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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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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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Gaming addiction classified as mental health disorder by WHO

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

A child playing video game ‘Fortnite’. Image grabbed from Reuters video

 

Many parents already have concerns, but some may now have a new argument for limiting their children’s ‘screen time’ – addiction to video games has been recognized by World Health Organization as a mental health disorder.

The WHO’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD), a reference bible of recognized and diagnosable diseases, describes addiction to digital and video gaming as “a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior” that becomes so extensive it “takes precedence over other life interests”.

The WHO’s expert on mental health and substance abuse, Shekhar Saxena, said an addicted gamer “loses control over the gaming and ignores other essential activities like sleep, like eating, like taking part in education or work.”

He stressed that only a small minority of people who play digital and video games would develop a problem, but said recognition of early warning signs may help prevent it.

“The very fact that we did not put gaming disorder earlier in the classification means that it’s an emerging problem and certainly it’s more common in those countries and regions where gaming is readily accessible,” he said.

Responding to the decision to including gaming addiction, the Video Games Coalition – an industry lobby group – said their products were “enjoyed safely and sensibly by more than 2 billion people worldwide” across all kinds of genres, devices, and platforms.

It added that the “educational, therapeutic, and recreational value” of games was well-founded and widely recognized and urged the WHO to reconsider.

The ICD, which has been updated over the past 10 years, covers 55,000 injuries, diseases, and causes of death. It forms a basis for the WHO and other experts to see and respond to trends in health.

The ICD is also used by health insurers whose reimbursements depend on ICD classifications.

This latest version – known as ICD-11 – is completely electronic for the first time, in an effort to make it more accessible to doctors and other health workers around the world.

ICD-11 also includes changes to sexual health classifications. Previous editions had categorized sexual dysfunction and gender incongruence, for example, under mental health conditions, while in ICD-11 these move to the sexual health section. The latest edition also has a new chapter on traditional medicine.

The updated ICD is scheduled to be presented to WHO member states at their annual World Health Assembly in May 2019 for adoption in January 2022, the WHO said in a statement. — Reuters

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New York bar serves up gold-dusted chicken wings

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

Golden Chicken Wings on plate. Image grab from Reuters video

A New York restaurateur hopes to strike gold with foodies by elevating the chicken wing by dressing it up in the shimmering precious metal.

Two Manhattan locations of “The Ainstworth” are now selling 24-karat gold dusted chicken wings, which adds “the right touch” to the beloved bar food staple, said owner Brian Mazza.

“I felt like gold would be great to pop on Instagram and gold is you know in. A lot of people are wearing gold now,” he said.

Despite its extravagant exterior, the preparation of the wings is rather conventional, involving brining, frying and tossing it in a honey-chipotle sauce.

“After that process then our chef has the magic touch and then puts the gold on,” Mazza explained.

An Instagram-worthy snap of the glittery wings doesn’t come cheap. The bar sells 10 wings for $45 (USD), 20 wings for $90 at its Chelsea and East Village Locations. For deep-pocketed guests, the bar also offers a special package for $1,000, which will get you 50 wings plus a bottle of Champagne Armand de Brignac owned by Jay-Z.  — Reuters

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