Her mother doesn’t get why she’s depressed. So she explains the best way she knows how.

Sabrina Benaim’s Explaining My Depression to My Mother” is pretty powerful on its own:

But, in it, her mother exhibits some of the most common misconceptions about depression, and I’d like to point out three of them here.

Misconception #1: Depression is triggered by a single event or series of traumatic events.

Most people think depression is triggered by a traumatic event: a loved one dying, a job loss, a national tragedy, some THING. The truth is that depression sometimes just appears out of nowhere. So when you think that a friend or loved one is just in an extended bad mood, reconsider. They could be suffering from depression.

Misconception #2: People with depression are only sad.

Most people who have never experienced depression think depression is just an overwhelming sadness. In reality, depression is a complex set of feelings and physical changes in the body. People who suffer from depression are sad, yes, but they can also be anxious, worried, apathetic, and tense, among other things.

Misconception #3: You can snap out of it.

The thing with depression is that it’s a medical condition that affects your brain chemistry. It has to do with environmental or biological factors first and foremost. Sabrina’s mother seems to think that if her daughter would only go through the motions of being happy that then she would become happy. But that’s not the case. Depression is a biological illness that leaks into your state of being.

Think of it this way: If you had a cold, could you just snap out of it”?

No? Exactly.

These are only three of the misconceptions about depression. If you know somebody suffering from depression, you should take a look at this video here to learn the best way to talk to them.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/her-mother-doesnt-get-why-shes-depressed-so-she-explains-the-best-way-she-knows-how?c=tpstream

Biosensing Tattoo Changes Color When Your Blood Sugar Levels Change

Having type 1 or 2 diabetes requires a person to always know what their blood sugar levels are. This normally takes time and can be quite invasive normally people prick their finger with a special device and place a small drop of blood on a testing strip. Others have a device implanted just under their skin that continuously measures their blood sugar levels and sends the information to an external device.

A team of researchers at Harvard and MIT have now come up with a rather curious alternative. Using a specialized ink, they have come up with a biosensing tattoo, one that will change color depending on your blood sugar levels.

Known as DermalAbyss ink currently still in the proof-of-concept stage and not available to the general public it is able to track pH levels, as well as sodium and glucose concentrations within your bloodstream. Too much glucose and the ink becomes brown. Too much sodium and it becomes green (under UV light, at least). Purples and pinks indicate a changing pH level.

The DermalAbyss ink presents a novel approach to biointerfaces in which the bodys surface is rendered as an interactive display, the team explain in a promotional video.

The dynamic ink isnt directly hooked up to your bloodstream, to be fair; its actually monitoring your interstitial fluid, a substance that surrounds the tissue cells of animals. Water, ions and small solutes including salts, sugars, fatty and amino acids and hormones are constantly making their way through this fluid across the walls of your capillaries.

At present, its only been tested on pig skin, which is very similar to our own. However, it definitely works but human trials are still required to see if its workable with patients. Are there any allergic reactions that people may have to the ink? Will the technology break down over time?

Still, its safe to say that this is a rather novel and elegant solution to a problem that hasnt really been addressed for some time. Only time will tell if it catches on. Its still invasive, of course but only at first, whereupon it then just becomes a part of your biology.

The researchers point out that the tattoo can take any shape or form you like, so each persons will be unique to them much like conventional tattoos.

We envision new participation between the biotech companies and skin professionalsin order to embrace the idea of human device symbiosis, they conclude.

[H/T: CBS News]

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/biosensing-tattoo-changes-color-blood-sugar-levels-change/

Teenage boys wear skirts to school to protest against ‘no shorts’ policy

Dozens of pupils at Isca academy in Exeter stage uniform protest after school insists they wear trousers despite heatwave

Some had borrowed from girlfriends, others from sisters. A few had gone the extra mile and shaved their legs. When the Isca academy in Devon opened on Thursday morning, an estimated 30 boys arrived for lessons, heads held high, in fetching tartan-patterned skirts. The hottest June days since 1976 had led to a bare-legged revolution at the secondary school in Exeter.

As the temperature soared past 30C earlier this week, the teenage boys had asked their teachers if they could swap their long trousers for shorts. They were told no shorts werent permitted under the schools uniform policy.

When they protested that the girls were allowed bare legs, the school no doubt joking said the boys were free to wear skirts too if they chose. So on Wednesday, a handful braved the giggles and did so. The scale of the rebellion increased on Thurday, when at least 30 boys opted for the attire.

Quite refreshing was how one of the boys described the experience, pointing out that if even Royal Ascot had allowed racegoers in the royal enclosure to remove their jackets, then the school ought to relax its dress code. Another said he rather enjoyed the nice breeze his skirt had afforded him.

A third, tall boy said he was told his short skirt exposed too much hairy leg. Some of the boys visited a shop on their way to Isca the name the Romans gave to Exeter to pick up razors to make sure they did not fall foul of any beauty police.

Ironically, the temperature had dropped in Exeter to a more manageable 20C, but some boys said they had enjoyed the freedom afforded by the skirts and that they might continue.

The school said it was prepared to think again in the long term. The headteacher, Aimee Mitchell, said: We recognise that the last few days have been exceptionally hot and we are doing our utmost to enable both students and staff to remain as comfortable as possible.

Shorts are not currently part of our uniform for boys, and I would not want to make any changes without consulting both students and their families. However, with hotter weather becoming more normal, I would be happy to consider a change for the future.

It was too late. The revolution was picked up by media organisations across the globe, and Devon county council was forced to help the school out with inquiries. A spokesperson said: About 30 boys arrived at school this morning wearing school skirts. None of the boys have been penalised no one was put in isolation or detention for wearing a skirt.

The mother of one of the boys who began the protest said she was proud of him. Claire Lambeth, 43, said her son Ryan, 15, had come home earlier in the week complaining about the heat. He said it was unbearable. I spoke to a teacher to ask about shorts and she said it was school policy [that they could not be worn]. I did say this was exceptional weather, but they were having none of it. If girls can wear skirts, why cant boys wear shorts?

Ryan came up with the idea of wearing a skirt, so that evening we borrowed one. He wore it the next day as did five other boys. Then this morning I didnt expect it to take off like that. The school is being silly really this is exceptional weather. I was very proud of Ryan. I think it was a great idea.

Another mother said: My 14-year-old son wanted to wear shorts. The headteacher told them: Well, you can wear a skirt if you like but I think she was being sarcastic. However, children tend to take you literally, and because she told them it was OK, there was nothing she could do as long as they were school skirts.

A third mother said: Children also dont like injustice. The boys see the female teachers in sandals and nice cool skirts and tops while they are wearing long trousers and shoes and the older boys have to wear blazers. They just think its unfair that they cant wear shorts in this heat.

There were signs that the revolution might be spreading. The Guardian has heard of at least one more school in Wiltshire where one boy turned up in a skirt, although it did not go down quite so well with his friends.

And schoolboys were not the only ones making controversial dress choices because of the heat. Michael Wood, who works as a porter at Watford general hospital, claimed he was facing disciplinary action from his employers Medirest for rolling his trousers up to try to cool down. A spokesperson for the company declined to comment on the case, but said: The health and safety of our colleagues is always our number one priority.

What happened to summer school uniforms? Matthew Easter, managing director of the schoolwear supplier Trutex, said they had become less popular for reasons of economy. Its really up to the individual school to decide, but the headteacher is in a difficult position. A decade or so ago, summer wear was more popular, but theres been a change recently to try to make uniforms as economical as possible. Summer uniforms are only worn for a matter of weeks.

If parents havent bought uniform shorts, then some children may feel disadvantaged, so perhaps the decision in this case is simply down to fairness.

It may be that the weather will solve the problem for the school. The Exeter-based Met Office situated up the road from the school predicts pleasant, but not searing, temperatures over the coming week.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/jun/22/teenage-boys-wear-skirts-to-school-protest-no-shorts-uniform-policy

London fire: Six killed as Grenfell Tower engulfed – BBC News

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Media captionOne eyewitness said he saw people blinking lights within the building

At least six people have died after a huge fire raged through the night at a west London 24-storey tower block, and police expect that number to rise.

Eyewitnesses described people trapped in the burning Grenfell Tower, in north Kensington, screaming for help and yelling for their children to be saved.

Firefighters, who rescued many people, were called at 00:54 BST and are still trying to put out the fire.

Police say there may still be people in the building who are unaccounted for.

The ambulance service said 69 patients had been taken to six hospitals across London, with 18 in critical care. A further 10 patients made their own way to hospital.

During the night, eyewitnesses said they saw lights – thought to be mobile phones or torches – flashing at the top of the block of flats, and trapped residents coming to their windows – some holding children.

It is understood that “several hundred” people would have been in the block when the fire broke out shortly after midnight, most of them sleeping.

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Media captionMickey, a resident of Grenfell Tower: ‘It was like a horror movie’

Commander Stuart Cundy, of the Metropolitan Police, said the recovery operation would be “complex and lengthy”, and the number of fatalities was expected to rise.

He declined to give any details of the number of people who may be missing.

He said it was likely to be some time before police could identify the victims, adding that it was too early to speculate on the cause of the fire.

An emergency number – 0800 0961 233 – has been set up for anyone concerned about friends or family.

At 13:00 BST, Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said firefighters expected to be on the scene for at least another 24 hours.

She said there were concerns that people were still inside the tower and she urged all residents to make sure they had reported themselves to police so that the authorities know they are safe.

‘Absolutely appalling’

Prime Minister Theresa May is “deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life”, said Downing Street.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt praised the “heroic” response from the emergency services and the NHS hospital staff “working tirelessly to help”.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is to demand a government statement in Parliament on Thursday on the tragedy, the BBC understands.

There must be a “full inquiry” into the fire, newly-elected Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad told the BBC.

Speaking outside the Rugby Portobello Trust emergency centre, the Labour MP said the fire was “absolutely appalling”.

“The ferocity of that fire was extraordinary and terrifying,” she said. “This must never happen again.”

Police and fire minister Nick Hurd was due to chair a cross-party meeting to look at how the government can assist the emergency services and local authorities.

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Media captionDavid Benjamin says he was woken by a neighbour banging on the door

Paul Munakr, who lives on the seventh floor, managed to escape.

“As I was going down the stairs, there were firefighters, truly amazing firefighters that were actually going upstairs, to the fire, trying to get as many people out the building as possible,” he told the BBC.

He said he was alerted to the fire not by fire alarms but by people on the street below, shouting “don’t jump, don’t jump”.

Eyewitness Jody Martin said: “I watched one person falling out, I watched another woman holding her baby out the window… hearing screams.

“I was yelling at everyone to get down and they were saying ‘We can’t leave our apartments, the smoke is too bad on the corridors.'”

Michael Paramasivan, who lives on the seventh floor with his girlfriend and young daughter, said he ignored official advice to stay in your home.

“If we had stayed in that flat, we would’ve perished. My gut instinct told me just to get the girls out. I wrapped the little one up because of the smoke and I just got them out.”

Another resident, Zoe, who lives on the fourth floor, said she was woken by a neighbour banging on her door.

“The whole landing was thick with smoke. The smoke alarms weren’t going off but the way it spread so quickly from the fourth floor, all the way up to the 23rd floor was scary.”

At the scene

Image caption Mirna, Fatima and Zainnb are among those missing

By Lucy Manning, BBC News

They have lost their homes and for some, tragically their relatives.

At times there is the sound of sobbing as the word goes round that someone is missing, someone is feared dead.

I’ve spent the day inside the community centre where survivors have gathered.

Downstairs in the hall families sit at tables and wait for news.

One family told me they hadn’t heard from their brother, sister and three children – Mirna, Fatima and Zainnb. Other relatives were out searching hospitals. There was still no news.

Outside the centre, Sawsan was with a group of women. For one it was too much, she was on the floor crying. Sawsan hasn’t heard from her mum, sister, brother-in-law and nieces. She spoke to them when the fire started but nothing since.

Inside the centre, families are being helped with food, housing and medical treatment. It’s busy and everyone is helping. Just not with the one thing they need – information about whether their relatives are safe.

Christabel told me how lucky her father had been. He tried to fight the fire but made it out alive.

Ed was saved when a friend called him to tell him to get out the building. “I’m lucky” he says. But they have lost everything.

Grenfell Tower, built in 1974, is part of the Lancaster West Estate, a sprawling inner-city social housing complex of almost 1,000 homes.

Robert Black, chief executive of the tower’s management company, the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, said: “The fire at Grenfell Tower is devastating and the reports of injury and losses of life absolutely heartbreaking.

“Along with my colleagues, I have been supporting residents since the early hours, working with the emergency services and the community.”

The BBC’s Andy Moore, who was at the scene through the night, described watching debris falling from the building, and hearing explosions and breaking glass.

Grenfell Tower, North Kensington

  • 120 flats

  • 24 storeys

  • 20 residential levels

  • 4 community/podium levels

  • 2016 refurbishment completed


Image copyright PA
Image caption London fire crews said it was a “large and very serious incident”
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There are 120 flats in the residential block

The London Fire Brigade said a structural engineer had checked the building and determined it was not in danger of collapse and that rescue teams were safe to be inside.

Initially, it was feared that the building, which appears to be gutted, could collapse.

Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was devastated by the horrific scenes, attended by more than 250 firefighters and 100 ambulance medics.

Questions will need to be answered over the safety of tower blocks, he told BBC Radio.

“We can’t have a situation where people’s safety is put at risk because of bad advice being given or if it is the case, as has been alleged, of tower blocks not being properly serviced or maintained,” he said.

Matt Wrack, of the Fire Brigades Union said something had clearly gone badly wrong with fire prevention procedures at the building.

Firefighters would normally fight a fire in a tower block from the inside, going up the fire escape, and fighting using the internal dry-rising mains, he said, but that’s not been possible in this case.

Construction firm Rydon said recent building work which it carried out on the block “met all required building control, fire regulation and health and safety standards”.

Image caption Refurbishment work completed in 2016 included more residential areas in the four lower ‘podium’ levels

Appeals are being made on social media for news of missing friends and relatives, who might have been caught in the blaze.

Emergency rest centres have opened for those now homeless at Latymer Community Centre, St Clement’s Church, Harrow Club and Rugby Portobello Trust. There are also local collections under way for spare clothes, toys, blankets and toiletries.

People are being advised by police to stay away from the area, where roads remain closed and nearby residents have been evacuated as a precaution.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The London Fire Brigade said a structural engineer had checked the building
Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption More than 70 people have received treatment in hospital
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Smoke could be seen from miles away

Safety concerns

Grenfell Tower underwent a two-year 10m refurbishment as part of a wider transformation of the estate, that was completed last year.

Work included new exterior cladding and a communal heating system.

The 24-storey tower, containing about 120 flats, is managed by the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) on behalf of the council.

Before and during the refurbishment, the local Grenfell Action Group claimed that the block constituted a fire risk and residents warned that site access for emergency vehicles was “severely restricted”.

Construction firm Rydon, which carried out the refurbishment, said it was “shocked to hear of the devastating fire” and added that the work “met all required building control, fire regulation and health and safety standards”.

Council leader Nick Paget-Brown said the buildings were regularly inspected, but a “thorough investigation” was needed.

Read more on safety concerns here.

Get news from the BBC in your inbox, each weekday morning

Are you in the area? Did you witness the events? Email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk with your stories. Do not endanger yourself.

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Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-40269625

Absurd Logic Health Gimmick Companies Expect You To Believe

You would think, given the obesity epidemic currently gripping America, those within the health industry would band together with scientists to, you know, help this country slim down its waistline.

But it turns out that’s a super silly thing to believe in, because the weight loss industry only cares about one thing: inventing ways to steal money from our desperate, chubby fingers. For example …


Entry by Scott Laffey

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And the winner is …

Congrats, AmyB8484. You win money.

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Cracked’s weekly Pictofacts and Photoplasty contests are open to all comers, and anyone with image manipulation skills can walk away with $25 – $100 per winning entry. Enter here.

We’re also looking for contest ideas and single-artist image sets. Pitch yours, here.

Also follow our new Pictofacts Facebook page, because you’re the hero we NEED right now.

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/photoplasty_2454_absurd-logic-health-gimmick-companies-expect-you-to-believe/

why do men suffer depression in silence?

When Kevin Braddock hit rockbottom, he had every intention of killing himself. He recounts what happened next and reveals why so few men ask for help

It was a Monday when Robin Williams killed himself three years ago Monday 11 August 2014. His death was shocking even if in hindsight it shouldnt have been a surprise that the worlds funniest man might also be the most sorrowful, too a person despairing to the point of ending it all.

Its a date I remember well, because Id spent the previous day trying to do the same thing. I was in the psychiatric ward of the Berlin hospital which Id been manhandled into by friends the day before, and I was waiting to see the doctor whod asked me to promise that I wouldnt kill myself.

In her consultation room Id thought about it for a while; Id already told her all I could about what led me to try to die. Id described the methods looping ceaselessly through my mind as I was slumped on the pavement near Berlins TV Tower: the gun, the noose, the blade, the pills, the bottle. The gun, the noose the mantra that would not stop. Since the only thing to hand was the nearby sptkauf (off-licence), Id resolved to drink my way to unreality.

Id told the doctor my history of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, drink, drugs, meds, love and fear, my crises of faith and existential dread, and all the other things that seem to go with being human in the 21st century. I had few words left in me, but mumbling through endless tears with my hands in my lap, Id mouthed the words to her: I promise.

I hadnt gone through with the act, but God knows Id wanted to wanted to end it all and wanted it all to end. I was outpatiented for a while, and friends and loved ones looked after for me. Three years later, they still do.

How had things got so bad? In 2009, fed up with London, I bought a one-way ticket to Tegel with vague plans to hang out for a couple of months and run the Berlin marathon. Two months turned into six, then a year and eventually half a decade in that beautifully confused city. In the teeth of this current crisis, Id been struggling to hold things and myself together at the magazine where I was working. Id begun, falteringly, to deal with the dependencies that had got a grip on me (Id long been a heavy, problematic drinker, and Berlin is an easy city in which to hedonise, although by the standards of Berghain regulars, I was a total lightweight).

Meanwhile, depression and anxiety, old adversaries which Id suffered incapacitating episodes with at 21 and 30, had begun ranging back on to my neurological horizons. Id also caught glandular fever, fallen in love, and turned 42 which, as readers of Douglas Adams know, is the meaning of life. I was perpetually stressed, exhausted and despairing at work and it didnt take much for the cascade to begin: yet another work problem, a row, some piece of bad news.

Looking back, Im surprised at how fast I unravelled, how the energyless fog of depression condensed into an electric psychosis, how despair became madness. One day, one of my editors had asked if I was all right. I said: No, Im not, and started listing conflicts and confusions. (I was also surprised that she asked: I mean, its generally not the way that bosses look out for their employees.) A few days later I was in hospital.

Madness comes at you fast, to paraphrase the social media clich.

None of this is to equate my life or story with Robin Williamss in any way, apart from to say that I made it through what the doctor wrote down as a schwere (major) depressive episode, whereas Williams didnt, and Im thankful that one of us is around to talk about this stuff. Above all, Im grateful I found the courage to ask for help.

Facebook gets a lot of stick these days, but in one sense it kept me alive, because Facebook was where I asked for help in a status update that Sunday afternoon which read: Im at the bottom now, can a German speaker come to St Hedwigs with me, I need help, along with my phone number.

I dont know how long Id been there, or how many bottles of Augustiner beer to the worse I was. But I do remember an alternative thought forming from the cognitive murk: I could ask for help. Sure, everyone would see what a pitiful, drunken, helpless, tearful state I was the opposite of what Id prefer to project, yet also the truth. But the thought came: theres another way. I couldnt speak, I seemed to have been silenced, but there was my phone I could test the limits of this thing which helps people (and I quote) connect with friends, family and other people you know.

Keep talking: Tom Chapmans Lions Barber Collective is turning a network of barber shops into safe spaces for men to open up in.

After a few minutes the phone went red hot, bleeping, flashing and ringing. I was hardly in a suitable frame of mind to process these messages, but looking at them a few days later, they said things like: Youll get through this; Stay positive; You are loved; and simply Love you. Some friends offered places in which to recuperate, others offered to come over. Not only was I ashamed at the alarm Id caused, I was also shocked at the volume of support that came through. There turned out to be more in the world than blank nothingness after all.

Help came, and rapidly. Friends took me to the hospital, and my life began to change.

Whether its an effect of social media or not, recently theres been a wave of men admitting to anxiety, depression or addiction, or of having attempted to kill themselves, or knowing someone whos seen the act through, problems which respect neither class, race, age or status and which, statistically and anecdotally, seem to be on the rise.

When Stormzy or Prince Harry admit that they, too, have feelings, struggles and doubts, these confessions challenge the Strength Myth which men have long laboured under. They also represent a tacit plea for help, a kind of Save me from what Im supposed to be, which usually means autonomous, successful, potent, dominant, along with all the other clichs of whats been termed hegemonic masculinity.

And when another male celebrity Ant McPartlin being the latest checks into rehab, you sense that the work being done by organisations such as the Campaign Against Living Miserably (which aims to raise awareness of mental illness and prevent suicide in men) or Tom Chapmans Lions Barber Collective (which is turning a worldwide network of barber shops into safe spaces for men to open up in) is vital.

People are opening up more instead of hiding; things are getting better, says Chapman from his salon in Torquay. Men are starting to feel comfortable talking to one another about their worries, problems and self-doubts, or going to see a GP or a health professional. Chapman decided to set up the Lions Barber Collective as a charity engaged with mens mental health awareness after a friend killed himself. Theres something about the relationship between a barber and their client where theres complete trust, he says.

The Campaign Against living Miserably cites figures from the Office for National Statistics that suicide currently stands as the biggest single killer of men aged under 45 in the UK. In 2014, there were 6,109 suicides in the UK, of which 76% were male. The ratio of male to female suicide has shown a sustained rise over the past 30 years. In 1981, men accounted for 62% of suicides, with the figure rising to 70% in 1988, 75% in 1995 and 78% in 2013.

All of which is why its heartening that in recent years the conversation on the meaning of masculinity has been growing in volume, running parallel to a wider openness on mental illness and health in society today.

The Royal Foundations Heads Together charity harnesses Princes William and Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge to a mission encouraging people to open up about these problems. At a speech given on World Mental Health Day in October 2016, Prince Harry said: Too often we think mental health problems are things that happen to other people, not us. But we will all experience pressure on our mental health at some point during our lives. The more we accept that, the better we can help each other. Catching it and recognising it early saves lives. Its time we ended the shame around mental health the fear of judgment that stops people talking or getting help.

When Stormzy admits he, too, has struggles, it challenges the Strength Myth which men have long laboured under. Photograph: Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage

A few months after my breakdown I returned to the UK and spent a deep, grey winter with my tirelessly patient parents, in the room where I grew up. News arrived one day of a family friend whod taken an overdose thankfully she survived. And on a train one evening I fell into an initially sheepish conversation with a woman in her 50s, each of us cryptically tiptoeing around what we both guessed was going on in each of us.

Well, Ive been ill, I told her, rather euphemistically.

Me, too, she said. Er mind if I ask what kind of ill?

It took some gentle work to overcome a barrier of shame between us, but once we had, the talk became extraordinarily candid and affirming. Shed been visiting her support group. She recounted details of her own psychotic episodes and an attempt to kill herself, then handed me an A4 pamphlet simply entitled My Story, which was heartbreaking along with being one of the bravest, most honest stories Id ever read. We made friends and resolved to stay in touch.

My own story developed, too. I spent a year living monastically in a friends boxroom in Bristol, discovering that recovery is a process rather than a destination, a project of constant modifications and setbacks with modestly miraculous breakthroughs that convince you that life is worth living. Things that have helped me include: learning, sobriety, therapy, meds, volunteering, tai chi, vitamin B, walking, talking, working and much more.

Something else helped. A few days after being taken to hospital, someone I hadnt seen for a decade read my Facebook message and wrote to say: From now on, Kev, be completely honest and open about this stuff. Confront it all head on. And seeing as youre a writer, write it all down. I was consoled by his concern, but also perplexed as to why he was so adamant about this tactic. It turns out his sister had taken her own life.

Recently I was back in Berlin to share the story I wrote down with the people who picked me up and kept me going. It turned into a book I made with my friend Enver, called Torchlight: a Publication About Asking for Help, which details my experiences of breakdown and recovery.

If that sounds like a rather crass sales pitch at the end of a story of common human dysfunction, Id counter that by saying that while we are overwhelmed by digital technologies these days, theres a striking lack of social technologies to assist people in asking for help, talking about their experiences, or sharing the methods they use to deal with the darkness. Facebook offered me the chance to ask for help, but any recovering Ive been fortunate enough to do has been social in the original sense of the word: person-to-person, with friends, family, therapists, study groups, recovery fellowships, sympathetic employers and colleagues, with people I met randomly on trains or in rooms, always in collaboration with others. Recovery is a social exercise that can be assisted but never replaced by digital technologies.

Something else I know now is that we fall apart, alone and in private, but we heal together, with others, the ones who arent shocked or scared by what they see when the mask of shame is removed.

At torchlightsystem.com you can buy Kevins book Torchlight, watch his short film and purchase Practice Cards which offer hints for daily living when suffering from depression and anxiety. The Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123, and Mind on 0300 123 3393

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/13/why-do-men-suffer-depression-in-silence

She fought to get a mat on the sand so her wheels could take her to the sea.

The day Gabrielle Peters started using a wheelchair was the day she started learning how to fight.

Peters is prickly, and it’s earned. For years, she clammed up in the face of condescending stares from strangers, platitudes from politicians, and second-class treatment from doctors. Now, when people try to “fix” her, she recommends they “take a good, long look in the damn mirror.”

When the housing complex where she lives in Vancouver was sold to a Mennonite group that forced residents to participate in prayers in the communal dining hall, she told Canada’s largest newspaper.

She doesn’t want to be saved, humored, or, worst of all, anyone’s “inspiration porn,” that flat, familiar treacle where a disabled person “overcomes” the odds to run cross-country, throw a javelin, or juggle a dozen chainsaws behind their back stories told mostly to remind able-bodied people how “good” they have it.

Peters wants equal health care, equal access, and equal rights. She also wants to go to the beach.

Until Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, it had been more than 10 years since Peters had been on the sand. “The world I exist in was not designed for me, and the people I exist with have all sorts of messed up ideas about me,” Peters says.

A self-proclaimed “city person,” the water is her favorite place to be. The forest is a close second. When Peters was discharged from the hospital after rehabbing from the autoimmune disease that required her to begin using a wheelchair, she was determined not to let her new mobility arrangement reduce her quality of life.

But, without a flat surface, determination means squat.

She tried hiking the “accessible” trail in the city’s expansive Stanley Park to no avail. The surface was uneven, the paving was intermittent, and the grade was too steep.

A photo Peters took of the trail in October, showing pebbles and pine needles over uneven dirt. Photo by Gabrielle Peters.

Accessibility, it turns out, is subjective.

At the beach, she would sit as close to the water as she could by a paved seawall far from the tideline while her friends lounged on on a sandy section nearby. When she left, her friends would get up and move closer to the water.

Unlike the United States, Canada does not have a major federal law mandating equal opportunity and access for people with disabilities.

While many Americans, particularly those who lean left, tend to view the country as a sort of “America Plus” what we could be if only our self-involved, short-sighted politicians rolled up their sleeves, delivered a killer Aaron Sorkin-style speech, and started working for the common good on disability, Canada largely relies on a vague statement of principles laid out in documents like the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, which calls for “equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination based on mental or physical disability.”

Efforts led by groups like Barrier Free Canada, Every Canadian Counts, and others to establish concrete, nationwide standards for accessibility, have thus far failed to produce legislation.

In the meantime, many disabled Canadians are forced to rely on the generosity of local governments and the tenacity of their fed up, pissed off peers like Peters to safeguard and expand their right to access public spaces.

In summer 2016, Peters (@mssinenomine on Twitter) began tweeting at the Vancouver Park Board, the agency responsible for the city’s beaches, demanding access to the shore.

The solution, she discovered, was 2,700 miles away, in Northern Bruce Peninsula, Ontario where the town had installed a flexible mat on the sand, allowing wheelchair users to glide all the way up to the waters’ edge.

If a tiny Lake Huron community of fewer than 4,000 people could get its disabled residents and visitors to the shoreline, Peters argued, her wealthy global city had no excuse.

The Park Board replied with a “survey of a plan of priorities for some time in the future.”

It felt insulting.

It turns out Vancouver city officials were indeed working on a solution having spent the previous two years searching for a way to open up the shoreline.

Park Board Chair Michael Weibe, who also sits on the Vancouver’s Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee, spends a lot of time on the road.

When he travels with his mother, who uses a wheelchair, he keeps a running note of “what works and what doesn’t,” based on her feedback as well as the feedback from residents who write and call his office with suggestions.

“Its always great to have such a healthy user group thats willing to share the information with us,” he says.

Part of the solution, it turned out, was in Vancouver’s own backyard.

The Park Board purchased a single MobiMat dirt cheap from an event company eager to sell it.

The low cost turned out to be a warning sign. The mat didn’t come with all the required parts, which required money the board hadn’t budgeted for and then had to find.

There was another problem too. Unlike Northern Bruce Peninsula, Vancouver has 14-foot tides. If the MobiMat was rolled all the way out to the water’s edge, parts of it would quickly be swallowed by the sea.

As a result, the mat sat in storage for the first few weeks of the summer.

Peters didn’t think she should have to wait for something able-bodied residents already had unlimited access to.

On June 23, she emailed a representative from the Park Board who had contacted her after her earlier tweets. She explained the feeling of dependency that comes with having to call in and request a beach wheelchair which are not self-powered in order to get on the sand. She explained the fear of leaving one’s wheelchair unsecured, and that many people have no desire to be pushed. She explained the longing she and others experience standing or sitting by the seawall, squinting at the waves meters away.

“I want on the beach now,” she wrote.

A member of the board followed up with a phone call a few days later. The hold up, he explained, was the missing parts, which were awaiting delivery.

For the first time, it was evident that someone was listening.

On Aug. 9, the city finally rolled out the mat at English Bay Beach.

Peters had been having health complications and had a doctor’s appointment scheduled for that day, but was determined to “soak in this tiny little win in a sea of inequality.”

And, of course, to “try it out and get close to my water.”

This time, her determination was met with the right piece of equipment.

She was nervous wheeling to it. As her chair edged on, the artificial surface slowed her pace, but did not leave her feeling “tippy or off balance.” She found that it wasn’t difficult to maneuver. A small gap in one section turned out to be easy to navigate.

A few minutes later, she caught the sunset.

“You’re a trailblazer,” an older woman told her.

Peters explained that she didn’t work for the Park Board, and she left to go get a hot dog. Back near the seawall, her former high water mark, she saw a man in a motorized wheelchair and told him about the mat. She watched him power over and down the path, stopping at the edge.

As she was leaving an hour later, she noticed he was still there.

“I never spoke to him, but I think I know how he feels about it,” she wrote on Twitter later that day.

Still, years of delayed promises have left Peters feeling anxious about the mat’s prospects.

“What if no one uses it?” she wonders. “What if it turns into an excuse to not make something else accessible because it wasn’t popular enough?”

The current setup is not perfect. Right now, there’s only one mat and the beach gets crowded. Also, it can’t really get that close to the shoreline because of the extreme rise and fall of the bay.

But there are signs the tide is turning. One of the first things Peters noticed was that there was no sign alerting beachgoers to the presence of the mat. If you didn’t already know about it, she realized, you would have no idea it was there.

Peters wrote the Park Board on Twitter. This time, they replied immediately.

Weibe notes that other residents have recommended creating more sitting areas adjacent to the mat to make it a social space. Recently, the Park Board purchased nine new wheelchairs with inflatable tires that can travel over sand to the water line, though they still require the aid of a friend or lifeguard.

A beach wheelchair. Photo by the National Park Service.

“Our goal is to have them at every beach because the call in [to get a beach wheelchair] is just another barrier,” Weibe says.

Peters agrees and has a million more ideas for what the city can do next.

She wants Vancouver’s beaches to get waterproof wheelchairs powered by compressed air for use in the ocean. She wants the Park Board to install a ramp by an area of stairs near the water. She wants adapted versions of the dozens of adventure activities in the city.

“I don’t get people who see this accessibility innovation as burdensome,” she says. “It’s fucking amazing and cool and requires the best kind of integrating of tech, design, ideas, and people.”

Gabrielle Peters knows how to fight. She fought to go to the beach and won. She’ll keep fighting until every space everywhere is accessible for everyone.

Until that happens, she’ll celebrate the small victory the way she prefers. By soaking in the salt air.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/she-fought-to-get-a-mat-on-the-sand-so-her-wheels-could-take-her-to-the-sea

Color Genomics goes beyond cancer with a test for heart health

Cancer and heart disease are the two leading causes of death in the United States. So far, Color Genomics has been focused on testing for mutations leading to a higher risk of certain cancers. But, today the four-year-old company is introducing a new category of genetic testing for cardiovascular health.

The new Color Hereditary High Cholesterol Testwill tell you if you have a genetic mutation for something called Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH), a hereditary condition that causes high cholesterol levels leading to coronary heart disease.

Possibly 34 million people are affected by the disease worldwide. About one in fifty people with high cholesterol have the mutation. The problem? Most people with the genetic mutation dont know they have it until they have a potentially fatal heart attack.

Like cancer testing, earlier detection of the mutation can prevent the disease, improve survival rates and reduce medical costs. And thats where Color hopes its new test can help.

We started with cancer because it was one of the leading causes of death and the science around genetics and cancer was well-established, Color chief marketing officer Katie Jacobs Stanton told TechCrunch. Similarly, there is well-established science around genetics and cardiovascular diseaseGiven that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death (and combined with cancer costs over $1.1trillion per year), we saw an opportunity to help more people learn their risk of developing hereditary cardiovascular conditions and proactively managing their heart health using genetic data.

Unlike at-home genetic tests like 23andMe, you order this one through your doctor. The test is $249 for new customers. However, those whove gone through Colors cancer testing can purchase the cardiovascular test for an additional $150.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/10/color-genomics-goes-beyond-cancer-with-a-test-for-heart-health/

Trans people react to the opening of a new clinic for trans kids and teens.

A new clinic geared toward St. Louis transgender teens hopes to be a sort of one-stop shop for supporting trans youth.

After opening the first week of August, St. Louis’ Transgender Center of Excellence is already booked through mid-September. It’s one location complete with mental health, hormones, and other essential services, and it’s getting rave reviews from patients already.

“Having support and acceptance is extremely important for this patient population,” Dr. Christopher Lewis, physician and founder of the clinic, told WGN News. “Transgender patients already deal with harassment and discrimination within the medical community and that is a barrier to them accessing care.”

A supportive medical environment is a big win for trans kids take it from others, like myself, who wish those resources existed when we were growing up.

On Twitter, I reached out to my trans followers to find out what this type of clinic would have meant to them when they were younger. A few common themes emerged.

For many, it would have meant help and support for themselves and their parents.

Others remarked on how a supportive environment would have encouraged them to stop hiding, sidestepping some traumatic early-life experiences.

It would have provided a sense of identity for those who felt alone and isolated, who never saw accurate reflections of themselves in the media.

Then, the emails started rolling in. “If I’d had the words, if I’d known the concepts, if I had a supportive and professional environment to turn to. I would have been able to live without a dysphoria that came close to killing me, repeatedly,” writes Alvhild Sand, a trans woman from Norway, about what a difference a resource like this would have made for her.

“It would have been fantastic if such a place had existed,” writes Gwyn Ciesla, another trans woman, who grew up in a “highly Catholic town in the 1980s” where she was “not exposed to LGBTQ ideas or openly LGBTQ people.”

“The only tools available were in the context of education, religion, and mental health, and were ineffective because they were incomplete,” Ciesla explains. “If I had known then what I know now, and a clinic like this had been available, it would have been life-changing.”

“Given what I did and didn’t know at the time, I might not have been able to get to the point where I could take advantage of the clinic’s services,” Ciesla admits, expressing hope that “the presence of the clinic might have at least increased the information available to me and helped me to understand and begin to accept myself years earlier.”

“I only survived my youth by a narrow margin, and I think this clinic might have widened that margin a lot. I hope this clinic can do that for youth now and in the future.”

The new clinic in St. Louis joins a handful of other trans-specific children’s medical programs across the country.

One of the most notable is the gender development services at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. The sad fact is that even though the Affordable Care Act effectively banned discriminating against people on the basis of their gender identity, many trans people continue to face either discrimination or confusion from their health care providers.

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality’s 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 33% of trans people who saw a health care provider in the previous year had at least one negative experience, were denied care, or had to actually teach their provider about trans patients. In other words, there’s a lot of work to be done, and taking steps to ensure trans people have competent, knowledgeable medical care is a work in progress.

The new clinic in St. Louis is a big step in the right direction, providing care and benefits for years to come.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/a-new-clinic-opened-for-trans-kids-heres-wha-it-means-to-the-community

U.S. Job Openings Surge to Record in Sign of Robust Labor Demand

A June surge in U.S. job openings to a record indicates demand for workers remained strong at the end of the second quarter, a Labor Department report showed Tuesday.

Key Takeaways

The gain in job openings underscores the need for workers in an economy that’s continuing to expand. At the same time, the pool of qualified Americans is shrinking and making some positions tougher to fill, one reason economists expect the monthly pace of hiring will eventually cool. July figures released last week showed payrolls increased more than forecast while the unemployment rate matched a 16-year low, as Americans came off the sidelines to join the labor force and many found work.

The JOLTS report also showed fewer people quitting their jobs, considered a gauge of workers’ willingness to voluntarily leave because they’re confident of finding a better job. That indicates faster wage growth, which has remained elusive in recent years, may still take time to materialize. The quits rate, which remains near its post-recession high, is among indicators of labor-market slack that Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen monitors.

Other Details

  • There were 1.1 unemployed people vying for every opening in June, down from 1.9 people when the recession began at the end of 2007
  • Most industries showed a pickup in openings, including record postings for health care and social assistance and gains for professional and business services; retail showed a decline
  • In the 12 months through June, the economy created a net 2.3 million jobs, representing 63.4 million hires and 61.1 million separations
  • Although it lags the Labor Department’s other jobs data by a month, the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report — or JOLTS — adds context to monthly payrolls figures by measuring dynamics such as resignations, help-wanted ads and the pace of hiring

    Highlights of Job Openings (June)

    • Number of positions rose by 461k, most in almost two years, to 6.163m (est. 5.75m) from upwardly revised 5.702m in May
    • Hiring fell to 5.36m from 5.46m; hiring rate held at 3.7%
    • 3.13m Americans quit their jobs, down from 3.21m; quits rate fell to 2.1% from 2.2%
    • Layoffs up slightly to 1.7m from 1.67m

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-08/job-openings-in-u-s-surged-to-record-6-16-million-in-june