Viewpoints: Lessons Learned From A Mother’s Suicide
Opinion writers focus on mental health and other health issues.
The Wall Street Journal:
My Mom’s Suicide Was Preventable
I didn’t know Kate Spade or Anthony Bourdain but saw familiar threads in their suicides, as my mother took her own life at age 51. Spade had spoken to her father the night before and was looking forward to a trip to California. Bourdain was in one of his favorite countries, France, working on his television show. My mother, struggling through her third and failing marriage, had arrived at a plan to get back on her feet, supported by friends and family. (Karl Rove, 6/13)
The New York Times:
What Is Sadness, And What Is Depression?
I stood onstage as an audience of over a thousand people applauded and cheered. My hosts placed an award in my hands. I nodded to the crowd, and they all rose to their feet. Hooray for you, the strangers shouted. Hooray! Less than a week later, I sat up in bed in my house in Maine. A voice said: “You’re nothing. You’re a joke. They’d never have given you that award if they knew the truth.” It was hard to argue. After all, who knew me better than the voice inside my head? (Jennifer Finney Boylan, 6/13)
Current Efforts To Fight Sepsis Aren't Working. We Need A Bolder Approach
If pharmaceutical and biotech companies gave up trying to find better treatments for stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, there would be public outrage. Yet that is essentially what has happened to sepsis, an infection that kills as many Americans each year — about 250,000 — as stroke and Alzheimer’s combined — with barely a whimper. If we can strive to fight a new scourge like opioids, we should be able to do the same for a much older killer. Thanks to antibiotics, vaccinations, and public health advances like modern sanitation, it’s easy to think that Americans live largely free of the infectious diseases that once took such a toll. That’s partially right: We effectively prevent many infectious disease threats. Cholera and typhoid, which once killed one percent of Americans each year, are now virtually unheard of in the U.S. Yet nearly 1.5 million Americans are hospitalized for sepsis each year, and it accounts for 1 in 3 deaths that occur in hospitals. (Derek Angus, 6/14)
A School Shooter Game? We Don't Need Real-Life Horror On Our Kids' Screens, Too
The human race is incredibly self-destructive these days. Last week, the controversial school shooting video game “Active Shooter” scheduled to be released to the market June 6 was pulled due to parental and general public outcry. Just as quickly, though, USA Today reported that the content provider Valve will take a hands-off approach and allow almost everything on its software distribution platform, Steam. The “Active Shooter” game allows the player to act in the role of a school shooter, and keeps score based on the number of children and SWAT officers killed. As a parent and a citizen, I am concerned about the negative influence technology run amok can have on our kids' mental health. (Carolyn McGrath, 6/13)
Red Flag Gun Laws Will Let Authorities Seize Firearms From People Deemed A Violent Threat. Congress Should Pass Legislation.
It might seem cynical to put the issue of gun safety in the context of election-year politics. But here we are. There are at least two ideas floating around Congress that could make “red flag” laws a reality in all 50 states. These laws allow authorities to temporarily take guns away from a person who has shown a pattern of violence or the threat of violence. In those cases, court-approved restraining orders would let relatives or law enforcement ask a court to bar a dangerous person from having guns. Petitioners could seek an emergency order, then a permanent one. (6/13)
Lexington Herald Leader:
Child Abuse Now Official U.S. Border Policy
Anyone with a shred of empathy must be sickened by what our country is doing at the border. Science tells us that childhood trauma causes lifelong physical and emotional harm, even alters human DNA. When U.S. authorities strip children from their immigrant parents and house them in settings that resemble dog kennels, we are inflicting a harsh and lasting punishment on innocents. Families that are refugees from violence are being separated, while in the past they were first given a chance to make their case for asylum. (6/13)
New England Journal of Medicine:
The Consequences Of Gender Discrimination In Medicine
Ongoing media exposés of sexual harassment have catalyzed important public discussions about the way women are treated both in and outside the workplace. Medicine has not been immune to the problems of gender-based harassment and discrimination that have surfaced in other industries, despite efforts in recent decades to increase the field’s diversity and inclusiveness. Aside from the obvious moral issues associated with mistreatment of and job discrimination against women physicians, we believe that greater focus is needed on the potential consequences for patients and biomedical science of the loss of talent and worse outcomes that result when women in medicine are slighted, overlooked, or explicitly wronged. (Lisa S. Rotenstein and Anupam B. Jena, 6/13)
The New York Times:
When The Bully Is A Doctor
Years ago, when I was a medical student trying my hand at a variety of specialties, I spent two months on the surgery service. The days were rigorous, starting before 5 a.m., when I was expected at the hospital to round on patients who had recently undergone surgery. I then scrubbed in to the first operating room case of the day, at 7 a.m. Depending on the complexity of the procedure, we wouldn’t emerge from the O.R. for hours, biologic needs such as going to the bathroom or eating be damned. Another case, more rounding, and I typically surfaced from the hospital at dusk, completely exhausted. (Mikkael A. Sekeres, 6/14)
The New York Times:
The Digital Sex Lives Of Young Gay Teenagers
Last summer in Wisconsin, a mother came home to find her 15-year-old son running up the stairs from their basement. He yelled that a man had broken into the house and raped him. A police officer apprehended Eugene Gross, who was 51 years old and H.I.V. positive, in a nearby backyard. Authorities later learned that the teenager had met Mr. Gross on the gay hookup app Grindr and that they had met for sex before. Last month, Mr. Gross was sentenced to 15 years. The victim’s father broke down in court, saying, “The man sitting here, he destroyed my life, my kid’s life, my family life.” It’s common for gay, bisexual or questioning minors to go online to meet other gay people. It’s normal for these kids to want to explore intimacy. But most online social networks for gay men are geared toward adults and focused on sex. (Jack Turban, 6/13)
Do We Keep Waiting For The Next Pandemic Or Try To Prevent It?
News of the latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is an urgent reminder that we need to change the way we fight disease, and we need to do so now. Over the last few decades, the number of disease outbreaks has more than tripled, culminating in three major epidemics in recent years — Ebola, yellow fever, and Zika. Despite this, governments often respond to outbreaks only once they occur, rather than investing in ways to stop them in the first place. If this continues, there will be a growing risk that we will not only undermine the great progress that has been made in fighting infectious disease, but we could even see a resurgence of highly preventable diseases that were previously in decline. Global trends are steadily altering the global health landscape, making it easier for disease to spread. (Seth Berkley, 6/14)
San Jose Mercury News:
Low's Legislation Will Help Reduce Opioid Abuse
We are hopeful that efforts at the state level, such as the legislation authored by Assemblyman Low, will help physicians ensure that patients who truly need opioids are able to obtain them, while identifying the few physicians who persistently overprescribe and the patients who are doctor-shopping or otherwise misusing these powerful drugs. These policies must be based on evidence-based guidelines for opioid prescribing, non-opioid alternatives, compassionate pain medicine, and humane treatment of dependence and addiction. (Karen Sibert, 6/13)