Stressed african-american man holding his head, sitting alone on stairs with notebook and pen.

Making Sense of an Utterly Senseless World

As I try to grapple with the effects of PTSD and other effects of trauma I wanted to paint a very vivid picture of what a soul on fire looks like and feels like. Through poetry I am able to do this, so far after the actual experience of living in hell and chaos.

Suicide: A Preventable Epidemic in Young Adults

Teenagers and college students live in tumultuous times. Physical changes, high school graduation, going off to college, moving away from the parents — all of these things can cause personality and mood changes in young adults. So how does one know the difference between “normal” bouts of depression, sadness and erratic behavior, and what could potentially be a red flag for suicidal tendencies? Every 15 minutes (about the amount of time that it takes to down a cup of coffee) one person will commit suicide, according to The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Many of these deaths could have been prevented by intervention from those close to the victims, but often the warning signs were ignored because the subject is awkward, according to Mary Ann Camann, PhD, an associate professor at the WellStar School of Nursing at Kennesaw State University near Atlanta.

Depressed Dads More Likely to Spank Says New Study

Fathers suffering from depression are more likely to spank their children and less likely to read to them, a new study finds.  The research, published in Pediatrics, found that 41 percent of fathers with depression hit their child in the last month, nearly three times as frequently as fathers who weren’t depressed,  ScienceDaily reported. The University of Michigan Health System study looked at 1,746 fathers of one-year-old children.  Of those, 7 percent were diagnosed with depression.  Depressed fathers were also less likely to read to their children.  Forty-one percent of depressed dads read to their kids at least three times per week compared with 58 percent of fathers without depression. "This study is important because it demonstrates that depression in fathers has very tangible effects on how those fathers interact with their young children," said Sarah Clark, one of the authors of the study. You can read more information here.

Warning to Parents: Girls Who Are Bullied More Likely to Turn to Drugs

Girls who are bullied are at higher risk of substance abuse resulting from depression, according to a new study by Jeremy Luk at the University of Washington. Research had previously shown that both boys and girls who are victims of bullying may suffer from depression, but Luk’s research is the first to identify the link between victimization and substance abuse in girls. Luk says, “If your daughter is a victim of bullying, take it seriously, do all possible to prevent recurrence, and attend to possible depression and substance use.”  His findings appear in the December issue of Prevention Science. The full text of the study is only available with a subscription but you can read more at sciencedaily.com.

Video Game Addiction Linked to Depression, Fights, Substance Abuse

Two new studies say that videogame addiction in kids may have serious consequences.  Although most kids will never have a problem, those who do face an increased risk of depression, substance abuse, and lower grades in school. A study by an international research team found that 9 percent of Singapore kids were pathological videogame players.  The researchers say this number is similar in countries around the world. A Yale School of Medicine study found only 5 percent of adolescents reported having symptoms of videogame addiction. However, these kids were more likely to smoke cigarettes, do drugs, and get in fights. Reading both studies requires a subscription but Science Daily has more info.  You can read about the Singapore study here and the Yale study here.

New Worry for Parents: Teens Sniff Trendy Product for Huffing High

One of the most popular body sprays for teenage boys may be used for more than body odor. In fact, some kids like the smell of AXE Body Spray so much they are inhaling it to get high. “Many parents don’t question a body spray inhalant if kids are huffing because many parents have the scent around them,” said Colleen Creighton from inhalant.org. Message boards on the Internet are buzzing with questions from parents and teens about this trend.  Some people on Facebook and other websites share instructions on how to use AXE to get high.  Users may soak a towel or a shirt sleeve and breathe it in, while others may spray it directly into their mouths. Body sprays like AXE are cheap and sold everywhere.  By contrast, Georgia regulates the sale of model glue to anyone under the age of 18.

GA Tax System Based on 1930s Economy, Says GBPI

The Department of Juvenile Justice will present new budget cuts at a board meeting Thursday morning.  Governor Perdue has ordered every state agency to come up with scenarios detailing 4%, 6% and 8% cuts. On the eve of the big reveal, the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute says the state tax structure dates back to the Great Depression and that’s why we’re in trouble. Here’s an excerpt from Advancing Georgia’s 1930s Tax System to the Modern Day:

"Georgia will spend more than 80 percent of the FY 2011 state budget on education, healthcare, and public safety; therefore, the size of the state budget is overwhelmingly driven by these three policy areas Georgia’s overall population, as well as the specific populations that state government serves, such as school children and prisoners, will continue to increase dramatically. In addition to meeting the needs of sheer increased numbers of Georgians, the state has urgent existing needs, such as bringing our education, mental health, and transportation systems, among others, up to national standard"

The report recommends changes that include:

Taxing more personal services, while lowering the sales tax
Updating cigarette and motor fuel excise tax rates
Modernizing personal income tax brackets, rates, and standard deductions
Closing corporate tax loopholes