Category : Stress

(NY Times) Record Level of Stress Found in College Freshmen

The emotional health of college freshmen ”” who feel buffeted by the recession and stressed by the pressures of high school ”” has declined to the lowest level since an annual survey of incoming students started collecting data 25 years ago.

In the survey, “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2010,” involving more than 200,000 incoming full-time students at four-year colleges, the percentage of students rating themselves as “below average” in emotional health rose. Meanwhile, the percentage of students who said their emotional health was above average fell to 52 percent. It was 64 percent in 1985.

Every year, women had a less positive view of their emotional health than men, and that gap has widened.

Read it all from the front page of yesterday’s paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Stress, Young Adults

Seena Fazel: The Line Between Madness and Mayhem

There has been a lot of speculation about whether Jared Lee Loughner, the man arrested for the Arizona shooting, has a severe mental illness. But is mental illness a sufficient explanation for his actions? Recent research has found that mental illness is, in fact, tied to an increased risk of violence””but it is not a simple relationship….

…the vast majority of patients with severe mental illness are not violent during their lifetimes. The largest and longest study of schizophrenia and violence, conducted in Sweden over the course of 30 years, found that only 13% of patients had violent convictions after receiving their diagnoses. For most patients, the risk of becoming a victim of violence is higher than the risk that they will commit violence.

Nor should we make the mistake of assuming that a correlation between mental illness and violence somehow establishes a causal connection between them. It may be that schizophrenia is simply a marker for other factors that increase the risk of violence. Of these factors, one of the strongest is alcohol and drug abuse. Estimates from the U.S. indicate that around half of patients with schizophrenia also have problems with substance abuse. One study in American urban centers found that nearly a third of patients who were discharged from the hospital and also diagnosed with substance abuse were violent within one year.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Alcohol/Drinking, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Mental Illness, Prison/Prison Ministry, Psychology, Stress, Violence

David DeGraw–Horrific Arizona Massacre Is A Sign of Tragedies to Come

As our economic conditions continue to deteriorate, mentally disturbed people like Jared Loughner are the first to breakdown and lose it, but there will inevitably be many to follow. This tragedy is not an isolated incident. In just the past few days there have been two more incidents. A lobbyist, who was the wife of a White House adviser, was found dead in a burning car. A man upset over his Social Security benefits threatened to set fire to Senator Michael Bennet’s office and shoot his staff. There have been dozens of similar incidents over the past two years. From John Bedell, the man who opened fire on the Pentagon, to Joe Stack, the man who had a tax dispute and flew his plan into the Austin, Texas IRS building, an increasing number of Americans are beginning to resort to violence as a last desperate act of vengeance.

We can dismiss and write off all of this as just crazy people doing crazy things and go back to living with our heads in the sand, business as usual, or we can begin the urgent task of fixing a society that is severely out of balance.

The choice is ours.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Health & Medicine, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Mental Illness, Politics in General, Psychology, State Government, Stress, The U.S. Government, Violence

Mental Health Needs Seen Growing at Colleges

Rushing a student to a psychiatric emergency room is never routine, but when Stony Brook University logged three trips in three days, it did not surprise Jenny Hwang, the director of counseling.

It was deep into the fall semester, a time of mounting stress with finals looming and the holiday break not far off, an anxiety all its own.

On a Thursday afternoon, a freshman who had been scraping bottom academically posted thoughts about suicide on Facebook. If I were gone, he wrote, would anybody notice? An alarmed student told staff members in the dorm, who called Dr. Hwang after hours, who contacted the campus police. Officers escorted the student to the county psychiatric hospital.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Psychology, Stress, Suicide, Young Adults

Stress and the High School Student

What can schools — and parents — do to relieve some of the résumé-building pressure that young people are feeling?

See what you make of the ideas suggested.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Psychology, Stress, Teens / Youth

A New NPR Series on Being Middle Class in America Today

Now government statistics are emerging to confirm just how dramatically life has changed for the middle class ”” roughly defined as that half of all U.S households making between $25,000 and $80,000 a year. The economic dead center is represented by households earning the median income of $49,777, according to a recent report from the Census Bureau. Of the 117 million households in the U.S. today, half make more than that amount, and half make less.

Consider these recent government statistics:

In 2009, median household income decreased in 34 states and increased in only one: North Dakota.
Nearly 4 million people fell out of the middle class last year and now live below the federal poverty line. More than 14 percent of the population is under that line, set at about $11,000 annual income for one person or $22,000 for a family of four.
In 2009, enrollment in Medicaid, the medical insurance program for low-income Americans, exceeded 48 million, or a record 15.7 percent of the U.S. population.
As of June, more than 41 million people were collecting food stamps. That was up by 6.4 million, or 18 percent, from the previous year.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Psychology, Stress, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly:Clergy Stress

[DEBORAH] POTTER: Joe Stewart-Sicking is an Episcopal priest who teaches pastoral counseling and studies why clergy are more stressed than most of us.

STEWART-SICKING: What makes the clergy vocation and occupation really different is that you work for God ultimately. If that work environment isn’t meaningful to you, you’re doing a lot of things like, you know, doing budgets or checking spelling on a bulletin, or office management, that’s going to really hit home, because you think your job should be about God.

POTTER: Add to that a new source of stress for many pastors in mainline Protestant denominations: as church membership dwindles they feel pressured to reverse the trend.

STEWART-SICKING: And a lot of pastors think that church growth is really the measure of their success, you know, and a lot of people are having to learn to deal with shrinking numbers, shrinking budgets, even closing churches.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Stress, Theology

Netflix lets its staff take as much holiday as they want, whenever they want ”“ and it works

….this non-policy yields broader lessons about the modern workplace.

For instance, ever more companies are realising that autonomy isn’t the opposite of accountability ”“ it’s the pathway to it. “Rules and policies and regulations and stipulations are innovation killers. People do their best work when they’re unencumbered,” says Steve Swasey, Netflix’s vice-president for corporate communication. “If you’re spending a lot of time accounting for the time you’re spending, that’s time you’re not innovating.”

The same goes for expenses. Employees typically don’t need to get approval to spend money on entertainment, travel, or gifts. Instead, the guidance is simpler: act in Netflix’s best interest. It sounds delightfully adult. And it is – in every regard. People who don’t produce are shown the door. “Adequate performance,” the company says, “gets a generous severance package.”

The idea is that freedom and responsibility, long considered fundamentally incompatible, actually go together quite well.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, Stress

Investing in clergy health

There is no doubt that the Rev. Chip Stokes of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is doing what he loves. But he needs a break.

The past few years have been filled with anxious periods: The parish had to cut its budget by $200,000 last year. Many people he knows are jobless, including members of his own family.

Congregants left, and donations declined during the national Episcopal Church debate over whether to ordain gay men and women, a loss that hurt the priest deeply. Stokes was considered twice but rejected as a candidate for bishop of other dioceses. He has begun to develop health problems, possibly related to the challenges of his work.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Stress, Theology

USA Today–Thousands strain Fort Hood's mental health system

Nine months after an Army psychiatrist was charged with fatally shooting 13 soldiers and wounding 30, the nation’s largest Army post can measure the toll of war in the more than 10,000 mental health evaluations, referrals or therapy sessions held every month.

About every fourth soldier here, where 48,000 troops and their families are based, has been in counseling during the past year, according to the service’s medical statistics. And the number of soldiers seeking help for combat stress, substance abuse, broken marriages or other emotional problems keeps increasing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Iraq War, Psychology, Stress, War in Afghanistan

Hedge-fund icon Stanley Druckenmiller to close Pittsburgh area Firm

Mr. Druckenmiller, 57, said he was tired of the stress of managing money for others and frustrated by his failure in the past three years to match returns that had averaged 30 percent annually since 1986. His Duquesne Capital Management LLC, which oversees $12 billion and has never had a losing year, is down 5 percent in 2010.

“Managing more than $10 billion seems to challenge my long-term standard” for investment performance, Mr. Druckenmiller said in a two-hour interview in his New York office on 57th Street overlooking Central Park.

“While the joy of winning for clients is immense, for me the disappointment of each interim drawdown over the years has taken a cumulative toll that I cannot continue to sustain,” he wrote to his 100 clients Wednesday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Psychology, Stock Market, Stress

NBC Video: A social worker old enough to be a Grandfather Joins Iowa's National Guard

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Wonderfully inspiring–watch it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Stress, Theology

Lifesite news: New Study Finds Thinking about God Reduces Anxiety For Believers

Thinking about your faith in God may make you less upset about making mistakes, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

“Eighty-five percent of the world has some sort of religious beliefs,” said Michael Inzlicht, who co-wrote the study with Alexa Tullett, in a University of Toronto statement.

“I think it behooves us as psychologists to study why people have these beliefs; exploring what functions, if any, they may serve.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Stress

Judith Warner (NY Times Magazine)–What the Great Recession Has Done to Family Life

That the Great Recession could then bring hope for a major recalibration ”” a resetting of all the clocks ”” is not surprising. Unfortunately, though, it’s not happening in any meaningful way. The poor are getting poorer, and the rich, despite stock-market setbacks, are still comparatively rich. The most devastating losses in household wealth over the past two years have been suffered by the middle class. And families are fraying at the seams. The Pew poll showed nearly half of people who had been unemployed for more than six months saying their family relationships had become strained, and a New York Times/CBS poll of unemployed adults last winter found about 40 percent saying they believed their joblessness was causing behavioral change in their children.

Parents who have jobs are working longer hours than ever. Mothers are taking shorter maternity leaves. The birth rate is on the decline. The divorce rate is declining, too ”” it’s too expensive for people to break up their households ”” but that’s not necessarily a family-friendly thing, as a report from the Council on Contemporary Families noted in April: “We know from the experience of the Great Depression of the 1930s that divorce rates can fall while family conflict and domestic violence rates rise.”

What came out of the combined experience of the Great Depression and World War II ”” broad measures of quality-of-life equalization like a sharply progressive tax policy with rates on the wealthy unimaginable today, the G.I. Bill, government-subsidized home mortgages for veterans ”” permitted the easier, less-frenzied middle class family life that older Americans remember from the 1950s and ’60s and that younger Americans dream of. In other words, it wasn’t individual families that reformed themselves after the crucible of the Depression. It was our society.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Psychology, Stress, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--