Further Funding Is Necessary to Find Treatment for Those Suffering From Mental Illness and Drug Abuse

Currently there is no shortage of people suffering from drug addictions. Whether it be narcotics or alcohol, people are fighting abuse problems all around the globe. Unfortunately, a large number of these people are also dealing with a co-occurring mental illness, making rehabilitation even more difficult. People with some type of mental disorder are twice as likely as the general public to develop a substance abuse problem. An estimated 20% of people with mental illness are also suffering from substance abuse. These individuals usually require more hands on treatment than those who only have addiction problems. Unfortunately, with the rising number of addicts, finding rehab centers is becoming more difficult. However, according to newsplex.com, the state of Virginia recently received a grant amounting up to $1 million to put towards community behavioral health clinics for mental and substance abuse disorder treatment. “These grants will help Virginians with mental and substance abuse disorders receive the services they need,” said United States Senator Mark Warner. “It’s incredibly important that we work closely with community clinics to better integrate behavioral services with physical services, and work together to improve quality and access to care.” They plan to improve the quality and access individuals in need have to behavioral care by strengthening payment options and improving the use of evidence-based practices. When these types of treatments are not available to drug abusers with mental disorders, the consequences can be dangerous. Cleveland.com reported on Roy Griffith, a man who was recently ordered to have a mental health evaluation as well as drug and alcohol assessments after being charged with kidnapping, felonious assault, using weapons while intoxicated, and inducing panic, all during a hostage crisis. These hefty charges are the result of substance use and a lack of antipsychotic medication. In court, Griffith’s mother revealed he has a history of mental illness, and in the days leading up to the event, he had ignored taking his medication while also drinking heavily. After confronting eight South Amherst firefighters responding to a brush fire, Griffith got an assault rifle and began threatening the firefighters while demanding they get him beer and antipsychotic medication. After two hours he eventually surrendered peacefully to a SWAT team. The judge set Griffith’s bond at $500,000 along with his mental and drug assessments.   Sources: Newsplex.com...

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Nebraska Hopes To Combat Economic Downturn in Midwest With Small Business Development Programs
Oct23

Nebraska Hopes To Combat Economic Downturn in Midwest With Small Business Development Programs

A new survey has suggested that an economic slowdown is in Nebraska’s near future, and eight other Midwestern states could be along for the ride, too. According to the Nebraska Radio Network, a second consecutive monthly survey of nine Midwestern states is showing an overall decrease in economic strength. The survey measured economic activity and various manufacturing sectors in the state of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. The Mid-American Business Conditions Index stated that the region’s overall economic activity index dropped from 49.6 in August to 47.7 in September, on a scale of 0 to 100 (with 0 being the lowest amount of economic growth and 100 being the most). Anything over 50, the survey researchers explained, signals economic growth. Nebraska’s index fell below 50 for the third straight month to 45.4 in September. The region’s agriculture and energy sectors have been hit the hardest, and both have seen a decrease in employment rates and in overall business confidence. Economists are worrying that these states could begin slumping down to 2009 levels of economic activity, but not if Nebraska legislators have anything to say about it. The Nebraska Department of Economic Development recently asked state residents to share their thoughts on a series of government funding programs for small businesses, reported Omaha.com, and the Nebraska Legislature has already approved a plan to direct $7 million annually in 2016 and 2017 toward these programs. Although a large part of these programs are expected to provide aid to rural areas, Nebraska officials seem to be in agreement that the state’s startup businesses need and deserve the same amount of attention and financial assistance. While a tech startup doesn’t have to worry about the same natural disasters as a farm does, tech-focused businesses are just as susceptible to their own types of natural disasters; cyber security threats, for example, seem to be infiltrating businesses left and right. Over 85% of small businesses in the U.S. reported a cyber security threat in 2012, and this can easily cost thousands of dollars more than a small business can afford to pay. While these risks can’t exactly be controlled by increased state funding, extra assistance can convince more entrepreneurs to take the risk of starting up a business. According to the Lincoln Journal Star, Nebraska consistently ranks below the national average for individual business growth, and the state has already recognized that it must equip its biggest cities with new technology and better infrastructure in order to convince young entrepreneurs to...

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Hands-Free Features Distract Drivers, New Study Finds
Oct22

Hands-Free Features Distract Drivers, New Study Finds

Most people know that distracted driving is a huge problem in the U.S. right now, but new research shows that the issue is far more serious than previously thought. At any given moment during the day, about 660,000 U.S. drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving. Consequently, more than nine people are killed and over 1,153 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver each and every day. Hands-free features, such as Siri, were designed to help keep people safe. However, a new study says it can take a driver 27 seconds to become fully alert again behind the wheel after using a voice-activated entertainment system. In other words, someone going 25 mph could travel the length of three football fields before his or her brain fully recovers from using a hands-free device to dial a phone number or change music. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety tested 10 different types of vehicles and the smartphone features Siri, Google Now, and Microsoft’s Cortana. It found that hands-free technologies can create mental distractions, even if the driver’s hands are on the wheel and eyes on the road. “They’re just not good enough,” Joel Cooper, a research assistant professor of psychology at the University of Utah where the research was conducted told the AP. “They make a promise that they are a safe alternative, but they just don’t always function as promised.” As David Strayer, another professor who worked on the study, explains, the distractions these hands-free features create aren’t small. “You’ve shifted your attention to interacting with the device, you stop scanning, you don’t anticipate hazards, you don’t notice things that are in your way,” Strayer said. “It’s kind of comparable to trying to balance your checkbook as you’re driving down the road. No one would do that.” The AAA is sharing its findings with lawmakers and government agencies, and urging drivers to be cautious with their voice command systems, even if the car is...

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Study Shows Positive Benefits of Gardening for Women on Long-Term Sick Leave

You don’t have to give most women a reason to garden, but a new study has shown that it may be helpful for much more than growing beautiful flowers. According to YubaNet, a study conducted at Sahlgrenska University found a direct correlation between gardening, active job coaching, and returning to work for women on long-term sick leave. The study was funded by a government initiative to determine why more and more women were taking long-term sick leaves from their job. The goal was to aid them in recovery and get them back to work as quickly and safely as possible. Eva Liden, a researcher who led the study, says that women are grossly over-represented in national studies of those who are chronically ill, and hopes these new findings will aid those who struggle to both improve their health and get back to work. “A combination of garden therapy and coaching strengthened the participants’ physical and mental health, and led to the women reporting improved vitality and social capabilities. Therefore, we conclude that this model should be considered during rehabilitation of certain women on long-term sick leave,” said Liden. Active job coaching refers to supported employment, which was administered by researchers in conjunction with a focus on gardening and enjoying the outdoors. The top reasons people usually garden include being outdoors (44%), being around beautiful things (42%), escaping the pressures of everyday life (39%), and staying active (35%). Researchers believe that a combination of these things can go a long way in increasing the self-worth and physical wellness of a woman on sick leave. According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, only about 13% of all workers have access to paid leave from their employer, and less than 40% are privy to medical leave through employer-provided short-term disability insurance. The gardening study included women between the ages of 21 and 62 who had received economic support in the past, as well as those whose physical and mental health were deemed poor. Researchers hope that these findings will empower women to better themselves in a natural, healthy...

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Online Fundraiser Nets Over $32,000 and Counting to Donate Water Filters to Underdeveloped Countries

The internet often gets a bad reputation, but one organization is using the web to provide clean water to thousands of families around the world who desperately need it. According to Sustainable Brands, non-profit Water for Life has teamed up with water filtration company Sawyer to launch an Indiegogo campaign in an effort to bring sustainable water solutions to families in underdeveloped countries. The project is raising both funds and awareness that will help families and villages throughout struggling countries such as Cambodia, Kenya, and India. The money raised will go towards buying personal MINI water filters, which remove dangerous contaminants from drinking water, for the less-fortunate. Thus far, the campaign has reached its initial goal of $25,000 just days after being posted, currently standing at $32,000 with over a month left for people to donate. In the United States, about 48 million people receive their drinking water from private wells. This number is much higher in underdeveloped countries that lack a municipal water treatment system, and the personal filters aid in extracting the chemicals that lurk deep inside of untreated wells. According to The Water Project, a staggering 80% of illnesses in underdeveloped countries can be directly attributed to poor water conditions. Even more disturbing, about one in five deaths of children under the age of five around the world are caused by a water-related disease. Water for Life intends to drastically reduce these numbers through their campaign, which the organization hopes will benefit over 16 third-world countries by the time of its completion. “Clean water is a basic human need, but not available to 1.4 billion people around the world,” says Water for Life founder Rudy Shaffer. “I have traveled to many countries where children are in desperate need of safe drinking water…We see the immediate difference and impact in people’s lives from this amazing technology.” A $1 donation to the campaign will go towards raising awareness of this global health crisis. For $35, a water filter will be shipped directly to a needy family. In total, Water for Life has already shipped over 4,000 water filters around the...

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