Monday, March 18, 2019

America's Mental Health Crisis

Young Americans, especially teenagers and young adults are suffering a mental health crisis. Depression is up. Anxiety disorders are up. Suicides are up. Dare I say that spending on mental health treatment is also up?

Two questions remain open: why this spike in mental illness? And what should we do about it?

Psychologist Jean Twenge examined the statistics and discovered that mental health among young Americans is seriously declining:

One of the best ways to find out if mental health issues have increased is to talk to a representative sample of the general population, not just those who seek help. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has done just that.

It surveyed over 600,000 Americans. Recent trends are startling.

From 2009 to 2017, major depression among 20- to 21-year-olds more than doubled, rising from 7 percent to 15 percent. Depression surged 69 percent among 16- to 17-year-olds. Serious psychological distress, which includes feelings of anxiety and hopelessness, jumped 71 percent among 18- to 25-year-olds from 2008 to 2017. Twice as many 22- to 23-year-olds attempted suicide in 2017 compared with 2008, and 55 percent more had suicidal thoughts. The increases were more pronounced among girls and young women. By 2017, one out of five 12- to 17-year-old girls had experienced major depression in the previous year….

Tragically, suicide also jumped during the period. For example, the suicide rate among 18- to 19-year-olds climbed 56 percent from 2008 to 2017. Other behaviors related to depression have also increased, including emergency department admissions for self-harm, such as cutting, as well as hospital admissions for suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.

Since Twenge is going to blame it on social media gadgets, because she found a correlation between the invasion of techno gadgets and the spike in mental illness, I will also point out that the dates 2009-2017 happen to coincide with a major event in American political history. If we want to indulge in correlational thinking, we are obliged to point out that it’s not just iPhones, it’s the Obama presidency that seems to have directed impacted teenage angst. We will return to the topic.

For now, examine Twenge’s argument. First, she dismisses the notion that  young people are now more likely to confess to problems that had previously remained hidden:

Is it possible that young people simply became more willing to admit to mental health problems? My co-authors and I tried to address this possibility by analyzing data on actual suicide rates collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Suicide is a behavior, so changes in suicide rates can’t be caused by more willingness to admit to issues.

Aside from this point, we would also point out that if children are more likely to admit to mental health problems, they might also be more likely to receive treatment. We can ask how much treatment is available and how good the treatment is. Are children being offered medication and a pat on the back? Or are they told to show their vulnerability, to get in touch with their feelings, to feel their feelings and to express their emotions openly, honestly and shameless?

Long time readers of this blog know my position. If this whiny empathy is the best talk therapy the mental health profession can offer, then children are just as likely to avoid treatment. Treatment that wants them to feel weak and vulnerable is not going deter children from committing suicide. It is not going to teach them how to get along with other children. It is going to foster soul searching, teaching them to withdraw from the world. In this, as in many cases, therapy and the culture it fostered is more the problem than the solution.

For her part, Twenge does not address the question of the quality of care available. And she does not address the question of the effect of living in a culture that systematically degrades normal social interaction in favor of soul searching.

She does, however, consider—and then dismiss—the question of whether or not the economy plays a part:

A troubled economy and job loss, two typical culprits of mental stress, don’t appear to be to blame. That’s because U.S. economic growth was strong and the unemployment rate dropped significantly from 2011 to 2017, when mental health issues were rising the most.

It’s unlikely that academic pressure was the cause, as iGen teens spent less time on homework on average than teens did in the 1990s.

Of course, the economy was coming apart at the seams in 2009. And, prospects for future employment did not improve radically during that time. The Obama recovery was among the most anemic in American history.

As for schoolwork, young people today do not really attend school. They are submitted to non-stop indoctrination in the dogmas of political correctness. They cannot compete against their peers around the world. And this means that their prospects for future success are going to be severely limited. Many young people are attracted to socialism because they know that they cannot compete in the free market. Like their millennial predecessors, they have only been taught to vote for politicians who promise to take care of them.

As noted above, Twenge blames it all on social media:

But there was one societal shift over the past decade that influenced the lives of today’s teens and young adults more than any other generation: the spread of smartphones and digital media like social media, texting and gaming.

While older people use these technologies as well, younger people adopted them more quickly and completely, and the impact on their social lives was more pronounced. In fact, it has drastically restructured their daily lives.

Compared with their predecessors, teens today spend less time with their friends in person and more time communicating electronically, which study after study has found is associated with mental health issues.

If social media was the problem, then it would produce the same problems around the world. You cannot really assess its influence unless you can show that children in Singapore, Shanghai, Seoul, Tokyo and Helsinki, all of whom possess the same gadgets, are showing an equal rise in mental illness.

If such is not the case, we need to look at causes closer to home. As noted, a school system that does not prepare children to compete in the world must be on the list. Broken homes, disorganized lives, a lack of consistent family dinners… these too have notably been shown to have a negative impact on children’s mental health. How many of the children suffering these problems live in two-parent homes? How many of them receive enough attention from their mothers, in particular?

And then there is the Obama factor. The opposite of depression is pride. Not hope. In particular, national pride. Did the Obama presidency produce a decline in national pride? When the president felt compelled to apologize for the nation and its past, he was not expressing pride; he was manifesting shame. Obama was ashamed of America. Why would young people not pick up the message and lose their pride in America? With America being disparaged by professional athletes, why would that not cause young people to lose pride in their nation, to lose a sense of purpose in their lives, to reject hard work and competition in favor of becoming charity cases? It’s one thing to feel like you belong to a proud nation. It’s quite another, mental health wise, to feel like your nation is not worth fighting for, that, given its manifold faults and crimes, it is not worth the trouble to work to improve it. If America’s crimes are the problem, if bigotry is the only thing we need to fight, the solution is penance. And yet, penance might also include martyrdom and self-sacrifice.

And you were wondering why America’s young people are more depressed and anxious than ever before.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Less Talk, More Action

Here it is, another fine piece of advice about relationships. And about how therapy culture advice causes more trouble than it’s worth. It’s from Susannah Breslin, posted on The Frisky.

Given that every therapist and every advice columnist tells women to talk about their issues with their male significant others, you can feel fairly confident that this is bad advice. You can feel even more confident that it is good for the business of therapy.

Breslin opens with a few words about the influence of the therapy culture:

For as long as many of us can remember, we’ve been told that if we’ve got a problem, particularly a relationship problem, the answer is to talk it out. Go to a therapist and talk to a shrink about your issues. Boyfriend or husband acting distant? Well, you better talk to him about that. Not sure what to do about a problem in your life? Get on the phone, send an email, heck, Twitter it while you’re at it. It’s all talk, all the time. But what if sometimes, particularly when it comes to relationships, and especially when it comes to men, you may be better off not talking about it at all? Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been brought up in the Let’s Talk About It era along with everyone else. I’ve watched all the talk shows, and I’ve been in talk therapy, and I’ve had a string of relationships in which I was hellbent on talking about whatever relationship issue needed airing out. I get that, a lot of the time, talking works. It takes what’s hidden and makes it public; it allows people to feel like their inner conflicts are being heard; and oftentimes it bridges the gap between two people looking to connect.

The problem with this advice is that women are far more comfortable talking things over than men are. Thus, believing that conversation will solve a problem requires a man to play an away game. In conversation, women have home field advantage.

Instead, many relationships in tough times become a tug of war in which the woman tries to get the man to talk about his feelings, and the man, who may be disinclined for a variety of reasons in that direction, withdraws from her desire to talk, talk, talk about it….

Recently, a study concluded that when a couple talks about relationship issues, men get more anxious and women relax. If that’s true, what good does talking about the problem do — for men? And where’s that gotten you?

Breslin notes that men and women are different. They communicate differently. Thus, if a woman wants to communicate with a man she would do better to play Frisbee than to demand an in-depth conversation.

Men are different. They communicate differently. We all know that. Let’s start acting like it. I believe men don’t believe what you tell them — they believe what you do. Instead of talking the issue to death, try anything but talking. It doesn’t have to be a lifetime commitment to silence, but what would it hurt to experiment with the concept? Have sex. Play Frisbee. Cook a meal. You might find that turning your relationship into a safe haven from relationship discussions will lessen your need to have relationship discussions at all.

Muslim Woman Attacks Pregnant Chelsea Clinton

We all share the grief of the victims of the Christchurch mosque massacre and there families, but there ought to be limits. Among those limits, we should not exploit their misery to blame it on the Jews. Yet, that was the approach favored by a young Muslim woman at NYU the other night.

You know the story, but here it is:

Chelsea Clinton was invited to attend a vigil for the victims at NYU. She is notably pregnant. This did not prevent a Muslim woman—apparently a Bernie supporter—from pointing a threatening finger at her and assaulting her with these words from The Daily Caller (via Maggie's Farm):

“This right here is the result of the massacre stoked by people like you and the words that you have put out into the world,” one student responded. “I want you to know that. I want you to feel that deep inside. The 49 people died because of the rhetoric you put out there.”

At issue was Chelsea’s support for Israel and her opposition to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitic rants. Apparently, supporting Israel and condemning anti-Semitism is incitement to violence against Muslims. Because Muslims, beginning with Palestinian terrorists, have always shown great respect for Israel.

Chelsea Clinton was surely taken aback. She reacted as a pregnant woman would, trying to defuse the situation. After all, she was being threatened and she preferred to step back, not to respond to a maniac.

Thereby, another one of our precious liberties, our freedom of expression, is erased, and another American citizen is obliged to accept public humiliation. Obviously, the radical American left is promoting this assault on freedom. But, don’t fool yourself. Islamist are leading the march. They are not merely doing so here; they are doing so in Europe where blasphemy laws are routinely suspended when it comes to the Prophet Mohammed. In the interest of public safety, because, presumably, Muslims do not have enough self-discipline to react calmly and dispassionately when their religion is criticized.

If she is a student, the woman who attacked Chelsea Clinton should be expelled from NYU. Clearly, she has reached a depth of depravity rarely evidenced in public forms: a full frontal attack, with threatening hand gestures, against a pregnant women. Who but the lowest of the low would do such a thing? Will anyone call her out? I doubt it.

Again, with Muslims it’s all about blaming Jews. The sad truth about Islam is that it represents one of the greatest civilizational failures of the past millennium. Muslims today have a choice between modernizing, thus adopting more Western values, and trying to deconstruct what others have built. The sensible voices within the religion have opted for the former. The crazed left, represented by Chelsea Clinton’s attacker, has chosen the latter.

If you want to know why Islam failed, consider the mindset that would produce the kind of disgraceful behavior and boundless ignorance a young woman put on display when confronting Chelsea Clinton. No courtesy. No decorum. No propriety. No respect... for a woman at her most vulnerable. Go for the jugular… of a pregnant woman. Is that acceptable behavior in the Muslim religion? Is it acceptable for Bernie supporters?

Crematorium Burns Down; Bodies Saved

I am not sure that we should call this today’s feel good story. But still. The event in Germany deserves some mention, because it appears to contain a deeper meaning. What that meaning is, I leave to you:

A fire at a crematorium in southern Germany has caused significant damage to the building — but the 20 bodies stored inside remained intact.

German news agency dpa reported Thursday that the cause of the overnight fire in Schwaebisch Hall, about 175 kilometers (110 miles) southeast of Frankfurt, was still being investigated.

Dpa quoted regional police saying the bodies were largely unharmed by the blaze, which is estimated to have caused about 1.5 million euros ($1.7 million) in damages.

The crematorium burned down, but only the corpses were saved.

Make of it what you will.

New York Jews Abandon the Democratic Party

Has the Democratic Party finally succeeded in alienating its Jewish voters? Faced with the blatant anti-Semitism of Rep. Ilhan Omar, not to mention her posse, composed of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Rashida Talib, Democratic leaders in Congress tried to offer up a condemnation of anti-Semitism. Their new anti-Semitic base rejected the resolution and forced them to recraft it as a resolution against hate.

Many of us have been wondering when and how Jewish Democrats would see that they are no longer welcome in today’s “woke” Democratic Party. A political coalition that blames its failures on white people and whose leaders have openly consorted with notable anti-Semites like Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan and Al Sharpton cannot long welcome a group that so conspicuously overachieves. That would be: Jews.

Today The New York Post reports that the message is getting through to some New York Jews, at least:

Jewish voters furious at Democrats’ defense of Rep. Ilhan Omar say they’re done with the party that has held their support for generations.

“We felt we had a home there,” said Mark Schwartz, the Democratic deputy mayor of solidly blue Teaneck, NJ. “And now we feel like we have to check our passports.”

Jordan Manor of Manhattan, who calls himself a “gay Jewish Israeli-American,” laments, “The party I thought cared about me seems to disregard me when it comes to my Jewish identity.”

Mark Dunec, a consultant in Livingston, NJ who ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2014, says, “I’m physically afraid for myself and for my family,” adding, “I see my own party contributing to the rise of anti-Semitism in the United States.”

Many Jewish New York Democrats have seen the light. They refuse to accept Nancy Pelosi’s idiotic defense of Rep. Omar—namely, that she did not understand what she was saying. Obviously, enough, since Omar keeps saying it, we must assume that her anti-Semitism is deeply ingrained in her mind:

Many Jewish Dems in the city aren’t buying it.

“The fake defense she doesn’t know what she’s saying? I don’t believe it,” said Sara, a Queens teacher who asked not to be fully identified. “This is a grown woman and a member of Congress. Trying to excuse this as naivete is inexcusable.”

For her and others, anger is sparking immediate action.

“The watered-down resolution triggered my decision to walk away from the Democratic Party,” said Allison Gangi of Manhattan.

“I never dreamed anti-Semitism would have become mainstream on the left, but it has.”

Sara said she is “not comfortable anymore being a Democrat” and will register as an independent.

Among his Teaneck neighbors, Schwartz said, “Our only question now is, do we start voting Republican, or do we become Republicans?”

It’s the right question to be asking.

Traumatized for Life

25 year old Sarah Katherine Brooks is in big trouble. Her crime? Hold your breath and gird your loins. She had carnal relations with a 17 year old. Several times.

Why has she been arrested in Georgia? Well, you see, Sarah Katherine was a phys ed teacher in Archer High School. She was tutoring the boy in phys. ed. Say what? Try to wrap your mind around that one: the boy needed special tutoring in phys ed. Not in math or languages or social science… but in phys ed.

The Daily Mail has the story, without the salacious details:

A former Georgia high school teacher was detained after she was accused of having a sexual relationship with one of her students. 

Sarah Katherine Brooks, 25, was charged with a felony count of sexual assault by persons with supervisory or disciplinary authority on Friday, according to jail records from Gwinnett County Jail. 

Brooks is said to have had sex during off-campus tutoring with one of her 17-year-old students from Archer High School. The woman was the teen's physical education teacher, at the time.

You will be happy to know that the local police are still investigating the case. Apparently, they have too much time on their hands.

If you wish to appreciate the suffering that the poor boy has undergone, and the life altering trauma that will follow him for the rest of his days, take a gander at Sarah Katherine’s mug shot:

 Sarah Katherine Brooks, 25, was charged with a felony count of sexual assault by persons with supervisory or disciplinary authority on Friday

Saturday, March 16, 2019

John F. Kennedy's Bastard Son?

I trust that it has crossed your mind, but doesn't Beto O'Rourke look like the bastard son of John F. Kennedy? In truth, that might be the secret to his appeal. Especially since he has no accomplishments to his credit and no real qualifications for seeking the office of the presidency.

Come to think of it, Beto O'Rourke looks a lot more like JFK's son than did JFK, Jr. But we don't want to go there, do we?

Anyway, once upon a time a teenage BOR wrote a poem. He dubbed himself Psychedelic Warlord, appellation that seems more appropriate than President of the United States. Fortunately for us all, the Daily Caller has provided us with the text of the poem:

I need a butt-shine,
Right now
You are holy,
Oh, sacred Cow
I thirst for you,
Provide Milk.
Buff my balls,
Love the Cow,
Good fortune for those that do.
Love me, breathe my feet,
The Cow has risen.
Wax my ass,
Scrub my balls.
The Cow has risen,
Provide Milk.

I am sure you are thinking that it's unfair to judge a man by his juvenile absurdities. And  yet, consider this. At around the same age, a teenage George Washington was copying out the rules of etiquette. Presidential is as presidential does.