that all prostitution is exploitation, even if the sex worker gives her consent; advocates...

State Policy Guide on Preventing and Healing Childhood Trauma

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children. --Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa Every child needs access to the opportunities that prepare him or her to compete in the changing economies and realities of the 21st century. Unfortunately, for too many children, exposure to violence and traumatic events in the home, school, or community can affect them throughout their entire lives . We are thrilled to release this brand new...

Research Review: Childhood Trauma and its Effects on Mothers in Home Visiting Programs [Prevent Child Abuse America]

Each month Prevent Child Abuse America's Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Dr. Bart Klika, does a quick run-down of emerging research related to child abuse and neglect prevention. In this inaugural installment, Dr. Klika walks through some of the recent research into the effects of childhood trauma and how the lasting effects of this trauma is impacting mothers who participate in home visiting programs. Watch the video here

Social workers, neighbors and teachers help break negative cycles [tucson.com]

Children in troubled families are often destined for troubled lives — unless they get help before their brains become “hard-wired for stress.” That’s what scientist Katie McLaughlin says happens when children endure abuse or neglect, homelessness or hunger. McLaughlin, director of the Stress and Development Lab at the University of Washington , said there are scientifically proven ways to help, but getting those services to children and families is a challenge. To end the cycle, Tucson is...

Summit to focus on addressing childhood trauma [newsok.com]

Oklahoma has one of the highest rates of young children with adverse experiences, such as domestic violence, sexual assault and poverty. Research has shown a connection between those types of adverse experiences and poor health, which might explain why Oklahoma consistently ranks as one of the worst states in a variety of health outcomes, including teen pregnancy, smoking and heart disease. The goal behind a public summit this Wednesday is to not only better understand that correlation but...

Kids Are the New American Alarm (drewschwartz.com)

Our kids have tried to wake us up before In 2014, after Michael Brown was tragically shot and killed in Ferguson, MO, area students were yearning for a constructive outlet to voice concerns. However, for those who were listening, their voices were calling out about more than one tragic incident. The voices were calling about race, yes. Equality, yes. Acceptance and safety, yes. Days after the first protest erupted, I founded a program called Gateway2change . Working with leaders across St.

The Foster Care System Was Unprepared for The Last Drug Epidemic. Let’s Not Repeat History [chronicleofsocialchange.org]

Foster care is an imperfect system , often criticized for its failures, bureaucratic inefficiencies, and poverty and racial bias, leading to the harmful and unnecessary removal of children from their homes, disproportionately from homes of poor families of color. Nevertheless, foster care can be a lifesaving intervention as a system of last resort that we depend on to ensure the safety of the most endangered children. As we face the third drug epidemic in recent decades that threatens to...

How Segregation Shapes Fatal Police Violence [npr.org]

On the afternoon of April 13, 2014, Dontre Hamilton was lying on the ground near a bench in a Milwaukee city park. A police officer on patrol walked over to Hamilton and asked him to stand up. Their encounter would end in disaster. The officer patted Hamilton down for weapons — which the police chief later said was not in line with department policy as Hamilton posed no apparent danger — and Hamilton, who had a history of mental health issues, grabbed the officer's baton. The officer in turn...

Elder Abuse: Sometimes It’s Self-Inflicted [nytimes.com]

The man was living alone with his two dogs, in a remote area outside San Antonio, when someone called the Texas state hotline to report that a supposed friend was financially exploiting him. So the state adult protective services agency sent a caseworker to the man’s home. She found an 86-year-old Vietnam veteran in a dirty, cluttered house full of empty liquor bottles. His legs swollen by chronic cellulitis, he could barely walk, so he used a scooter. He missed doctor’s appointments. He had...

The importance of relationships and belonging [irishtimes.com]

Our mental health and personal well being are tied up in the quality of our personal relationships. The more closely we are connected to the people we love, the happier we feel and the more personal satisfaction we have in our lives. Most people rate moments of connection and shared enjoyment with their loved ones as their most important life experiences. These important relationships not only include family and personal friends but also the wider groups and communities we belong to. Forming...

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