Returning The Favor: Protecting Our Veterans

    It takes a special someone to take on the life of a soldier. For most, the risk versus reward is all the deterrent they need from taking on such a dangerous job. And it’s not just the soldiers who endure the rigors of service. Families of our country’s soldiers know all too well the anxiety, the collective holding of breath while their loved ones are away from the safety of home. But what happens when soldiers come home and are denied the support they were promised from day one?

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    Far too often, our veterans survive war-torn battlefields only to come home and fall victim to bureaucracy. Just one veteran slipping through the cracks is inexcusable, let alone the innumerable cases in existence. The numbers are proof enough of this terrible trend, and with less than 80% of claims being met by the government, the Veterans of our country are being treated to a modicum of the respect they deserve.

    With an average turnaround of eight months to a year for meeting claims, recent data shows that nearly 890,000 pensions and compensation for military personnel remain pending. What could be jamming up the gears? With more willing men and women joining our armed forces every day, how can we ensure they won’t fall victim to the same neglect?

    Analysts chalk up the lack of attention to a massive increase in the cost of running our military industrial complex. The projected cost of meeting the required benefits of our veterans, whether compensation for the disabled, pensions for low-income families or educational assistance is estimated at $76 billion. This figure is more than triple the amount in 2001, and it stands to reason that as our economy inflates, the funds needed to meet that rising tide would rise along with it.  The cost of maintaining the level of veteran coverage in 2022 is estimated to increase another 70%, projecting costs of nearly $130 billion.

    Though the rising cost to do business is a contributing factor to the delay in meeting veteran claims, the aging group of surviving Vietnam and World War II-era soldiers require care for the multitude of ailments brought on by old age. Cumulatively, one-third of veterans in need of aid are from Vietnam, exceeding the combined claims of the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

    Woefully understaffed, underfunded and unequipped to handle the amount of claims flooding their offices, clerks responding to claims are up against a wall. No one would willfully deny a soldier their due, but the ever expanding gulf of inadequate resources on both sides has left a chasm in which countless victims fall. Priorities must return to those who were willing to put others before themselves, lest the public stop caring about the welfare of their country’s military.

    Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/28/us/veterans-wait-for-us-aid-amid-growing-backlog-of-claims.html?_r=0



    Depression in Teens

    Symptoms of depression arise in people of all different socioeconomic backgrounds, cultures, and ages. Adolescents and teens are not immune to it, especially as they are experiencing a rather unsettling stage of life that includes going through a myriad of physical, emotional, psychological and social changes.

    Richard Battista Quincy

    Often teens overreact when things don’t go their way based on unrealistic academic, social and familial expectations that they are either putting on themselves or they are feeling from others. While most of these feelings are normal and subside over time, sometimes it can disrupt their daily lives, indicating a more serious emotional or mental disorder: adolescent depression.


    How to Cope

    Teens require guidance from trusted adults in order for them to take a firm grasp on the emotional and physical changes they are going through. Most importantly, they need to develop a sense of acceptance and belonging. Here are a few coping mechanisms to avoid serious depression:

    Make new friends: Emotionally healthy, stimulating relationships with peers are essential to helping teens’ level of self-esteem as well as providing an appropriate social outlet

    Participate: Whether it’s after school activities, sports, or diving into a personal hobby, staying busy helps teens stay positive and focused.

    Join youth-organizations: Catering to the needs of adolescents and teens, programs offered can help develop additional interests as well as cultivate more peer relationships.

    Recognizing Depression

    Despite best efforts and emotional support, teens can and will become depressed. Teens become more susceptible to depression as a result of a family history of depression, unavoidable life events, and even side-effects of certain medications.

    Adolescent depression is increasing at an alarming rate, with many of them self-medicating with drug, alcohol and sexual promiscuity. In order to avoid any serious implications, it’s important to recognize symptoms of depression, especially when they last for more than two weeks.

    Some symptoms include: poor academic performance, withdrawal from friends and activities, sadness and hopelessness, anger and rage, dysphoria, poor self-esteem, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts or actions.

    Treating Depression

    If left untreated, already-serious depression can become life-threatening, therefore it’s extremely important teens receive professional treatment as soon as symptoms are recognized.

    Different form of therapy can help teens understand the underlying causes of their depression while giving them the tools to cope with the stresses of daily life outside of therapy. A wide variety of therapies are offered in different formats, including individual, group, and family counseling.

    Recognizing the need for help is a giant step towards recovery for teens, yet few of them actually want to seek out help, and encouragement and acceptance from those supporting them is key.

    The most common and effective forms of adolescent depression treatment are:

    Psychotherapy teaches teens coping skills while providing an opportunity to explore troubling and upsetting events and feelings in a space space.

    Cognitive-behavioral therapy addresses negative patterns of thinking and behaving and provides teens the tools to change those patterns for the positive.

    Interpersonal therapy focuses on the relationships at home and school, often focal points in teens lives, and how to make them healthier.

    Medication often paired with an additional form of therapy, it can help relieve some serious symptoms of depression.


    A Screening for Mental Health

    The concept of checking in on your physical health has been ingrained since childhood; the yearly check-up with a general physician, the six-month check-ups with a dentist, and annual blood-work. We know the drill. But what about screening for mental health and depression, in particular?

    Richard Battista Quincy

    With nearly 350 million people suffering from depression globally, and more than half of people who commit suicide experiencing some form of depression, it seems screening for this, among other mental health disorders, is rather pertinent. Most, if not all of us, have experienced some overwhelming situations that cause extreme stress and sadness. And knowing the difference between what’s a transient episode and a chronic mental illness could be potentially life saving.

    That’s why Screening for Mental Health, Inc. created the National Depression Screening Day twenty-five years ago. Pioneered as the first, voluntary mental health screening initiative, it has now expanded to thousands of colleges, community-based organizations, and military installations providing the program to the public each year.

    The goal is by offering ways to get free screenings, people will start taking their mental wellness more seriously. “A check up from the neck up…makes a difference,” said Michelle Holmberg, director of programs at Screening for Mental Health, Inc. These screenings are paramount in not only helping individuals understand their mental ailments, but also understand, that while it won’t be overnight, there is a treatment for it.

    Not only will it be an illuminating experience for those participating in the screening, but for their loved ones as well. Experts stress the importance of persistence when it comes to encouraging others to get help and support is vital to success, and being there for that initial screening is the first step. “By offering to go with them, you’re not only being supportive, but you’re telling them that what they have is treatable and not just brushing it off as something that’s no big deal,” said Gregory Dalack, M.D., chair of the department of psychiatry at the University of Michigan.

    National Depression Screening Day, which will be on October 8th this year, is held annually during Mental Illness Awareness Week. While it offers a range of clinician-created evaluations as well as potential further evaluations and treatment options, the NDSD has a goal of addressing mental illness stigma in a more productive way. By creating awareness, a message of commonality amongst those diagnosed with disorders and a community of support will be perpetuated to the public.



    Meet Martha Beck, The Life Coach!

    At a California horse ranch on a mid-September afternoon, Martha Beck blindfolds two men and instrRichard Battistaucts them to think themselves as animals and using only their sense of hearing to tag each other. The crouching men, one pretending to be a mountain lion or bobcat, and the other pretending to be a monkey are a lawyer and tech executive respectively. Martha Beck, on the other hand, is a life coach and owner of the horse ranch. The men are there as part of a weekend getaway and training session, provided by Ms. Beck, which she calls “Escape from the Man Cage.” The purpose of this eccentric training exercise is to awaken the senses and instincts that have been deadened by desk jobs and smartphones.

    As the men stood frozen, neither making a move, Ms. Beck told them, “the way we do anything is the way we do everything.” Waiting for their turn were 10 other men, all of whom paid $3,000 to be there and take part in Martha Beck’s exercises. For years, Ms. Beck has been offering such weekend retreats, targeting individuals who may be unhappy with their current careers or lifestyles, but has so far mostly attracted women. However, believing that men too could use help, coaching and the chance to be happy, Ms. Beck has begun tailoring specific training sessions for men.

    The price tag, as hefty as it may seem, is well understood given Martha Beck’richard battistas meteoric rise in popularity and demand within the nearly $2 billion coaching industry. Ms. Beck is well known among female-centric circles, particularly among women who are fans of The Oprah Winfrey Show, on which she has made guest appearances, or the fans who read her monthly column on O, Oprah Winfrey’s magazine. In 1999, Martha Beck published her best-seller, “Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth and Everyday Magic,” about her journey with her middle-son, Adam, who was diagnosed with down syndrome in-utero. After appearing on Oprah in 2000, her coaching services were in such high demand that she formed her own company, Martha Beck Inc.

    Martha Beck has turned her life coaching services into a multimillion dollar business, with clients like General Electric and individuals spanning across various career fields. Part of Martha Beck Inc. is also dedicated to training new people in becoming life coaches and passing on the “Martha Beck method.”


    Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/29/business/the-merchant-of-just-be-happy.html


    Smoking Effects Weight Stability?

    Nicotine is a very addictive substance and is highly contained in cigarettes. Cigarette smoking is usually higher in substance and alcohol addicts. Smoking generally harms and reduces blood circulation to your vital organs. Moreover, this terrible habit can lead to heart disease and or speed up progression of diseases to those who are already prone to it. cigaretteFor those who smoke regularly, a lost of appetite is normally experienced due to nicotine cravings. This is one of the most un-healthiest ways to lose weight due to the fact that most smokers tend to skip one or more meals and decide to smoke instead. Although the weight lost is relevant, the body is not being fed adequate energy, minerals and nutrients.

    On the other end of the spectrum, some also gain weight while smoking. This is a result of becoming stationary while smoking and eating high calorie foods. According to drugabuse.com, weight gain is a common problem for individuals who stop smoking. It seems to be linked with substituting food with prior smoking habits. Due to the weight gain, it is extremely hard for most to follow through with quitting. For those who do not quit risk suffering from:

    • Heart disease
    • Heart attack
    • Lung disease
    • Lung cancer
    • Stroke
    • Diabetes
    • Arthritis
    (Source: http://drugabuse.com/guides/substance-abuse-and-weight-change/#c05)