Viewpoints: Will A Tobacco Ban Be Successful?; Dealing With The US Mental Health Emergency
Editorial writers weigh in on these public health topics.
New Zealand Is Banning Tobacco. Should The World Follow?
If you’re a smoker who wants to indulge your habit while gazing over the mountains of the South Pacific, you’d do well to move fast. New Zealand last week announced plans to become the first nation in the world to ban tobacco.Prohibition won’t happen overnight. Instead, the country will raise the legal smoking age each year, so that people born after 2008 will never be allowed to puff. That will eventually mean that tobacco smoking — a practice that’s been prevalent in the Americas for thousands of years, and spread around the world after Christopher Columbus introduced it to Europe — may finally start disappearing from one corner of the planet. (David Fickling, 12/12)
Los Angeles Times:
Burned-Out Healthcare Workers And 'Muffin Rage'
On a dreary morning more than 20 years ago, I was a resident in internal medicine putting in 80-hour workweeks for what amounted to about $5 per hour when I passed through the revolving door of our fancy new hospital atrium and was confronted by a large banner announcing: “RESIDENT APPRECIATION DAY.” Underneath it was a folding cardboard display with stock photos of suspiciously happy, smiling young people in scrubs — and a large plate of muffins. (Jillian Horton, 12/12)
The Boston Globe:
The Country’s Mental Health Crisis: A Pandemic Within The Pandemic
Picture this: You are a junior in high school. During the social isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic, your mood progressively worsened. In addition to feeling down most of the time, you found it difficult to sleep and concentrate on schoolwork. You had to push yourself to do things, and your appetite diminished. Then you thought about jumping in front of a car and killing yourself. That is when you finally told your parents, who, frantic and worried, brought you to the nearest hospital emergency room. You are told you are suffering from a major depressive episode and need to be hospitalized for a few days to receive treatment. But there are no beds in the system, and you need to stay in the ER until one is found. That takes four days. You are then discharged from the facility after 10 days, the typical length of stay, with the plan to receive outpatient care. But you cannot find an available psychiatrist or a psychologist. And most of them do not take any insurance. (Maurizio Fava, 12/13)
The CT Mirror:
A Better Way To Help Keep Connecticut Children And Their Communities Safe
This school year has quickly proven to be different than any we have ever seen before. We’ve seen an increase in uneasiness, anxiety, outbursts and more mental health concerns among students of all ages. The desires to “catch up” academically or to “bring order” quickly may be understandable, but they are not achieving normalcy in the classroom. Instead, it is a recipe for higher stress and friction within classrooms and our communities. Simply put, this desire is exacerbating the longstanding mental health crisis in our schools and communities. (David Read Johnson, 12/13)
Now More Than Ever, Hospitals Must Be Employers Of Choice
To meet the needs of our patients during one of the worst workforce shortages in history, America's community hospitals must focus on becoming an employer of choice and attracting staff based on strength of mission, the ability for employees to be healers, the commitment to build a culture of respect and by providing opportunities for growth. (Christine Schuster, 12/10)
Patients With Metastatic Breast Cancer Share How They Live On With The Diagnosis
When I first told people I had metastatic breast cancer — Stage Four, MBC — I got two types of responses. The first was, "Never heard of it. What is it? "It means the breast cancer has migrated to your lungs, liver, bones and/or brain. It's incurable. (Ina Jaffe, 12/12)