There’s lots to talk about when it comes to mental health, the reasons why it’s not readily and openly discussed, and what can be done to help change this fact.
Historically, the stigma attached to mental health issues can be traced back to times when people had strong emotions about physical conditions. For example, outbreaks of leprosy terrified the public at one time. This terror resulted in those afflicted by leprosy being quarantined away from the masses. As other horrifying or unexplainable conditions evolved, the idea of quarantining “sick” people persisted and with that came the birth of the mental institution. Taking the afflicted and removing or hiding them from society became acceptable - most likely having something to do with the adages “out of sight, out of mind” and “ignorance is bliss.”
In reacting this way, society pushed mental health issues to the rear of their conscience and has done a tremendous disservice to those who may need help but are afraid to seek it out.
She Looks Healthy…
Some physical conditions, like chronic illnesses (those lasting over ninety days), are left undiagnosed by medical professionals. This could be on the part of the doctor missing something. More likely - it could stem from the patient who thinks what they feel is wrong is just “in their head” based on what they have read or been told by others. Not wanting to be diagnosed with a mental condition because of the societal stigma, they don’t inform their provider about those symptoms.
Even if diagnosed, lots of chronic illnesses have symptoms that remain hidden to the public. Take fibromyalgia for example - the condition most often considered fake because the person who has it appears to be physically fine.
A person living with fibromyalgia can tell you that there are good and bad days. But to the average person, the fibromyalgia sufferer may always look fine. What is not shared are the different levels of physical pain experienced every day and, more importantly, varying levels of severe emotional distress as well. Imagine waking up every day wondering how your body is going to feel. Will it let you get out of bed, shower, and get dressed without issue? Will you be able to sit through a day at work without feeling like you’ve been beaten with a club? Will you feel totally exhausted by noon then find an excuse to break away from whatever activity you’re involved in just to nap for a bit?
For a person dealing with a chronic illness, the feeling that their body is not in their control takes a huge toll on their mind. Daily life feels like a battle without a way to win. Since that feeling never subsides, their mental health deteriorates, frequently becoming full-blown anxiety, depression, or other disorders. Left untreated, these patients can become suicidal. What’s harmful to these people is twofold. First, they feel they can’t share their exasperation. Others don’t understand them, or they treat them like constant complainers. Second, most are treated by doctors who employ conventional (Western, mainstream) medicine and are simply prescribed drugs to placate the physical pain and additional drugs to help calm their mental state.
The Missing Link
Some medical professionals are now recognizing that conventional medicine (the exclusive use of synthetic drugs, radiation, and surgery to treat health conditions) is a type of treatment that has its place, like in life-threatening situations or with massive injuries, but that there is something missing when it’s the only choice for patients in non-critical medical circumstances. These practitioners are changing tactics to a more modern approach – one that emphasizes a link between physical and emotional health.
Enter Integrative Medicine
Integrative medicine is an approach that takes the whole person into account – their body, mind, spirit, and lifestyle. This approach uses facets of conventional medicine along with alternative medicine (holistic approaches) and forms a partnership between both the practitioner and the patient. By bridging the gap between doctor and patient there is more awareness, a sense of ownership, and better participation on the part of the patient for the control of their care and overall health.
As the patient learns more about their health and about how their mental health affects their well-being, they often want to learn more or find support to help them in their journey.
Fortunately, there are some major changes taking place to help assist them. Since affordability of healthcare or access to it can be problematic, things like telemedicine and online lab testing are becoming readily available. With more practitioners embracing the connection between physical and mental health, sources to assist them in their efforts to educate patients are continually being developed. For example, social media is being used more regularly by medical professionals and health communicators to not just deliver messages to patients, but to encourage interactive sharing between the parties. According to the Duquesne University School of Nursing, interactive social media has actually helped reduce suicides.
Behind Closed Doors
Despite any profession-based advancements, the public perception is still a major contender at fault for the stigma associated with mental health. So how CAN society change the conversation?
Technology as One Way
It’s been stated that 90 percent of adults use mobile devices and over 70 percent use video sharing platforms and this usage has increased searches related to healthcare. Interestingly, Google recently put out information showing that there has been a huge spike in people asking more personal questions in their searches, and referencing themselves – like “do I have schizophrenia” or “how can I help my friend who is suicidal?”
For the mental health industry, this is a sign that people are avidly using technology to search for possibly immediate assistance, and they are responding to this demand. There are already lots of internet-based resources out there to help people, but now more health apps are being developed. Take for example PTSD Coach, a highly successful app designed for military veterans. Apps to monitor stress, exercise, diet, relaxation time, sleep patterns, and more are abundant and all play into aspects of the integrative medicine approach that lends itself to addressing both physical and mental wellbeing.
Share to Be Aware
While methods to increase awareness involving changes to medical approaches or the implementation of technology-based applications can be helpful, perhaps the greatest impact in changing the narrative on mental health would be to SHARE.
According to Outrun the Stigma, the act of sharing knowledge, stories, opinions, questions, or anything related to an issue can be extremely useful in breaking down barriers to open conversations. As conversations take place, more people become enlightened, fear dissipates, and the stigma surrounding the topic begins to chip away. Take the Me Too Movement. Getting information out to the world increased awareness of the problem. As awareness grew, so did understanding and then the comfort level surrounding the topic changed enough to see actions taken to help make a difference.
The same can be done for mental health. As people learn to talk openly about symptoms, related actions, and ways to give or receive help, the less frightening the topic of mental health will be for everybody.
Ghostwritten for online publication.
When it comes to testing for elevator code adherence in New York City, impartiality is a key part of ensuring equipment is functioning properly and works safely for all users.
According to the Department of Buildings (DOB) and NYC Maintenance of Buildings Codes, any elevator or escalator located within the city’s five boroughs must be inspected and tested twice a year. Contracted inspection agencies conduct these inspections on behalf of the DOB. Inspections are usually unannounced.
Category Testing is a further means to ensure safer and more reliable performance of equipment. Vertical Systems Analysis is an approved by DOB Elevator Consulting Company that can provide Witness Testing.
The NYC Department of Buildings Guide to Elevators describes the different category tests as follows:
Category 1 (CAT1)
No load safety test performed between January 1st and December 31st each year.
Category 3 (CAT3)
Performed on water hydraulic elevators only every three years from date of installation.
Category 5 (CAT5)
Performed with rated load and speed every five years from date of installation
Under New York law, building owners and managers have the responsibility of hiring competent and, more importantly, licensed and approved elevator inspectors to perform annual elevator and escalator tests.
In addition, they bear the responsibility to obtain the services of an impartial, unaffiliated third-party agency (typically an elevator consultant) to provide witnessing of the inspection. This part of the process is called Category Test Witnessing.
Category Test Witnessing (or sometimes just Test Witnessing), is an additional service in the testing process, employing the use of third-party agencies to witness the category testing performed by elevator inspectors.
Per the NYC Department of Buildings, only third-party agencies that are licensed by them are permitted to witness annual safety tests.
Aside from Elevator Test Witnessing Being Legally Mandated, What Are the Major Benefits to You?
Test witnessing helps you best comply with federal, state and local jurisdictions
New and more rigorous annual elevator inspections attended by independent witnesses are detecting about 50 percent more violations in New York City.
Test witnessing helps you satisfy requirements of insurance carriers and protects your assets
As a building owner or manager, you bear the responsibility under the law for hiring a competent and approved elevator inspection agency to perform elevator and escalator tests. By hiring an unaffiliated third-party agency to witness the inspection, you provide yourself with the extra assurance that you have met the requirements of the law, resulting in your insurance not becoming nullified by negligence.
Test witnessing can minimize your liability by ensuring the safety of elevator and escalator users
When performing an annual test, we subject Elevators and escalators to extreme conditions not typically encountered under normal operation. We do this to bring out any possible adverse situation that can cause the verticals to fail. Acting proactively in this manner helps us spot small issues before they become large ones, keeping all users safe.
Why Choose Vertical Systems Analysis (VSA)
VSA is a state licensed third party agency that can perform test witnessing of your vertical devices. As your third-party witness, it is our goal to ensure that your elevators and escalators are performing to code and that the testing work carried out meets the legal mandates required by New York.
With our extensive support staff, we can also complete your third-party code inspections, processing, and filing fees for you.
To find out more about the role Vertical Systems Analysis can play in CAT1, CAT3 & CAT5 test witnessing, please contact our licensed and fully qualified technicians and engineers.
Live on VSA Consulting
If you've taken a shot of hard liquor, you know how badly it burns on the way down. But how can a room-temperature or even a cool liquid cause this burning sensation? The answer isn't what you might think.
If You Can't Stand the Heat
Your body's normal temperature hovers at, or very close to, 98.6 degrees (37 degrees Celsius). When you drink something cold, that beverage becomes slightly warmer as it travels down your throat and into your stomach. When you drink a hot beverage, the opposite happens: Your body absorbs some of that heat.
And your body can take a lot of heat. For example, coffee drinkers prefer their cup of joe around 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius), according to a study published in the Journal of Food Science. So even when you sip on something nearly 30 degrees hotter than your core body temperature, you don't feel like your throat is on fire.
To protect your insides, your mouth and throat both have pain sensors called vanilloid receptor-1, or VR1. VR1 are finely tuned to react to food's temperature and acidity by stimulating neurons to transmit the sensation of pain to the brain. These receptors are super sensitive to both actual high temperatures and perceived heat from compounds like capsaicin, making them react similarly to a sizzling hot slice of pizza as they do to a habanero-laden scoop of salsa.
Fool Me Once
Things change when alcohol comes into play. Ethanol is the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages such as tequila. Unlike capsaicin, which makes VR1 think a food is hot to the touch, ethanol binds to these receptors and makes them more sensitive to heat. This bond actually changes the heat threshold, lowering it to just 93.2 degrees Fahrenheit (34 degrees Celsius). This might not seem like a big swing in temperature, but it's enough to cause a flurry of responses in your skin, esophagus, and spinal cord, giving you a sudden sensation of warmth all over and a nasty burn in your throat.
The human body has warning signals in place to protect you from danger. Whether it's a sudden release of adrenaline in life-threatening situations or a pain signal when you eat something that's too hot, reactions in your body are there to tell you not to do something. In the case of downing a shot of liquor, that burning sensation isn't real heat; it's your own body's warning signals gone awry.
Live on Curiosity.com
Whether you are an art connoisseur or just like checking out what local artists have created, Medellin has a thriving art scene not to be missed.
Respect the Artist, Not the Medium
Starting at street level, Medellin has a huge array of what is normally considered graffiti, but in this city, this artwork is well-respected. Having been built into an abundance of hillsides, Medellin is a city of retaining walls and buildings with vast expanses of exposed outer walls. Many of these have become canvases that portray stories about the city’s past, most notably when the area was ruled by drugs and the gangs that sold them. Larger than life portraits, embellished in bright colors, some highly artistic, others more novice in appearance, they are all colorful monuments to the city, woven within buildings, streets, and alleys. Many are visible from several different places, providing the observer with a changing sense of perspective and interpretation when seen from a different vantage point. To see a good sampling, it is suggested that visitors to the area check out “Street art in Medellin, Colombia – in pictures,” a pictorial example of street art in Comuna 13, once one of Medellin’s most notorious neighborhoods.
More Traditional Vibes
Still on the upswing from its heyday as a crime haven, Medellin has been working hard to revitalize its economy and reputation. Working towards this goal, there has been a surge in tourism and, with that, a steady growth in art galleries and museums. Medellin has a good selection of galleries providing smaller installations of local artists. However, at the other end of the spectrum are two traditional museums hosting galleries of artists who are becoming more famous each year.
Medellín Museo de Arte Moderno (MMAM), a repurposed steel factory said to be “rapidly gentrifying Ciudad del Rio neighborhood” is the first not to be missed. In a 2016 Travel + Leisure interview, chief curator Amiliano Valdes, discusses the growth of the MMAM, relating that the museum’s collection of mostly Columbian artists would be on permanent display with the new building extension that had recently been completed. Featured at MMAM is the extensive collection of Debora Orango, a late feminist painter that used themes of social commentary along with confrontational depictions in her work.
Besides permanent installations, the museum also has a state-of-the-art film and music theatre, allowing the hosting of more varied types of art.
Second is Medellin’s Museo de Antioquia with the notable collection of abstract artist Fernando Botero, best recognized for his signature stylizing of rounded, “fat” people – also called boterismo. On display at the museum are 168 pieces of work by Botero in mixed media, both in the galleries and on the plaza in front, aptly named Plaza de Botero.
In the Eye of the Beholder
Regardless of personal taste, anyone who loves, appreciates, or is just curious about different styles of art will find plenty to see and discuss in the artwork on display in and around the city of Medellin.
Posted live on GoToMedellin.com
Innovative Ways to Turn Distraction Into Education
As we all know, elementary school children are full of boundless energy and have naturally inquisitive minds. A classroom setting can easily help them to learn new concepts but, without the opportunity to take a break and burn off some of that energy, their minds can get easily distracted and their enthusiasm can be seriously thwarted.
Giving Kids a Break – Not Always!
Recess is not always a given in all schools and the lack of time devoted to taking a much-needed break can be very detrimental to students. This unstructured play time allows, first and foremost, a chance for children to decompress from the rigid daily structure of the classroom and curriculum, something innately against a child’s inner spirit. Also, the exploration and successful learning of social skills can be inadequate, as students are not provided the time to interact with each other doing activities that they find important. According to a recent article by Dulwich College discussing the importance of school recess, playground time involving conversations, games, and most any other activity are deemed as being essential to help students release pent up stress and learn to cope and build relationships with other children in their class.
When recess is not part of a school’s daily routine, or even when there is a need for a less regimented learning environment stemming from a perceptible increase in student distraction, finding activities that allow for freedom of imagination, exploration, movement, and expression of ideas may prove to be a necessity. Providing a fun learning experience is very important and, fortunately, not that difficult to achieve, especially when these lessons can be readily implemented by the use of technology-based learning tools.
The types of lessons that can be deployed using technology is vast. While lots of the material found online to help teachers find sources for creative tech-based lessons is really just a lot of online, downloadable worksheets, like the Sudoku, maze, or word puzzles offered by Bostich, there are some sites that provide actual tools and components that can be built into more creative and action-based lessons for their students. The NAEYC Blog features many new stories to help teachers and parents find good resources. Another example is Ditch That Textbook – a website and an accompanying Twitter feed, by teachers and for teachers, highlighting a constantly new selection of sources, ideas, and recommendations about ways to get to the types of things needed to quickly put together digital lessons. For example, one easy project suggested is to divide students into two groups. Once divided, have the participants of each group work collectively to decide on and pick images from the internet, by using classroom computers or personal cell phones, that best represent clues for a scavenger hunt they would create for the other team. The images can be printed or incorporated into an online tool (like a scrapbook or slide presentation) for the opposing team to work from. A digital lesson such as this provides exposure to certain topics (arts, animals, science, history, etc.), active engagement and social-building skills all while teaching further computer skills to the students.
Even more exciting for both students and teachers is the implementation of high-end technology-based devices into their learning environment. This is especially true for older school children who can become even more readily bored and distracted than those a bit younger.
Improve STEAM Skills While Staving Off Boredom
One of the most intriguing developments being introduced in some classrooms is the use of drone technology. The introduction of drone tech into the classroom also feeds into the push to include STEAM learning for children. STEAM education components include Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. As far as teaching these principles, there is not much of anything better than using a drone to help children encounter all the STEAM components on some level in a given lesson. Plus, as they soar through the air, drones help teachers impart to students a different interaction with the world.
Drone technology helps students learn about environmental education as they explore things like climate change, atmospheric conditions, air quality, coastal erosion, marine biology, ecosystems, and the effect of pollutants. They can explore practices and techniques of land surveying, a career field now looked at as a very up-and-coming choice. In this area of exploration, math skills, topography, geology, and even wildlife monitoring and migration can all be goals of the lesson. Drone building is another option for lessons, providing students with the opportunity to use and develop their brainstorming, analytical thinking, and mechanical skills while also being introduced to programming, electronics, math, and even chemistry principles. Artistically, drones can be flown nearly anywhere capturing video of places not often seen or hard to get to. They can be used to capture any event – school trips, school sporting events, or just time at recess from unique angles and perspectives. Students can then use video design tools to weave the images into presentations to share with parents, classmates, and the like. For more tips, Dronegenuity provides educators with a great selection of activities for teaching the use of drones to older kids.
And finally, using drones as a tool in the classroom can help older students begin to learn lessons on ethics. Technically, drones are considered Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has rules about what can be flown, where, and why. Further information on this can be found at Know Before You Fly which also provides other resources for educators looking to bring drones to their educational lesson plan.
As a byproduct of the popularity of science fiction movies, books, and games, an entire subculture has entrenched itself in our current culture. This avid following of all things science fiction is more commonly called “SF Fandom” and has some interesting roots.
In the Beginning
In the late 1800s, science fiction stories were first published in book form. Jules Verne is credited as the first to write what is considered “pure science fiction” where stories solely centered on technological, futuristic, fantastic, and alien or otherworldly content.
Sci-fi Fan Interest Grows
Science fiction started making more headway into the public eye in the early 1900s as magazines would sometimes run single stories or serialized versions of a story mixed into their normal content to capitalize on the growing interest in the topic. Magazines like Argosy, a children’s weekly publication, would publish stories with science fiction themes, but, as a whole, there were no genre-specific publications like we have available today.
Despite an influx of new science fiction stories being published in those early years by Argosy and other similar magazines, science fiction fans of all ages were looking for lots more material.
To meet the demand, the mid-1920s saw the explosion of what was called “pulp” magazines. These publications were typically issued monthly and featured short stories produced and illustrated mostly by fans but sometimes featured works by already established science fiction authors.
A well-known example is the 1926 pulp magazine Amazing Stories which featured only works of a true science fiction nature. Not commonly known is that Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Edgar Allen Poe all provided significant contributions with stories published in early copies of Amazing Stories while many authors found their first publishing success in the myriad of other pulp magazines.
Even More Fan Access
While this may seem strange now, science fiction fans reading Amazing Stories were encouraged to contact each other via a letter column included in the publication. Amazing Stories’ letter column provided the the names and addresses of its fans in print. Publishing such information meant fans could contact each other (and sometimes professional authors or artists) via mail to discuss characters, stories, and plots or to arrange for the swapping of magazine issues. This connection of like-minded science fiction buffs became the first organized type of fan club for the genre’s enthusiasts. Essentially, this was an early equivalent of social media helping to boost and share information on a beloved topic
A further outgrowth of the fan clubs was the creation of fanzines. Fanzines were typically amateur magazines often produced to provide further exploration of the genre via elaboration on story lines or to provide outlets for artistic contributions like character or scene illustrations. Additionally, fanzines afforded a platform for novice writers who hoped to join the ranks of professional science fiction authors.
An example of one of the earliest fanzines was The Comet, created in 1930 by Raymond Arthur Palmer who was a member of the Science Correspondence Club of Chicago.
After the introduction of The Comet, many other fanzines came as went as the creators often found keeping up with the publishing of them was too demanding of their time and sometimes too costly.
However, while short-lived, fanzines did make a significant mark on the genre with some of the most successful writers being Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Rice Burroughs (Mithra series), and J.R.R. Tolkein (Lord of the Rings trilogy).
Today, science fiction fandom has taken on a life of its own. Some popular outlets include Sci-Fi conventions, themed events such as weddings or graduation parties, role playing games, and many others where attendees can hear or converse in fanspeak, a jargon used by die hard fans to communicate with each other about all things science fiction.
Original article on ThatVintageSite.com
I'm April Bailey, a freelance writer and editor for hire who has been writing about various topics for many years. Most of my early print work was destroyed in a major house fire. Luckily, I was able to pull some copies from an old PC and have posted them here. Other items on this blog reflect my current articles and blog posts written for online publications and copied here so I never lose my work again!