Tag Archives | Mental Health

Ron Paul on The Real Costs Of War

Ron Paul PeaceRon Paul writes on the Daily Bell:

This month Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki announced the addition of some 1,900 mental health nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers to its existing workforce of 20,590 mental health staff in attempt to get a handle on the epidemic of suicides among combat veterans. Unfortunately, when presidents misuse our military on an unprecedented scale – and Congress lets them get away with it – the resulting stress causes military suicides to increase dramatically, both among active duty and retired service members. In fact, military deaths from suicide far outnumber combat deaths. According to an article in the Air Force Times this month, suicides among airmen are up 40 percent over last year.

Considering the multiple deployments service members are forced to endure as the war in Afghanistan stretches into its second decade, these figures are sadly unsurprising.

Ironically, the same VA Secretary Eric Shinseki was forced to retire from the Army by President Bush for daring to suggest that an invasion and occupation of Iraq would not be the cakewalk that neoconservatives promised.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Is War Porn A Natural By-Product of War?

Lynndie EnglandJoanna Schroeder wonders whether war porn is deviant, or a natural by-product of teaching young people to kill, on the Good Men Project:

The nation was shocked when we learned of more supposed bad behavior by US troops overseas, in the form of posing with the bodies of dead enemy combatants. This isn’t shocking news though, is it? It’s been happening since the beginning of this war, and as far as we know, as long as war has been happening, in one form or the other.

In a fascinating Salon.com piece, former infantry soldier and combat veteran John Rico an insider’s perspective on the function of so-called war porn, and wonders what it is about society that makes us so shocked to learn that young people who’ve been trained to fight and kill since they were 18 years old have reveled in the death of their enemies:

I have to say that I find all the political and polite posturing to be quite amusing.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Talking to Yourself Makes You Smarter

Taxi DriverJamie Condliffe writes on Gizmodo:

Talking to yourself is the preserve of mad men, right? Not according to a new study, which reveals that the seemingly irrational act of chatting to oneself actually improves cognitive function.

The research, carried out by Gary Lupyan and Daniel Swingley, was inspired the pair’s experiences of seeing people audibly muttering to themselves when trying to find items on supermarket shelves. To test whether speaking to oneself was actually beneficial, Lupyan and Swingley devised a set of experiments.

In one experiment, volunteers were shown 20 pictures of everyday objects of the same kind and asked to search out a specific one. Initially participants were shown a piece of text telling them which object to find and left to complete the task in silence. Then, in subsequent tests involving different objects, the participants were asked to repeatedly say the name of the object they were searching for.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

U.S. Soldiers Pose With Bodies Of Suicide Bombers In Afghanistan

AirborneDavid Zucchino writes in the Los Angeles Times:
The paratroopers had their assignment: Check out reports that Afghan police had recovered the mangled remains of an insurgent suicide bomber. Try to get iris scans and fingerprints for identification. The 82nd Airborne Division soldiers arrived at the police station in Afghanistan's Zabol province in February 2010. They inspected the body parts. Then the mission turned macabre: The paratroopers posed for photos next to Afghan police, grinning while some held — and others squatted beside — the corpse's severed legs. A few months later, the same platoon was dispatched to investigate the remains of three insurgents who Afghan police said had accidentally blown themselves up. After obtaining a few fingerprints, they posed next to the remains, again grinning and mugging for photographs.
Continue Reading

Living with Bipolar Disorder: Andy Behrman’s ‘Electroboy’

2behrman

Living with Bipolar Disorder: Andy Behrman's 'Electroboy' | The Disinfocast with Matt Staggs: Episode 05

iTunes | Download (mp3) | RSS

Andy Behrman is the author of Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania. At first, Andy Behrman's manic episodes gave him an edge among the young professional elite of 1980s New York City: thousands of ideas tumbled out of his super-charged brain and he slept only a couple of hours a night, leaving him plenty of time to pursue them all. Soon, though, the dizzying highs and crushing lows of his undiagnosed bipolar disorder grew too strong, and Andy's life spun out of control. He developed a taste for drugs, quick money and risky sex. He grew delusional and grandiose, spending thousands of dollars on impulsive trips around the world and luxury goods. His mania-fueled joyride ended in a federal court, an accused embezzler and forger of modern art. It took almost 20 rounds of electroconvulsive therapy to bring some degree of normalcy to Andy's life, but his story doesn't end there. He became a spokesperson for a powerful pharmaceutical company, ultimately betraying his corporate paymasters to become one of their harshest critics. Big pharma critic, author and mental health advocate Andy Behrman is my guest on this episode of The DisinfoCast.
Continue Reading

American Military Veterans Now Kill Themselves At A Rate of One Every 80 Minutes

US Dept Of Veterans AffairsNicholas D. Kristof writes in the New York Times:
Here's a window into a tragedy within the American military: For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands. An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year — more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began. These unnoticed killing fields are places like New Middletown, Ohio, where Cheryl DeBow raised two sons, Michael and Ryan Yurchison, and saw them depart for Iraq. Michael, then 22, signed up soon after the 9/11 attacks. “I can’t just sit back and do nothing,” he told his mom. Two years later, Ryan followed his beloved older brother to the Army.
Continue Reading

Austerity Drives Up Suicide Rate in Debt-Ridden Greece

Apostolos PolyzonisThe banks are getting back all their money, so I guess a 40% increase in the suicide rate is the blood the Tree of Liberty requires to grow. Teo Kermeliotis reports on CNN:

When Apostolos Polyzonis’s bank refused to see him last September, the 55-year-old Greek businessman had just 10 euros ($13) in his pocket. Out of work and bankrupt, he thought all he could do with his remaining money was to buy a gas can.Desperate and angry, Polyzonis stood outside the bank in central Thessaloniki, in northern Greece, doused himself in fuel and surrendered to the flames.

“At that moment, I saw my life as worthless, I really didn’t care if I was going to live or die,” recalls Polyzonis, who says he was hit by financial troubles after the bank recalled a loan given to him for his business. “My sense of living was much lower than my sense of self-respect and pride, the fact that I had lost my right to be a free Greek,” adds Polyzonis.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Consumerism and Its Antisocial Effects Can Be Turned On and Off

MoneyVia ScienceDaily:

Money doesn’t buy happiness. Neither does materialism: Research shows that people who place a high value on wealth, status, and stuff are more depressed and anxious and less sociable than those who do not. Now new research shows that materialism is not just a personal problem. It’s also environmental. “We found that irrespective of personality, in situations that activate a consumer mindset, people show the same sorts of problematic patterns in wellbeing, including negative affect and social disengagement,” says Northwestern University psychologist Galen V. Bodenhausen.

The study, conducted with colleagues Monika A. Bauer, James E. B. Wilkie, and Jung K. Kim, appears in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

In two of four experiments, university students were put in a materialistic frame of mind by tasks that exposed them to images of luxury goods or words mobilizing consumerist values (versus neutral scenes devoid of consumer products or words without such connotations).

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Is Lloyd Blankfein An Accessory In the Death of Dimitris Christoulas?

Syntagma Square

Syntagma Square

Relax, folks, nothing to see here.  After all, I’m sure that all that austerity-funded bond money is going towards a good cause—like gold-plating the vomitorium drains in Lloyd Blankfein’s villa on the Riviera, for instance. From the BBC’s Mark Lowen:

Protesters have clashed with riot police in the Greek capital, Athens, hours after a pensioner shot himself dead outside parliament.

The 77-year-old man killed himself in the city’s busy Syntagma Square on Wednesday morning.

Greek media reported he had left a suicide note accusing the government of cutting his pension to nothing. Flowers have been laid at the spot where he died and tributes have been paid online.

“I see no other solution than this dignified end to my life, so I don’t find myself fishing through garbage cans for my sustenance.”—Extract from reputed suicide letter

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the square outside parliament on Wednesday evening, the scene of many large protests in recent months.

Read the rest
Continue Reading