Are Activists at Elevated Mental Health Risk?

We’ve heard of mental health risks for trauma victims, models, high-performance athletes, people in the public eye, soldiers, executives, people living in poverty, and many other social demographics. As a political activist who studies and works in healthcare, is currently on a placement in a mental health unit, and has had personal struggles with mental health issues linked to depression, anxiety and emotion regulation, I have come to believe that political activists may represent another identifiable group at elevated risk for a series of  mental health issues. Read on.

 

 

Gitmo: suicide, fundraising and videogames

The stark contrast between real life at Guantanamo Bay, and the fantasy that has been built up around the so-called "hardened terrorists" who are housed there was brought into high relief this week.

On Monday, officials told the Associated Press that a 31-year-old Yemeni detainee - Muhammmad Ahmad Abdallah Salih - had killed himself in his cell.  Salih, who admitted that he had gone to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban against the Northern Alliance, had spent 7.5 years behind bars at Guantanamo.

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Dr. Kutner's Suicide... America's Gain

Watching HOUSE M.D. (still my number 1 show) last night, I was astounded, along with millions of others, when Dr. Kutner, played by actor Kal Penn, was found dead on his apartment floor, an apparent suicide victim. This was an electric episode (with the night's medical plot featuring a dying husband and wife... with the husband played very well by...get this... Meatloaf!) and drove me to the HOUSE web site immediately after to find a Memorial Page already set up to the memory of Dr. Kutner.

Why... why did they kill off one of the most popular (and funny) characters on the show? Money? Backstage conflict?

The reason is striking: Kal Penn is going to work at the White House!

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Suicides way up, Upward mobility way down. What to do now?

The NY Times had an article yesterday talking about a recent study that shows suicides have skyrocketed among the 40-60 age group since 1999.

The comments are interesting. Many people speculate as to the causes, but the economy and the culture of greed are often-cited reasons. So is our collective Bushwhacking. Here is the URL.

Midlife Suicide Rises, Puzzling Researchers
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/19/us/19suicide.html

Also, a new report just came out on economic mobility, again confirming that people in most other developed countries have substantially better chances of rising out of poverty than Americans who work hard, with parents education and wealth being the highest predictors of economic prosperity in the US, compared to many other OECD nations. Many Americans who were born into the middle class are now poor. many more are just hanging on. Its now crystal clear that the people who claim the economy is doing well are using the healthy (some would say obscenely high) incomes of a very few to imply that things are okay for everyone. It isn't so. Even Britain has more upward mobility and ironically, less stratification. If we don't do something on a massive scale, continuing on our current path, we will become an "M economy" with lots of poor people and a few very rich people and no middle class.

Here is the URL.

http://economicmobility.org/assets/pdfs/EMP_American_Dream.pdf

http://economicmobility.org/newsroom/in_the_news

What does this mean? I think it means that Americans are being pushed to the bone and that without REAL change in Washington, any Presidential candidate is going to have a hell of a time of it. Business as usual just wont work.

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Record Number of Army Suicides

At least 121 members of the US Army committed suicide last year. A new Army study found more than a quarter of those -- about 34 -- did so while serving a tour of duty in Iraq.

As I showed in a recent investigative report, many of these service members kill themselves after being denied psychiatric care from the Pentagon, many after multiple, tours to the war zone.

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Diaries

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