Category: Health(y)

Don’t Conform, Stand Up and Stand Out!

Sometimes, do we feel like we don’t belong? Do we feel like we’re not part of the popular group on campus? At school? To be in that group, are you asked to sacrifice “who you are” as a person? If you’re older, do you recall a time when you tried to “fit in”? A time, when you did or said something you knew was wrong…just so you could feel like you were cool? To be a part of that crowd?

I can recall times in my life when I gave in. Times when I tried to be cool, tried to act hard, tried to go against my nature…all for the purpose of fitting in or being cool. My nature you might ask…I’m mild, calm, not really tough unless pushed to the limits, patient, kind, respectful…that is me in a nutshell. So why did I do it? Why did I smoke that, drink too much of that, treat that person that way, curse that, steal that, cheat on that…Why did I fight so hard to be so wrong? Why do you? Why did you? I am assuming we all aren’t perfect, but if this doesn’t apply to you…please share your strengths in the comment section. For others, answering WHY (i.e. fear, teasing, bullied, risk-taking, peer pressure) can be the first steps to “Standing Up and Standing Out”.

If trying to fit into the wrong crowd is something that bothers you, then allow me to offer you some encouragement. If this is a battle you overcame some time ago, please share your strategies with others reading this post. First, just to cover our basis…what is the wrong crowd? Chances are, if people around you are repeatedly hostile, arguing, causing strife, using illegal drugs, lazy, divisive, rebellious to authority, promiscuous sexually, angry, or even place money and material goods over people; chances are you don’t want these individuals to be your closest friends. This may not be the crowd you want to “run with” regularly (or at all). Why? Simply put, their negativity can “rub off” on you. They can bring you down, burden you physically and mentally, or place you in serious trouble or danger.

At this point, you might be thinking: “Well, everyone is bad…so I guess I’ll have no friends”. Although we all make mistakes, everyone is not of the wrong crowd. Everyone is not bad! When you don’t conform, you stand out! Standing up for your beliefs, for what you know is right (i.e. fair, moral, and ethical) attracts other positive people to you! When you stand out, it becomes easier for good people to find you! Furthermore, when you lead by good example, others will follow. Your leadership creates a path away from conforming with the wrong crowd, to establishing a good group of friends of your own. So when the WRONG crowd tries to put you down, Stand Up! When the WRONG crowd asks or tries to force you to be in their group, Stand Out! Be Strong, Be Encouraged, Be Comforted… for greatness comes to those who do good!

PHAME-US

Gauging Behavioral Health in America

SAMHSA | March 5, 2015

A new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) details important trends — many positive — in Americans’ behavioral health, both nationally and on a state-by-state basis.

SAMHSA’s new report, the “National Behavioral Health Barometer” (Barometer), provides data about key aspects of behavioral healthcare issues affecting American communities including rates of serious mental illness, suicidal thoughts, substance use, underage drinking, and the percentages of those who seek treatment for these disorders. The Barometer shows this data at the national level, and for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The Barometer indicates that the behavioral health of our nation is improving in some areas, particularly among teenagers. For example, past month use of both illegal drugs and cigarettes has fallen for youth ages 12-17 from 2009 to 2013 (from 10.1 percent to 8.8 percent for illegal drugs and 9.0 percent to 5.6 percent for cigarettes). Past month binge drinking among children ages 12-17 has also fallen from 2009 to 2013 (from 8.9 percent to 6.2 percent).

The Barometer also shows more people are getting the help they need in some needed areas. The number of people receiving help for a substance use problem has increased six percent from 2009 to 2013. It also shows that the level of adults experiencing serious mental illness who received help rose from 62.9 percent in 2012 to 68.5 percent in 2013.

The data in the Barometer is drawn from various federal surveys and provides both a snapshot of the current status of behavioral health nationally and by state, and trend data on some of these key behavioral health issues over time. “The Barometer provides new insight into what is happening on the ground in states across the country,” said SAMHSA’s Administrator, Pamela S. Hyde. “It provides vital information on the progress being made in each state as well as the challenges before them. States and local communities use this data to determine the most effective ways of addressing their behavioral healthcare needs.”

The Barometer also provides analyses by gender, age group and race/ethnicity, where possible, to further help public health authorities more effectively identify and address behavioral health issues occurring within their communities, and to serve as a basis for tracking and addressing behavioral health disparities.

For the first time, the Barometer provides analyses broken down by poverty level (above or below) and health insurance status. This data can help provide researchers, policy makers, public health authorities and others a better understanding of how income and insurance coverage affect access and utilization of behavioral healthcare services.

To view and download copies of the national or any state Behavioral Health Barometer, please visit the SAMHSA web site at http://www.samhsa.gov/data/browse-report-document-type?tab=46.

Trucks: More Support for Wearing Seatbelts

Our nation depends on truck drivers to deliver goods and services safely and efficiently. Yet, crashes involving large trucks continue to take a toll on truck drivers, their passengers, other road users, businesses, and the community. Overall, 317,000 motor vehicle crashes involving large trucks were reported to police in 2012, according to the latest Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The estimated cost of truck and bus crashes to the United States economy was $99 billion that same year.

Continue reading “Trucks: More Support for Wearing Seatbelts”