May is Mental Health Month and this year’s theme is Risky Business. Mental Health America wants to educate people about how certain behaviors and habits can affect mental health. These include risky sex, drug misuse, internet addiction, excessive spending, and problematic exercise routines. Mental illnesses affect almost everybody whether it is short term, long term, severe, or mild. According to a study, after following people ages 11-38, only 17% were able to avoid some sort of mental illness! Depression, anxiety, and substance abuse were the top three findings in the study.
College is a huge life transition. It is an exciting experience, but it is also full of stress and pressure to do well academically and socially. Did you know that 75% of all mental illnesses begin to show up by age 24? That makes college a critical time to become aware of the signs and symptoms of a mental illness. It is important for students to get help as soon as possible. Fortunately, the rates of students getting help has been increasing over the years, although it is difficult to determine how effective their help and treatment is.
The following link is a guide to common mental illnesses in college students. It provides coping strategies and advice to those who may be struggling with a mental illness, or those whose friends may be struggling. This link is also a great source to learn more about each mental illness.
Mental illness is serious, and it is not something to be embarrassed about. There are people available who want to help. Here at MSUM, Hendrix Clinic and Counseling Center is a place to go for help! Evaluate your behaviors. Are they risky? If you or a friend are showing signs of a mental illness, don’t be afraid to utilize your available resources!
This Saturday there is going to be a series of marches and protests occurring in 358 cities in the United States and over 500 world wide. The March for Science is the first event of it’s kind. It is a call for support from all students, science-based careers and anyone who benefits from scientific advances (psst that’s everyone). It’s a nonpartisan even that is urging policy makers to look at evidence based practices and scientific data to influence their policies and ruling instead of money.
You can find a city near you here that is holding a march. The Fargo/Moorhead area is holding a large one that is expecting several thousand visitors. Here are some of the missions or goals that the March for Science hopes to achieve.
Evidence-based policy and regulations in the public interest. They wish for policy makers to make decisions not altered by other agendas.
Cutting-edge science education. They believe that a science background isn’t only for a select few, the entire majority of the population should be able to interpret scientific literature.
Diversity and Inclusion in STEM. This comes into play with the previous mission, they wish to have an outreach in education.
Open, honest science and inclusive public outreach. Several policies that have been passed recently have banned or limited the exchange of scientific literature and dialogue. By restricting access to the newest information, the governmental body is harming it’s people.
Funding for scientific research and its applications. Under the proposed 2018 budget, all scientific bodies with federal funding will see a cut from 10% to 31%. They wish to change so that we are capable of producing more advancements.
In the few months that this has been planned, they have partnered with over 300 different scientific agencies and centers. Here is their page for the MN marches specifically. They have several social media accounts; check them out on Facebook, Twitter,and Instagram.
Take a deep breath, now let it out. The air you just breathed in was probably refreshing at best, tolerable at worst. You might have noticed the onion or tuna you ate, but that was the worst of it. The next time you drink water, look at it. Is it clear? Probably. Is it colorless? Again, most likely. Is there water in your cup? Well duh.
Never before have these two things been at risk before, drinking and breathing, in the human existence time frame. With the help of globalization and a population boom, humans are having a profound effect on the world. We haven’t had to come to terms that it won’t last forever, because we’ve never had to worry about that in the past.
For the first time in human existence, carbon levels have risen above a threshold it has never crossed before. It didn’t just stop there; the current levels of carbon are sitting at 133% of that threshold. This rise in carbon is having an increased effect, often called the Greenhouse Effect. Due to this warming, there are many changes that are taking place in the world.
Professor Wallace recently gave a seminar on climate change here on campus and the effects that it has on human health. In her presentation she introduced us to some interesting points. A warmer world, even by 2 or 3 degrees Celsius shifts the mosquito habitat. More people will be exposed to mosquito borne disease and for longer times; Zika, Yellow Fever, Dengue, West Nile and the list goes on. Currently 3.6 billion are at risk for these diseases. With a temperature increase that number could rise up to 5 billion. Allergies will worsen as their window widens also. Flooding will increase, as will hurricanes and tornadoes.
Some cities have to issue warnings over smog exposure. It is estimated that of the 10 million deaths every year in China, 1 million is caused by pollutants. Exposure to all these new chemicals is wreaking havoc on our bodies and the environment. In addition to this smog exposure, there is an increasing amount of people with other respiratory problems such as asthma. In 2001, 1 in 14 people had asthma. In 2009, 1 in 12 people. That is the most recent number, although the CDC projects that as many as 1 in 10 people have asthma today.
The goal of Earth Day is to bring awareness to all these issues. It is trying to create scientifically literate people who will in turn be scientifically literate voters on environmental policies. They aim to change the direction of the world towards more green energy, jobs and technology. They hope that by 2020 a majority of the population will be able to understand the scientific literature that affects their lives and environments.
The first Earth Day was held in 1970, and attendance was well above what anyone was expecting. 20 million people, roughly 10% of the population, joined the rallies and marches. It has been one of the most effective awareness days because it is bipartisan for the most part. After that first celebration, the government felt pressured into creating the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air, Clean Water and the Endangered Species Act were also created.
Here are some more facts about Earth Day and our environment.
There is roughly 155 billion pounds of plastic in the ocean and roughly 9 billion is added every year
We will only be able to fill 60% of the world’s water needs by 2030 without better management
The Montreal Protocol signed in 1987 banned many chemicals that were ripping a hole in the ozone. Thanks to that act, the ozone is now healing and the hole is closing.
A convention was held in 1997, the Convention on Biological Diversity. Here many countries around the world pledged that they would work to sustain a diverse biosphere starting in their own countries.
The Renewable Portfolio Standard is an aggressive self- proposed bill in California that says that the state has to get half their energy from renewable sources by 2030. Many states followed, but theirs is the most ambitious.
In 2012 the Earth Day Network planted 1 billion trees to try and bring back forested areas.
Here’s a question for you, let’s see if you can get it. Which of the following are duties, accomplishments or topics based in Public Health?
Creating local food markets
Seeing patients and diagnosing illnesses or disorders
Setting the Minimum Wage
Eradication of smallpox and near eradication of polio
Setting speed Limits
Advises individual treatment options to patients
The answers are local food markets, setting a healthy minimum wage, the eradication of smallpox and speed limits. The other two options, diagnosing illnesses or disorders and advising treatments, may seem like the right answer, but these are actually the duties of healthcare professionals.
Public Health is population focused while healthcare is individual focused. Food markets are encouraged by public health specialists because they give local fresh food instead of fast food which would possibly lower the obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease rates for that neighborhood or city. Setting the minimum wage at an appropriate level that it would allow individuals to cover their basic health needs and decrease the amount of money lost in the healthcare system and economy do to poverty. By use of mass vaccination, Public Health specialists were able to make it so that next to no one gets polio and no one gets small pox. Instead of treating, they prevented and averted the continuing disability and death caused by these diseases. Speed limits was a tricky one, but they are set by public health at levels that decrease accidents.
It took hundreds of thousands of generations to get the life expectancy up to about 40 years at the beginning of the 1900’s. Thanks to public health efforts and an advancement in medicine we have added 30 years to that in three generations. While this is great, the United States is ranked 34th for life expectancy. One of the goals of National Public Health Week is to create the healthiest country in just one generation, by 2030.
Now, can you think of some careers or people that you would consider in public health? You can probably think of health educators, either in high school or community level. If you know the fancy term epidemiologist you’re right on the money. Here are some examples of people that this week is honoring.
All High School teachers- By educating the young to graduation, you decrease the chances of poverty
Environmentalists- Having a healthy environment, both for work and play, has a tremendous impact on our overall health
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counselors- A healthy mind is also included in being considered a healthy person.
Environmental Health Emergency Response Expert- These are the people that coordinate for disaster relief during an earthquake, hurricane, flood or other disaster.
Consumer Safety Officer- These are the people that make sure producers are following the FDA’s regulations and guidelines to ensure that the food supply is health.
Researchers- Be it Vaccine, Treatment, Development or any other kind, they play an essential role in moving our health forward.
There are many more and the list would go on and on if everyone was put on here.
This month long observation is recognized in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. In the U.S. alone there are 2 million cases of self-injury reported annually, mostly among youth. It’s time to end the stigma of self-harm.
Self injury is any deliberate, non-suicidal behavior that inflicts injury on one’s body. Although self injury is not a suicidal behavior if the emotional trauma that causes one to self-harm continues it can lead to suicidal thoughts or actions. People often self harm as a way to confront emotional pain. When most people think of self-harm they often think of cutting, but there are many other forms. Actions such as burning, scratching, consuming harmful products such as bleach, pulling out clumps of hair, bruising, and breaking bones are all forms of self-injury. Self-injury is a coping mechanism and is seen as another way to deal with the emotional pain that many experience, but have difficulty handling or processing. Self-injury occurs across all ages, genders, races, and beliefs. If you know someone who self injures reach out to them and follow the tips below to do so successfully.
Get angry or show disgust. Negativity alienates and ultimatums only drive the person away from you.
Deny the problem. It’s not the person’s problem or just one of his/her ‘things’. It’s not a fad, social statement or a phase he/she will grow out of.
Hide sharp objects. If the person wants to self-injure, he/she will find a way.
Judge the severity of the injury as an indicator of the level of emotional pain. A severely depressed person might only have scratches instead of cuts.
Assume the person is okay once in treatment. Recovery from self-injury can take months, maybe even years.
Stay calm. Freaking out won’t solve anything. It will just close all lines of communication.
Talk. Be non-judgmentally supportive. Ask “Why are you doing this to yourself?”
Take the problem seriously. It’s not about attention-seeking or a growing pain.
Seek treatment. Accompany the person to the doctor or counselor but don’t be pushy about privacy.
Find the triggers. Focus on the underlying problems rather than just the injury.
Trust the person. Self-injury is just a small part of the person.
It’s time to end the stigma of self-injury and help those who self-injure. Visit the links below for more resources on helping individuals and how to end the stigma.
The roots of Women’s History Month can be traced to the first known Women’s History Week that was celebrated in 1978 in Sonoma County, California. From then the movement slowly spread to other cities and gained support from President Carter declaring March 8th National Women’s History Week. March had been declared Women’s History Month in 14 states by 1986. The National Women’s History Project and other lobbying groups used this as evidence when discussing with Congress to declare March as Women’s History Month nationwide. Congress made the declaration in 1987. Since then the movement has grown each year.
There are events nationwide that last all month long to celebrate Women! Here are a few in the area.
On March 22nd from 11:00-1:00 you can attend the Leading Ladies Luncheon at Fargo Holiday Inn to hear from leading local women about their successes and business stories.Be sure to register by March 15th using the link below.
The Fargo-Moorhead area and campus itself are full of events, opportunities, and cool activities to get involved in!
On campus you can:
Join a student organization
Attend a lecture series
Start a student organization
Join an intramural sport
Attend the Fall Festival today in the Campus Mall
Get a job on campus
Attend a Dragon Athletics event
There are a ton of opportunities! To learn more about student organizations and events taking place visit Dragon Central. If you’re interested in working on or off campus visit Dragon Jobs. Log in at both sites using your StarID and get active on campus! Dragon Athletics schedules are up for view at msumdragons.com.
In the FM Area you can:
Go to College Night at Sky Zone
Get a job
Volunteer at the humane society or food pantry
Go to the Plains Art Museum (students get in free with ID)
Go to discount night at the movie theater! (Tuesdays all tickets $5 and Thursdays all students with ID get a free popcorn and $5 tickets.)
Go to a Fargo Force Game- students with ID get discount tickets
Fargo and Moorhead are full of fun stuff to do as well as amazing cultural opportunities. Take advantage of the deals offered to students all while getting more familiar with the community! If transportation is an issue the MATBUS offers free rides to students and Doyle’s Cab offers a student discount.