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New York City finds one in five adults has mental health problems

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Saturday, November 14th, 2015

A man crosses 6th Avenue as the sun sets in New York September 3, 2014. Reuters/Lucas Jackson

A man crosses 6th Avenue as the sun sets in New York September 3, 2014.
Reuters/Lucas Jackson

At least one in five adult New Yorkers suffer from depression, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts or other psychological disorders every year, according to a report released on Thursday ahead of Mayor Bill de Blaiso’s new mental-health initiative.

New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene expects to release the plan, known as NYC Thrive, by the end of next month. It is aimed at preventing and treating psychological disorders among the city’s 8.4 million residents.

The “white paper” released Thursday outlines the size and scope of the problem facing the New York City.

“We have a set of public health issues that affect many people and affect them very deeply,” said Dr. Gary Belkin, a deputy commissioner of the health department. “We know what we’re going to be doing, and over the coming weeks you’re going to be hearing about it.”

Officials have said little about what NYC Thrive would involve or how much it would cost.

In August, de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, told Crain’s New York that the mayor’s office would devote $386 million to mental health over the next three years.

McCray, who worked for five years as a spokeswoman for Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn before de Blasio was elected, has been the leading advocate in his administration for mental health awareness.

McCray has been open about how mental health issues have touched her own family. She has discussed her parents’ struggles with depression and the past substance abuse of her daughter, Chiara.

Some 8 percent of adults in New York City experience symptoms of depression each year, according to the report. The same percentage of the city’s high school students say they have attempted suicide.

Poor and minority residents are disproportionately affected by mental illnesses and are more likely than white residents to be misdiagnosed or untreated, according to the report.

The number of residents experiencing psychological disorders such as depression has held steady in recent years, it finds. But mental health problems arising from drug and alcohol abuse have risen.

Opioid-related overdoses increased in New York City in recent years, Belkin said, paralleling a national trend. Synthetic marijuana, often called spice or K2, is also leading to more deaths and psychotic episodes in the city, he said.

One of the goals of NYC Thrive is to establish a more comprehensive system to track mental health in children and adults, city officials said.

(Editing by Frank McGurty and Leslie Adler)

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Google workers walk out to protest office harassment, inequality

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, November 2nd, 2018

 

Aerial of employees walking out of Google | REUTERS

Hundreds of Google employees and contractors in New York and Washington, D.C. staged brief midday walkouts on Thursday, (November 1) with more expected to follow at offices worldwide, amid complaints of sexism, racism and unchecked executive power in their workplace.

In a statement late on Wednesday, the organizers called on Google parent Alphabet Inc to add an employee representative to its board of directors and internally share pay-equity data. They also asked for changes to Google’s human resources practices intended to make bringing harassment claims a fairer process.

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said in a statement that “employees have raised constructive ideas” and that the company was “taking in all their feedback so we can turn these ideas into action.”

The workers who filed out of its New York headquarters shortly after 1100 local time were hoping for “real change” and to be treated equally. — Reuters

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Bomb threat greeted with skepticism by New Yorkers

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, October 25th, 2018

 

Bomb Squad at Time Warner Building | REUTERS

In speaking to Reuters, New Yorkers took in stride the events in their city Wednesday (October 24) after police intercepted suspected bombs mailed to former U.S. President Barack Obama, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and other high-profile Democrats, in what New York officials described as an act of terrorism.

With the country deeply polarized, the packages brought a new level of tension to Nov. 6 political contests that will decide whether Democrats can challenge the majorities now held by Trump’s Republicans in Congress.

The CNN bureau in New York also received a device looking like a pipe bomb, leading police to evacuate the building, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said his office also received a suspicious package. CNN reported that Eric Holder, who was U.S. attorney general under Obama, was also among those targeted.

“We’re used to it a bit. Since 9/11, it’s sort of a routine thing. This happens every few months now. I just want to get my lunch, go on with my day,” Dildeepal Galesa, an employee of Universal Music, told Reuters.

U.S. President Donald Trump condemned what he called “despicable acts” and vowed to bring those responsible to justice.

“In these times, we have to unify, we have to come together, and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America,” Trump said at the White House.

“We’re extremely angry, upset and unhappy about what we witnessed this morning, and we will get to the bottom of it,” Trump said.

A similar pipe bomb was delivered earlier this week to the home of George Soros, a major Democratic Party donor.

There has been no claim of responsibility.

All of the targets are frequently disparaged by right-wing critics and Trump, whose spokeswoman condemned the acts.

“Our condemnation of these despicable acts certainly includes threats made to CNN as well as current or former public servants. These cowardly acts are unacceptable and won’t be tolerated,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Twitter.

Alexander Soros, the son of George Soros, said in an opinion piece published by The New York Times that his father had long faced verbal criticism and threats over his involvement in politics, “but something changed in 2016” when Trump was elected.

“Before that, the vitriol he faced was largely confined to the extremist fringes, among white supremacists and nationalists who sought to undermine the very foundations of democracy. But with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, things got worse,” Alexander Soros wrote.

He placed direct responsibility with those who sent the devices, but added: “I cannot see it divorced from the new normal of political demonization that plagues us today.” — Reuters

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NY, San Francisco, other U.S. cities celebrate gay pride

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, June 25th, 2018

Man in bathing suit rollerblading near people walking with banner reading: “Heritage of Pride: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender New York City” (Image grabbed from Reuters video)

 

Supporters of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) rights took to the streets of San Francisco, New York, Minneapolis, and Seattle to celebrate Pride on Sunday (June 24).

The festivities included massive floats, musical performances, and dancing.

“This is the greatest thing on the East Coast. There’s nothing like Pride,” Holly Wright who traveled with her girlfriend from Savannah, Georgia to attend New York’s Pride parade.

In San Francisco, a large pink triangle was positioned on a hill overlooking the city. Nazis used the symbol to both distinguish and shame gays and lesbians. In recent years, the LGBT community has embraced the triangle decidedly inverting it, as a symbol of pride and not the marker of a shame it was intended as.

Many parade-goers said they relished the inclusiveness of Pride events.

June has been a challenging month for some in the LGBT community with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of a Christian baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, saying the decision was unlikely to have a sweeping legal impact.

The refusal by baker Jack Phillips in 2012 to make a cake for David Mullins and Charlie Craig became a cultural flashpoint, seen as part of a conservative Christian backlash to the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing gay marriage.

The nation’s highest court said the baker’s religious rights were violated when a state Civil Rights Commission decided he had broken Colorado’s anti-discrimination law.

President Donald Trump’s administration intervened in support of the baker. — Reuters

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