Suicide, To Talk or To Not Talk, that IS the question

Editor’s Note: This article is a collaborative article written by several staff reporters of the Hillsboro Globe. The subject of talking about teen suicide became a hot topic recently because the national media was criticized for “over-talking” about the subject of suicide. The Op-Ed authors of Hillsboro Globe realize the subject is a sensitive one, to the extent, student reporters were afraid that readers would think they are trying to speak for all teenagers. They are speaking up to start a conversation, not to speak for the teenagers as a whole.

As the editor, I wanted to give these students the opportunity to write freely without worry of what their peers or teachers might think. They, in turn, have kept the anonymity of those they interviewed in order to get the most honest answers possible.

As a member of Associated Press, the Hillsboro Globe knows that this approach is not the generally accepted standard of practice. We have given students a number in order to keep our research organized, but in no way possible do the authors think that a number defines a student.

We hope you understand and look forward to your feedback.


How do you feel talking about suicide?

Three recent suicides that are connected to school shootings have received much media attention, and the media was criticized for talking “too much” about suicides because there is a theory talking about it causes teens to think about it and then the result of this thinking will lead to more suicides.

The recent suicides related to the Parkland and Sandy Hook school shootings have led to real conversations among ourselves and we wanted to share, from our point of view, what it is like to talk about suicide.

In a recent article published by the Washington Post, experts on suicide warn that there is a contagion effect if there is too much talking about suicide. “Two teenage survivors of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting of 2018 apparently died by suicide , as did the father of one of the children slain at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in 2012. Mental-health experts advise caution in moments like these.” (Link to Full Article)

Of course, anyone can search online for research about suicide. Recent online research led our staff to conclude that articles about suicide are  predominantly written by adults and focus on how adults can prevent teenagers from choosing suicide. We found only a few articles written by identified teenagers.

Rarely are teenagers asked if they want to talk about suicide. It seems teens are more often talked to by experts rather than allowed to talk about suicide. The truth is, we found, most teens need to talk about life and death issues, from their point of view.

Often times the subject is thrust on them, without warning, in a large group setting and instead of being receptive to the genuine concern adults have for teenagers, students will shut down. Teenagers want to have some say in when and where they have sensitive discussions. The reason for this is nearly everyone one we interviewed has been affected or knows someone who has been affected, by a teen death either by suicide, car wreck or shooting and often “talking about someone we know can make us emotional” (Student #3).

IS TALKING ABOUT SUICIDE A GOOD THING?

Asking teens if they want to talk about suicide can be an intimidating adventure for both adults and teens. Talking about suicide is not a bad thing. It’s  just that there is a big difference between talking about grieving and talking about keeping someone alive. Prevention is very different from grieving.

Often teachers, counselors and other adults don’t bring up the subject of suicide up until one happens, or almost happens. Maybe talking about suicide does lead to more suicides, however, our informal investigation did not find this to the true.

In fact, our unscientific polls, conversations and interviews, indicate that talking about grief is important to discuss after a tragedy but talking about suicide should be done before it happens. “I don’t think you should talk about suicide when it happens…you should talk about it often to stop it from happening” student #10 stated in a recent interview.

TRENDING UP

Teens are well aware of their trends in matters of style, music and movies as well as the stark data indicating suicide is trending up in numbers. However, they feel fewer and fewer adults have the time, especially at school, to talk honestly about their feelings and to listen to how teens feel.

Students desire more ability to talk in small groups, like those held by Hillsboro IB World School Dean of Students, Amy Cate. She arranges and facilitates student group meeting that are led by community members. Each week, students meet with community professionals to discuss a variety of topics, including suicide.

Over and over students said to us that they could talk freely in a small group setting more easily than in a large group like class even if they trust the adult as much as they do Ms. Cate. Several interviewed said they like it when adults come from the community to help. (Editor note: Students absolutely want community members to come and talk about real issues)

WHAT WORKS

Several of those students in the Nashville community that were interviewed gave us honest feedback about the importance of having a community he or she can call his or her own.

It is apparent, and maybe surprising, how many said that they care about what the community thinks about them (teens) and they worry adults don’t trust them.

The fear of trusting others, especially adults, seems to be one reason why the topic of suicide is not discussed more openly. Student #3 explains why trust is so important, “If people stay silent about their thoughts, then it would be too late when you finally notice what they are going through at the time. Sometimes we don’t know who we can trust when there is a crisis, and that makes us fearful of what adults are going to say and do if we do talk about it.” Talking about it is important, even if students don’t initiate the conversation.

The group meetings held weekly by Ms. Cate offer students a chance to be in a place that isn’t stressful and to talk about important issues. “Ms. Cate encourages us to go directly to the teacher and tell them what is going on instead of keeping it all inside and silent. If we don’t know how to do that, she helps us.

Realizing that we are more similar than different, and that our similarities can include thinking about death and acknowledging it is okay to talk about death would be a good start.”

— Student #4

Teens are stressed. They stress out over bullying, their parents, their grades, how successful they will be, if they will be successful, if they are they meeting expectations, and what their friends think about them.

Often it is easier to just try to get through the day instead of talking about it…. until it isn’t. The teenagers’ perception of their community is “adults do a lot of thinking but don’t act much.”  Teens want action. They can recognize immediately the adults who try to take action on their behalf.

HOW IMPORTANT IS COMMUNITY TO TEENAGERS, REALLY?

Knowing that there is someone in the community a student could turn to, in addition to teachers and parents, was a repeated theme. Student #4 cited that in-group with Ms. Cate,  he finds strength courage to act.

This strength, explained Student 4, “has given me courage to seek out other groups when I graduate.” Another student stated, “Talking about the subject (of suicide) in your community has to happen. It will help everyone if they come together as family and friends. We should have a better way to stay connected when we leave.” Student #11 said that it is an important thing for students to believe and trust the community. “This is the foundation of society – having trust in one another.”

Without exception, teens stated that silence is the worst thing possible, but any discussion has to happen, not when someone dies but when everything seems to be going well.

Staying silent doesn’t help us in the long run. Yea, we really don’t want to talk about it, but, hey, that is better than the alternative – which is to suffer.””

— Student #4

Also, teens want to talk to other teens about teen death. Adults are “ok, but they talk too much. I think it will help other kids get comfortable if they know their friends will help” (Student #1)

In contrast, there were almost as many teenagers who said that they want adults around, but to only to help (facilitate the process of having) a conversation. “Well if you don’t talk about suicide, then you may never know who’s on the edge of doing it. That’s a life that could be saved. If everyone could come together, it would help solve the communication problems before it’s too late” (Student 9).

WE WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS?

Perhaps, if we as a community, really, truly, want to make a difference, the subject of suicide should be viewed as a regular topic and okay to talk about, instead of something to hide.

Maybe then, the trend of suicides might go down. “Talking about our thoughts and feelings is hard, but we really want to do it, even if we act like we don’t.”

We, at the Hillsboro Globe, don’t want anyone, but particularly our friends, family and community members to ever feel alone.

Most importantly, we hope that both adults and children could all realize there are other who care and love them unconditionally.

Perhaps, the adults and teens wouldn’t see suicide as an option for escaping their pain, especially after a tragedy.

Simple, real conversations may just make the difference between life and death.

WHAT CAN I DO?

The following behavioral patterns may indicate possible risk for suicide and should be watched closely. If they appear numerous or severe, seek professional help at once. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) provides acccess to trained telephone counselors, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Withdrawal from friends and/or social activities
  • Experience of a recent severe loss (especially a relationship) or the threat of a significant loss
  • Experience or fear of a situation of humiliation of failure
  • Drastic changes in behavior
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, work, school, etc.
  • Preparation for death by making out a will (unexpectedly) and final arrangements
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Previous history of suicide attempts, as well as violence and/or hostility
  • Unnecessary risks; reckless and/or impulsive behavior
  • Loss of interest in personal appearance
  • Increased use of alcohol and/or drugs
  • General hopelessness
  • Recent experience humiliation or failure
  • Unwillingness to connect with potential helpers

 




Can You Still Listen to Kanye in 2019?

In our contemporary times of social media,  it’s very easy to share one’s thoughts to millions of people in the space of less than 200 characters. In some ways,  this is a good thing. Connections can be made between people that live hundreds of miles away from each other that would’ve never met in any other time.

However, this type of online connection also provides those who use social media the opportunity to see sides of people we wouldn’t have in previous decades. Sometimes people will share information that once would have been considered private.

A great example of over-sharing is Kanye’s weird run of weirdness from 2016-2018.

A little background, I love Kanye. I’ve been a fan of his as long as I can remember. Not much has been able to sway my opinion on him.

President Donald Trump meets with rapper Kanye West and Hall of Fame football player Jim Brown in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Washington. At left is White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

I’ve enjoyed being a fan, despite his antics. It’s fairly-easy being a fan of this man,  and he shaped my childhood.  His antics, however, changed how I feel.

It began when he started to go off the deep end and publicly endorsed Trump at a concert in 2016 on Twitter.  This year I contemplated why he would do this, endorse a politician, and why Trump in particular. The reoccurring question in my mind was, “Can I support a man that supports this monster just because they have “dragon energy”?”…Yeah, it’s not that hard.

Trump is a terrible human being, in my opinion, but he didn’t make Kaynes Late Registration released in 2005. One of my favorite albums ever. So, I couldn’t just abandon Kanye.

But, as to President Trump?   It was very easy to let me go. Their relationship complicated how I felt.Kanye fans began to  see tweets every single day about how, as a fan, they couldn’t support him anymore. It made me question myself, “Am I being immature about this?”

I took to  asking  other people about it, but it’d never got me anywhere. All the people that barely listened to him canceled him easily. As a life-long friend, that wasn’t so easy for me.

That was to be expected of me as a African American music lover. I talked to more fans, especially those who were a little older and whom I respect.

The people that actually listened to him often told me they also had troubles with it. “I felt let down” said IB Business teacher and Assistant Basketball Coach Porter, “I think it’s extremely difficult in today’s climate to stand next to Donald Trump and not inherit the bigotry and racism that’s associated with him. So, for Kanye to stand with him and next to him, I think a lot of people associated all of Trump’s beliefs with Kanye.”

When a person you’ve been a fan of someone for so long it’s kind of hard to just abandon them, but when they just go off the deep end. It is even harder because one can’t just dismiss someone he or she has admired for a length of time.

I am trying to separate the man from the music, as many people have done with Michael Jackson. For m,  I’m still trying to stick by him because I love Kanye. But he’s definitely testing me right now




Growing Up in the Digital Age

From the Greatest Generation to Baby Boomers, Generation X to Millennials, teenagers in every era have had challenges growing up.

In today’s digital world, high school students are being tested in unique and demanding ways.

The Washington Post confirms that 73 percent of all American teenagers own their own smartphone and, on average, spend almost nine hours a day texting, chatting, gaming, blogging, streaming and visiting with friends online.  

Although conclusive research showing a direct correlation between the mental health of teenagers and smartphone usage won’t be complete for years, it isn’t a great confidence builder for a student to discover online that everyone else seems to have more friends.

In addition, recent figures indicate that more than 31 percent of America’s 42 million teenagers are overweight or obese, compared to only five percent in 1980.

According to the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, Tennessee is ranked the most obese state in the nation with 37.7 percent of all teenagers considered overweight.

Not surprisingly, many psychologists and researchers agree that today’s teenagers are more lonely, anxious and depressed than ever before.

As the new school year gets underway and social pressures increase, statistics like these verify how important it is for teenagers to participate in high school sports and other activities such as marching band, choir, speech and debate.

The most recent survey by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) indicates there are almost eight million participants in high school sports and more than four million in performing arts activities.

Most of these students would agree the primary advantage of playing a sport or participating in an after-school activity is the opportunity to meet new people and develop meaningful friendships.

An online chat is no substitute for working toward a common goal face-to-face, side-by-side for weeks on end with teammates.”

 

And positive social relationships are only the beginning. Among other benefits, high school sports are instrumental in helping teenagers establish nutritional and exercise habits that will carry them for a lifetime.

Participating in a sport in high school is a great way to maintain a healthy weight, establish good eating and sleeping habits, discourage the use of alcohol and drugs and develop a greater sense of self-esteem.

Additional benefits of participating in a high school sport or activity are shared by the NFHS on a new website at , where dozens of high school students address this topic in their own words through videos.

A new school year brings with it an opportunity for teenagers to make new friends and establish new lifestyle habits. Encouraging them to make friends on the field of play as well as online is great way to start.

For more information contact TSSAA.org

 

 




Two minutes of silence across nations sound importance of Holocaust Remembrance March

Andrzej Duda of Poland”

Sirens wailed for two minutes across continents as  millions joined in a moment of silence during the shrill wailing to remember the six million Jews who died during the Holocaust and the world watched as Presidents from several countries stood together in a day of remembrance. Fewer and fewer survivors from the Holocaust are still living making it imperative that nations remember the horror inflicted on Jews during World War II.

The presidents of Israel and Poland joined thousands of others Thursday for a Holocaust remembrance event at the former Nazi death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau, hoping to put recent tensions behind them. (file photo – Associated Press)

The presidents of Israel and Poland joined thousands of others Thursday for a Holocaust remembrance event at the former Nazi death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau, hoping to put recent tensions behind them.

Presidents Reuven Rivlin of Israel and Andrzej Duda of Poland lit candles, bowed their heads and pressed their hands on the Death Wall, a site at Auschwitz where inmates, chiefly Polish resistance fighters, were executed by Nazi German forces during World War II.

In Jerusalem, Israelis stood still for a full two minutes on Thursday for a nationwide moment of silence in remembrance of the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, as a two-minute siren wailed across the country and the nation paid respects to those systematically killed by Nazi Germany and its collaborators in World War II.

As every year on Holocaust Remembrance Day, buses and cars halted on streets and highways and Israelis stepped out of their vehicles, standing with heads bowed in solemn remembrance, however, there are those who worry that the horror of the Holocaust is fading from the memories of the living as those who directly experienced the genocide.

“Never forget,” has been the rallying cry for seven decades of the Holocaust Remembrance Movement, but a survey released on Thursday by the Claims Conference,  found a significant loss of basic knowledge about the Holocaust in the United States, especially in the demographic of Millennials. “Only 51% of Millennieals could name one of the 40,000 camps or ghettos that were formed during the Holocaust… even though the majority of the Americans surveyed believed that something as tragic a the Holocaust could happen again.”

The presidents were led by thousands, including many young Jews from around the world, in the March of the Living, which takes place each year on Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.The solemn march began at the main gate of Auschwitz and ended 3 kilometers (2 miles) away at Birkenau, where Jews from across Europe were transported by train and murdered in gas chambers.The Jews of Europe and ethnic Poles were two of the groups who suffered most during the German wartime occupation, with Jews targeted for total elimination and Poles considered a slave race. Many Poles were killed, tortured or forced into slave labor.The somber day is also marked by ceremonies and memorials at schools and community centers. Restaurants and cafes in the ordinarily bustling streets of Tel Aviv shutter, and TV and radio stations play Holocaust-themed programs. Dignitaries laid wreaths at Yad Vashem, the national Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.
A third of the world’s Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. Israel was established afterward in 1948, and hundreds of thousands of survivors fled to the Jewish state.On Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at a Holocaust memorial ceremony at Yad Vashem and warned that archenemy Iran should not test Israel amid rising tensions in Syria.

At Birkenau, the leaders paid tribute to the immense suffering that Germany inflicted both on Jews and Poles.

Nazi Germany killed some 1.1 million people in the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps. The victims were mostly Jews, but also included Poles, Roma and Soviet POWs.

“The issue is not that people deny the Holocaust; the issue is just that it is receding from the memory,’ said Greg Schneider, executive president of the Claims Conference which negotiates restitution for Holocaust victims and their heirs. “People may not know the details themselves, but they still think it is important.”

We as a community must continue to say,”never forget.” for those we that should never be forgotten.




Mass shootings in public places – are they becoming too common?

 

The most common memorial seen on the side of a road generally honors a person(s)  who have died in a car accident.

However,  it becoming all to familiar to see images of memorials beside building, on curbs and yes even lining a street to honor those who have died as a result of gun violence.

A memorial displaying 58 crosses by Greg Zanis stands at the Welcome To Las Vegas Sign on Thursday, October 5, 2017, In Las Vegas at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival this past Sunday.” (Mikayla Whitmore/Las Vegas Sun via AP.

The memorial of 58 crosses, each bearing the name of one victim, lines the street where Las Vegas visitors most often see a sign of welcome. The memorial marks another mass shooting making this incident the nation’s most deadly shooting massacre in recent history.

Across the continent, just weeks before the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Georgia Tech students received text messages warning about a possible dangerous moment on campus.

Students on campus are getting weary of such events and protested the shooting and killing of Georgia Tech student,  Scout Shultz. The protest led to more violence and at least one vehicle was set on fire at the protest allegedly by students demonstrating against a shooting.

 

These types of events leave those who are about to enter the work force, our future high school graduates confused and sometimes even angry.

To protest the violence, many on the Hillsboro Football team knelt during the National Anthem at last Friday’s ballgame against Beech High School. Their silent, 2 minute protest was met with a large chorus of boo’s and chants by the Beech fans.

Reporting on this issue is difficult, however, the increase in incidents requires an objective and intelligent look at the bigger questions as to why it is more frequent and more deadly.

The Hillsboro Globe seeks to provide our readers with ethical journalism in which to begin open discussions about those events that seek to instill fear in public spaces.




2018 opens averaging a school shooting that leads to injury every three days

“Our district is in a tremendous state of grief and sorrow,” said Robert Runcie, superintendent of the school district in Parkland, about an hour’s drive north of Miami. “It is a horrible day for us.””

The school shooting Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at Marjory Stonemason Douglas High School marks the country’s 18th school shooting of 2018, just 45 days into the year. It is the 13th shooting that involved multiple injuries, and the 9th that results in at least one death on a school campus.

The Hillsboro Globe mourns for those in every state on every campus at the loss of those who are just as us. Though not a “school shooting” gun violence has taken one of our own, through a stupid mistaken moment that took our classmate, Javonte, in a home invasion.

And just this past Friday, Pearl Cohn High School went on lockdown when an active shooter shot and injured a student on the edge of the school grounds, and but for a few feet, this moment too, would have joined the statistics of 2018 regarding school shootings. The young man shot was just 14 years old.

The editorial desk of the the Hillsboro Globe will be publishing our classmates suggestions, our teachers innovative ideas, our administrations assurances with detail over the upcoming weeks. We will be exploring what the youth of Nashville think are the solutions.

As a staff we agreed to use the following data sources for the articles we are publishing as these sources were determined to be the least partisan and most consistent sources for comparable data sources.

2003 – 2015

  • Analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention,
  • National Center for Health Statistics.
  • Population Reference Bureau
  •  National Center for Health Statistics
  • Multiple Causes of Death Public Use Files for 2003-2015

What we know today as a staff is that the answers to school shootings and violence don’t lie with politicians alone. The most comprehensive reforms for school gun violence came after the tragedy at Columbine High School without any national mandates. School systems and local states acted swiftly without waiting for laws to be passed.

Teens are the most informed voices on this issue, and we your newspaper welcome you commentary, suggestions, questions and thoughts. We want to assure our student body, if you present a serious suggestion or have a thoughtful question, we will take it to the appropriate school administrators.

We are the solution.

The Hillsboro Globe Editorial Staff




15 Lazy Person Secrets to Improving Your Life

Are you this lazy? If you are hungry, you think about getting up to eat, but stay seated instead.

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A person is being lazy if he is able to carry out some activity that he ought to carry out, but is disinclined to do so because of the effort involved. Instead, he or she carries out the activity perfunctorily; or engages in some other, less strenuous or less boring activity; or remains idle. In short, he is being lazy if his motivation to spare himself effort trumps his motivation to do the right or expected thing. – Psychology Today, 10/14/14

Does the above definition define you? Does moving with as little effort as possible define your mode of operation? Do you find yourself disengaged from life, only going through the motions, remaining as idle as possible. Has anyone ever accused you of being unmotivated???

Procrastinator, idler, or just plain lazy

While similar, procrastination, being idle and being lazy all have their similarities but they are all different.

Procrastination

Laziness and procrastination are similar in that they both involve a lack of motivation. But, unlike a lazy person, a procrastinator aspires and intends to complete the task and, moreover, does eventually complete it, albeit at a higher cost to himself. Panic usually is the inspiration for the person to complete the task.

Idleness

To be idle is: not to be doing anything. This could be because you are lazy, but it could also be because you do not have anything to do or are temporarily unable to do it. Or perhaps you have already done it and are resting or recuperating.

Laziness

Many lazy people are not intrinsically lazy, but are lazy because they have not found what they want to do, or because, for one reason or another, they are not doing it. To make matters worse, they can no longer fully grasp a job’s purpose or product, and therefore, can’t process how a job betters their lives. A lazy person fails to grasp the inner gratitude of a job well done.

Other factors that can lead to laziness are unfounded fear and hopelessness. Some people fear success, or do not have sufficient self-esteem to feel comfortable with success, and laziness is one way in which they can sabotage themself.  “It’s not that I failed,” they tell themselves, “it’s that I never tried.”

Whether you are a procrastinator, idler or just plain lazy, there are ways to break these habits. There are those who might say that laziness is at epidemic portions in our society today, but what is a person to do if you answer yes to the quiz questions above?

If you want to break your own laziness mold – read on. The helpful tips abound.

1. Put your phone on airplane mode whenever you need to get things done. – “I do it a few hours every day. “It may be tough at first, but eventually it will be kind of relaxing.

2. Get up as soon as the alarm goes off. Don’t just sit in bed doing nothing.

3. If something take less than 5 minutes to do don’t put off. Even if it’s not urgent do it anyways. Make this a habit and you’ll be amazed at how much you end up accomplishing in one day.

4. Do some cleaning on your social media. – Do it maybe a couple times a year. Unfollow people that bring you down. Delete those messages that people send to you that’s rude. Update your info. Its makes me feel so much better.

5. Make your bed every morning. It’s such a quick thing that really helps your room feel instantly tidier.

6. When commercials come on tv do some sit ups to kill the time instead of going on your phone.

7. Study at the library instead of at home.

8. Eat a piece of fruit. Eat a salad. When you are down, doing something good for yourself inspires more good.

9. Smile as often as possible. You don’t know when you going leave this earth so smile and be happy as much as you can. If you’re speaking with someone and smile genuinely, they usually do so back. It makes people days and even you’ll be surprised how important that can be

10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether is something small or big its ok to ask for help sometimes here and there. Like at home, at work, personally, physically whatever, reach out to a friend or a family member

11. Use your nice words: Please, Thank you; May I; Can I help?

12. Face your fears you shouldn’t be scared just be honest

13. Believe in yourself that you can do anything you want to do or be.

14. Find your place – if it’s a school, work or even at home. Find the best place you can be your self. Keep doing a job, well do the very best you can. That’s your best way out.

15. Live with Intensity- You might as well turn it up a notch or two. Invest more of you. Be a little stronger, be a little wiser. Step up!




Make the switch to sustainable living – energy conservation of the future

Recently, I personally have changed my way of living. I made a decision to give “sustainable living” a try.   decided to reduce my carbon-footprint by cutting back on my energy consumption, how I use transportation and even what I choose to eat.

What is “sustainable living” though? For those who do not know, Conserve-Energy-Future.com describes sustainable lifestyle “is the practice of reducing your demand on natural resources by making sure that you replace what you use to the best of your ability”.

What I do and have done is to change my diet to eating more natural foods and less processed foods. I also started recycling. Some people may find it difficult to move over to a sustainable lifestyle, but it is easier than most people may think.

What are 5 simple ways to be more sustainable?
1.Reduce, Reuse, Recycle- These are some the simplest ways to be more sustainable. You can reduce your energy consumption, you can reuse more everyday items, and recycle recyclable material.

2.Make your own stuff- This includes food, clothes, and more. By doing this you can cut down the transportation needed to ship food and more.

3.Change your diet- Your change in diet doesn’t have to be dramatic, but you should eat more natural foods, meatless foods and less processed, packaged foods.

4. Drive an electrically charged vehicle- Driving an electric ran vehicle reduces the CO2 emitted in the air. You will also never need gas.

5.Use Sustainable energy- By using solar or wind power, you not only save on your energy bill, but you reduce your energy consumption.




Imperfect, Flawed and Beautiful – How Social Media Impacts Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is an illness that affects about 200,000 people in the US each year, mostly making beginning appearances in those that are 12-13 years of age. BDD is incredibly severe, but can be even more dangerous in this day and age, where we have images of “ideal” beauty plastered everywhere.

With the use of social media making access to these types of images easier, sufferers of BDD are having a harder time coping with their illness than ever before. As a sufferer of BDD, I know how hard it is to look past your flaws, especially when unachievable beauty standards seem to be represented in many forms of media.

To give you a background of life with BDD, I’ll first have to explain what exactly it is. The definition that adaa.org gives is “A body image disorder characterized by persistent and intrusive preoccupations with an imagined or slight defect in one’s appearance.” For people with BDD, it is hard to focus on anything except the perceived flaw. It becomes an obsession, which then leads to low self esteem, avoidance of other people, work, school, and even major depression and/or suicide attempts.

For me, personally, it would be difficult to look in mirrors, or to even see a reflection of myself at all. When it was at it’s worst, I would have breakdowns and anxiety attacks just at the sight of myself. It was hard to not be disgusted with who I am and how I looked. Unfortunately, I’m not the only person out there inflicted with this mental illness.

BDD has been recognized since 1980, but was redefined in 1994. BDD has never been ideal for anyone suffering from it, but in this day and age, with media sources at the tip of our fingers, it has become even harder for us to cope. The average woman sees 400-600 ads on a daily basis, many of which have some sort of beauty representation, whether directly or indirectly.

Studies have shown the negative impact that the media can have on the youth, but just think about how strongly it can impact the youth who suffer from BDD. Body dysmorphia is a serious issue that’s not getting enough attention in the normal world, and certainly not the world of advertising or entertainment.

You may know somebody with BDD, but aren’t aware of it. Interacting with people afflicted with BDD takes patience. They may be persistent about disliking themselves, and that may be frustrating, but you just have to reassure them.

It’s hard to not really know what you look like, when you only see yourself in a distorted way. It’s also hard when you feel like people are lying to you all the time about how you look. It’s hard to live on a day to day basis when you can’t even comfortably look at yourself in a mirror. We need to help acknowledge BDD and the difficulties that come with it, because the more we know about it, the more we can help those afflicted.

 




High school sports is the perfect venue to bring our communities together

Bob Gardner is the Executive Director of the National Federation of State High School (photo submitted)

Tailgates. Pep rallies. Friday night lights. The new school year is here! And that’s exciting news for student-athletes and high school sports fans alike.  

 Research shows that being a student-athlete is about a lot more than fun and games.  It teaches important life lessons, too. In fact, high school athletes not only have higher grade point averages and fewer school absences than non-athletes, they also develop the kind of work habits and self-discipline skills that help them become more responsible and productive community members. 

Attending high school sporting events teaches important life lessons, too.    

Among them, it teaches that we can live in different communities, come from different backgrounds, faiths and cultures, cheer for different teams, and still have a common bond.  

“At no time is this unity more evident than during a high school athletic event.””

— Bob Gardner and Bernard Childress

That’s why attending the activities hosted by your high school this fall is so important. It’s not only an opportunity to cheer for your hometown team, it is also an opportunity to celebrate our commonality. And that’s something our country needs right now.  

The bond we share is mutually supporting the teenagers in our respective communities. We applaud their persistence, tenacity, preparation and hard work, regardless of the color of the uniform they wear.

Bernard Childress, Executive Director of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association. (photo submitted)

We acknowledge that education-based, high school sports are enhancing their lives, and ours, in ways that few other activities could.

And we agree that, regardless of what side of the field we sit on, attending a high school sporting event is an uplifting, enriching, family-friendly experience for all of us.  

Many of the high schools in our state lie at the heart of the communities they serve.   They not only are educating our next generation of leaders, they also are a place where we congregate, where people from every corner of town and all walks of life come together as one.

And at no time is this unity more evident than during a high school athletic event. 

 This is the beginning of a new school year. Opportunities abound in the classroom and outside it. Let’s make the most of them by attending as many athletic events at the high school in our community as possible.    

Turn on the lights, and let the games begin!    

Bob Gardner is the Executive Director of the National Federation of State High School Associations

Bernard Childress, Executive Director of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association.