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Friday, March 30, 2012

Dealing with Rejection(Wall Street Journal)

Dealing with Rejection(Wall Street Journal)

By Lauren Weber

No matter how well-adjusted you are, rejection stinks. Whether it comes in the form of a hiring manager who chooses another candidate or a rebuff from a lover, rejections unplug all the feelings of self-doubt and failure that most of us manage to bottle up under normal circumstances. Even the simple fear of a brush-off is sometimes enough to keep us from shooting for things we desperately want. Several years ago, I hit on a strategy that has drained some of the sting from these moments. I call it pre-emptive rejection, and here’s how it works: I reject myself very politely before I get the final word from the person who seemingly holds my fate in his or her hands.

The first time I tried this was in 2006, when I applied for the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship at Columbia University. I’d had a great interview with the director of the program but she called me a few days later with some follow-up questions, and the content of her questions indicated to me that she had reservations about my application. I dreaded receiving the turndown letter that I felt certain was already in the mail. So I decided to beat the director to it. In a letter dated April 18, 2006, I wrote to myself, “I regret to inform you that you have not been selected as a Knight-Bagehot Fellow this year. Please know that your application received a careful review by our distinguished panel of judges.”

It went on: “This year was extremely competitive. We received 138 applications for a total of 10 Fellowships. While we would like to be able to offer spots to more applicants, our resources currently limit us to 10.” The letter ended graciously, on a note of hope: “We encourage unsuccessful applicants to try again in the future. Many of our Fellows are accepted on their second or third or even fourth attempts.”

The letter was amazingly effective. I grieved a little, felt sorry for myself, and then started to move on, all before the real letter even arrived. That episode has a happy ending: I was offered the fellowship. But I used pre-emptive rejection again when I applied for my first job at this newspaper (which I didn’t get). I plan to return to this strategy again the next time I sense rejection around the corner. Readers, how do you deal with rejection? Do you have any tips for preparing for these emotional punches or recovering from them?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Why Children Avoid Responsibility

Why Children Avoid Responsibility—

and How to Hold Them Accountable
by James Lehman, MSW
Responsibility slides off kids like water slides off a duck’s back. It almost seems the way that nature meant it to be. Think of kids as being coated with Teflon, and nothing sticks—that’s how they relate to responsibility. In some ways, it’s no mystery: kids are born with no responsibilities, and everything they do is by instinct. They cry when they’re hungry or in pain, they go to the bathroom when they have to relieve themselves. There’s really no responsibility there, it’s all instinct and cause and effect. The idea that you are responsible for things is not inborn. Make no bones about it: that realization comes with coaching and training as children develop—it doesn’t just happen by itself.
Parents don’t always promote accountability, and that’s where the flaw is. Another factor that has to be acknowledged is that kids love stimulation. And the fact is that most responsibilities are not stimulating—they’re boring and time consuming. Let’s face it: if work was fun, you’d have to pay your employer. So, kids seek excitement and gravitate away from boring things like, “Clean your room. Make your bed. Put your books away. Do your homework.” These are not things that stimulate people. These are things that stifle them, and as we all know, kids do not like that feeling. And by the way, it takes a lot of discipline and maturity to learn how to manage those mood states and stay on task.
Do parents simply forget to teach responsibility? Every parent I’ve ever met, no matter what other qualities they had, knew enough to tell their kids to wash and get dressed, that it was time to go to school or clean their room. But it’s not about saying the words; it’s about how parents react when their child doesn’t wash or go to school or clean his room. In other words, parents don’t always promote accountability, and that’s where the flaw is. You have to hold kids accountable for not meeting their responsibilities. Being held accountable requires that the parent make the consequence for not meeting the responsibility less pleasant than if the child had completed the task in the first place. And that act of being held accountable promotes a willingness to meet the responsibilities next time.
Many parents either don’t hold their kids accountable or don’t follow through on the consequences once they set them. I have to say that that just promotes more irresponsibility. Once again, the child learns that his excuses and lies and justifications work for him in his effort not to take responsibility for himself or his behavior. He also learns that things don’t have to be earned, and that society, as represented by his parents, doesn’t follow through. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Despite the lack of accountability kids see rock stars, politicians or actors as having, for most of us, our nose is kept to the grindstone, both inside and outside of work.
So it’s vital to teach kids how to be responsible and follow through, and if they don’t, hold them accountable. But how can you do it effectively?

6 Ways to Teach Responsibility Today
Start as early as possible: As early as you can in your child’s life, start having them take responsibility for the things with which they’re involved. For instance, have your child pick up his toys before he goes to bed. Now, if he has a hard time concentrating on that because he’s young, get down on the floor and pick them up with him. But don’t do it for him. Even if you do “I’ll do one then you do one,” he learns to take care of his responsibilities. I also think you should give kids mild alarm clocks early in life. This helps them learn the responsibility of setting the clock at night and then getting up and shutting it off. What you’re doing is teaching them from a young age that they’re an individual and that they have their own individual responsibilities.
Identify responsibilities and use responsible language: When your child completes a task, tell them, “Nice way to follow through on your responsibility.” “I like the way you took care of that responsibility.” “You know, it’s your responsibility to do that and I like that you did it.” Use language like that. Say, “You know, I’m rewarding you because you met your responsibility.” In other words, the more you identify it, the more conscious your child becomes of it. I think it’s important for them to understand they’re getting rewarded for completing their responsibility, not for being cute, lovable or chummy. The earlier you connect the reward to the responsibility, the more clearly that becomes associated in your child’s mind.
The Power of Example: It’s important as a parent to meet your own responsibilities on a consistent basis, and to label it when you do. So you can say, “My responsibility is to go to work and I’m doing it today.” If your child asks, “Where are you going, Mommy?” Say, “I’m going to work. That’s my responsibility.” Or if they ask, “Where are you going, Dad?” Say, “I’m going grocery shopping. That’s my responsibility.” The idea is that you’re modeling the right behavior. You’re a prime example. As a parent, when you tell your child you’re going to do something, it becomes your responsibility to do it. So, don’t make promises you can’t keep. Be a prime example to your child when meeting responsibilities and be sure to use that language.
Teach and Coach Responsibility: I think it’s important to sit down and explain to children what responsibility means. Responsibilities are like commitments or promises—they’re the things you have to do, the things that are your job, and the things you’re involved in, where other people are depending on you. So if you play with your toys, it’s your responsibility to put them away. Or with an older child, you can say “If you make a sandwich for yourself, it’s your responsibility to put the dishes in the dishwasher.” Coach your child into meeting their responsibilities. I think it’s very important that kids be coached and not just lectured to. A coach doesn’t just go out and shoot the basketball shots for you. During the course of the game he says, “Great shot. Good shot. No, you gotta try harder. Do it this way.” And he coaches instead of criticizes. In the same way, I think it’s important to coach kids about their responsibilities. By the way, criticism has a place in life. But in this situation with kids, it only makes them defensive when you start to scold them about something that didn’t get done right.
Accountability: Responsibility should be associated with both rewards and consequences. “This is your reward for doing your schoolwork and homework.” “This is your reward for keeping your room neat all day.” “You’re getting this reward because you cleaned the car.” And by the same token, “This is the consequence for not finishing your homework.” “This is the consequence for not doing your chores this morning.” “You’re getting this consequence because you didn’t clean your room.” It’s sometimes helpful for parents to sit with their kids and draw up a list of consequences. How can you hold kids accountable? What do you have? You can withhold things like electronics. You can assign extra chores or extra work. You can give them task-oriented consequences. Associate a task with the time that the consequence is in play. And at the same time, come up with a list of rewards. We call this a “rewards menu.” Ask them, “What do they like to do?” This shouldn’t only involve spending money or buying things. Does your child like to take walks? Do they like to go to the park? Do they like to go down by the river or the ocean? Do they like to play catch? Do they like to swing? It’s fine to say to your child, “You know, you did really well today. I’m going to take you down and swing you in the swings.” And that’s the reward. Rewards don’t have to be expensive—you just have to use your imagination. For older kids, you can go hiking, go downtown, go by the river, go to the park. For teens, you can let them earn later bedtimes, or more time with their friends. With adolescents, the reward is getting away from you, not being with you.
Tell Your Kids What You’ll be Doing Differently: Learning how to meet responsibilities is one of the most important skills kids can acquire when they’re young. Certainly as they grow older, this learning will snowball and by the time they’re adults, they’ll have a thorough understanding of the relationship between responsibilities and accountability. Kids who don’t learn to meet responsibilities at an early age need to learn them at whatever age the parents get ready to teach it. When a parent decides they’re going to start using more responsibility/accountability language when they talk with their kids, they should sit down and clearly state that fact. In a calm time, say to your kids individually, “From now on, I’m going to start to point out how we meet responsibilities around here. So, you’ll have a clearer idea of how many responsibilities I meet and why I think it’s important that you meet your responsibilities.”
With pre-teens and teens, you should have a discussion about why meeting responsibilities is important to your success in life. People who don’t meet their responsibilities are not successful. Now what does “not successful” mean? Well, for adults it could mean a range of things, but when you’re talking to a teenager or a middle school child, “not successful” means they’re not going to be able to afford an IPod. They’re not going to have their own car or have nice clothes. In other words, “All the things that I buy for you as a parent, you’re going to have to get for yourself someday. And in order to do that, you’re going to have to be able to meet responsibilities just like I do. And if I didn’t meet my responsibilities of going to work and doing a good job, I would not be able to give you those things.” Explain the idea with simple, straight talk that progresses from “This is why responsibilities are important” to “here’s what’s going to happen if you do—or if you don’t—achieve them.”
When kids develop personal responsibility, it gives them their best chance of avoiding many of the pitfalls of life that await them if they’re not careful. If they’re not aware of what’s going on and ready to take responsible action to deal with it, it makes them less able to deal with problems that surface as they get older. It seems that when you’re a kid, around every corner there’s someone saying, “You didn’t make your bed. You didn’t finish your homework” Or ‘Why didn’t you walk the dog? How come the dishes are in the sink?” But believe me, around every corner as an adult there’s someone saying, “Why were you driving so fast? Why are you late for work? Why didn’t you pick up the kids at school? I thought you were going stop for milk on the way home.”
There are those who say you should expect your child to act responsibly. But I say you should require it, even demand it. It’s a part of maturing, and it is a very necessary component to learning how to function in an increasingly complex and demanding world. Read more:

India’s Growth Story … Is India really shining?

In Human Development Index (HDI), which looks beyond GDP to a broader definition of well-being, India ranks 134 among 187 countries. We rank below Nations like Bolivia, Guatemala, El Salvador which saw civil wars and are often deemed as poorest nations. Nation like Cuba which has zero billionaires, a nation which has faced a huge economic blockade since its birth, ranks 73 places ahead of us at 51. None of these nations have an annual average GDP growth of 7.9%. None of these nations aspire to be economic super power. None of these nations have human resource with technical and scientific capabilities like ours. In short, even nations much poorer than us have done a lot better than we have.

48% of India's children under the age of 5 are chronically malnourished due to poor diet and lack of nutrients in their food. We are home to the largest number of malnourished children in the world. India stands 67th out of 81 countries ranked in the Global Hunger Index. Our figure of Children malnourishment makes figures of sub-Saharan Africa look good.

At the time India got its Constitution, over 45% of people were officially below poverty line. According to latest poverty estimates, the proportion of people below poverty line are down to 37% (Taking estimate of Tendulkar committee, Arjun Sen Gupta committee suggested this figure to be 77%) , whereas, Gross domestic product (GDP) has quantum-leaped by over 500 times in the same period. Yes I agree that our nation has prospered in recent times but that prosperity has been limited to only few. The thing which has grown fasted in last 20 years is not IT but inequality.

I think it's time we start thinking about development and not mere growth. So often we use these worlds interchangeably. Growth is quantitative, whereas development is qualitative in nature. Growth is just ‘getting bigger’, whereas development is improvement. Do we really want to be a nation where 70% of population doesn’t matter? If we don’t start addressing this issue seriously then we run risk of political instability because political equality is unsustainable without social and economic inequalities. The spread of Naxalism is an indication of this phenomenon.

Note: - HDI was devised with collaborative effort of Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq and Indian economist Amartya Sen.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Does Paternity Leave Hurt Women?

Does Paternity Leave Hurt Women?

By Rachel Emma Silverman

Fathers often talk the talk about sharing parenting duties with mothers when it comes to a newborn. But a new study finds that couples who profess to believe in equally-shared parenting rarely do so in practice. The researchers surveyed 181 married, heterosexual, tenure track professors with children under age two. All of the professors had access to paid parental leave. Each survey participant was asked how their handling of about 25 child-care tasks compared with their spouse’s handling of the same tasks. Among the tasks: changing child’s diapers; taking child to doctor; feeding the child; staying home from work to care for the child; giving child a bath. (See the full list on page 21 of the study.) The majority of professors – both male and female, particularly the women – held the view that men and women should share child care duties. But only three of 109 male faculty members surveyed reported that they did half or more of the care, while 70 of 73 women reported doing at least half–even when both spouses worked full time. The study found that female professors who take paid maternity leave spent most of their time off to focus on infant care, including breastfeeding. Male professors, on the other hand, used their paid paternity leaves to focus on things other than infant care, such as research and publishing papers.
The study also found that women enjoyed doing child care work more than men. “Our results suggest that one reason why female professors do more child care may be that they like it more than men do,” the researchers wrote in the study. “This conclusion is possible even though the vast majority of female respondents and a clear majority of male respondents believe that husbands and wives should share child care equally. Gender ideology about care may be less important than feelings on these matters.”
The study, in the January issue of the Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, was conducted by Steven Rhoads, a political scientist at the University of Virginia and his son, Christopher Rhoads, an assistant professor of education at the University of Connecticut. (One caveat: the survey of the professors was done in 2001 — and ideas about gender and parenting may have changed over the last decade.) (Our fellow WSJ blog, Ideas Market, also has a take on the research here.) The researchers say that offering paid paternity leave might actually serve to advance men more than women because men tend to use the time for professional work. While only about 12% of men currently utilize their post-birth leave option, the study finds, “if men should begin to take leave in much larger numbers, far from leveling the playing field, gender-neutral, post-birth leaves are likely to tilt the field further in favor of men.” One could also argue, though, that paternity leave offers men the opportunity to learn to do more at-home and child-care tasks — and true equality in the workplace will never occur unless there is home equality as well.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Chetan Bhagat's article in TOI on Indian women being stressed out

Chetan Bhagats Article in todays TOI : Specially for Indian Women. Do Read it and share it with all the women in your life
Alright, this is not cool at all. A recent survey by Nielsen has revealed that Indian women are the most stressed out in the world: 87% of our women feel stressed out most of the time. This statistic alone has caused me to stress out. Even in workaholic America, only 53% women feel stressed.
What are we doing to our women? I'm biased, but Indian women are the most beautiful in the world. As mothers, sisters, daughters, colleagues, wives and girlfriends - we love them. Can you imagine life without the ladies? For now, i want to give Indian women five suggestions to reduce their stress levels. One, don't ever think you are without power. Give it back to that mother-in-law. Be who you are, not someone she wished you would be. She doesn't like you? That's her problem. Two, if you are doing a good job at work and your boss doesn't value you - tell him that, or quit. Talented, hard-working people are much in demand. Three, educate yourself, learn skills, network - figure out ways to be economically independent. So next time your husband tells you that you are not a good enough wife, mother or daughter-in-law, you can tell him to take a hike. Four, do not ever feel stressed about having a dual responsibility of family and work. It is difficult, but not impossible. The trick is not to expect an A+ in every aspect of your life. You are not taking an exam, and you frankly can't score cent per cent (unless you are in SRCC, of course). It is okay if you don't make four dishes for lunch, one can fill their stomach with one. It is okay if you don't work until midnight and don't get a promotion. Nobody remembers their job designation on their dying day. Five, most important, don't get competitive with other women. Someone will make a better scrapbook for her school project than you. Another will lose more weight with a better diet. Your neighbour may make a six-dabba tiffin for her husband, you don't - big deal. Do your best, but don't keep looking out for the report card, and definitely don't expect to top the class. There is no ideal woman in this world, and if you strive to become one, there will be only one thing you will achieve for certain - stress. So breathe, chill, relax. Tell yourself you are beautiful, do your best and deserve a peaceful life. Anybody trying to take that away from you is making a mistake, not you. Your purpose of coming to this earth is not to please everyone. Your purpose is to offer what you have to the world, and have a good life in return. The next time this survey comes, i don't want to see Indian women on top of the list. I want them to be the happiest women in the world. Now smile, before your mother-in-law shouts at you for wasting your time reading the newspaper.
Cherish Womanhood.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Nearly Half of World's Child Marriages Occur In India

Nearly Half of World's Child Marriages Occur In India By SiliconIndia | Thursday, 01 March 2012, 16:41 IST |

Bangalore: Contemporary India continues to be plagued by social and health ills like child marriage, early motherhood and domestic violence. More than 40 percent of the world's child marriages still occur in India. More than 60 million women worldwide who are between 20 and 24 years were married before they turned 18. Latest records in the ‘State of the World's Children report 2012’ released by UNICEF revealed that almost 22 percent women in India, who are now aged between 20 and 24 years gave birth to a child before they turned 18.
Almost 45 in every 1,000 births are born to mothers in the age group of 15-19. Around 57 percent of male adolescents (age 15-19) and 53 percent of female adolescents thought a husband was justified in beating up his wife under certain circumstances.
The report revealed that only 35 percent adolescent males (aged 15-19) and 19 percent adolescent females have a comprehensive knowledge of HIV. Almost 33 percent of children under the age of five in urban India and 46 percent in rural India are underweight.
Around two in four people in urban India and one in five in rural India use improved sanitation facilities. India ranks 46 and is among the 50 worst nations with the highest under-five mortality rate.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Violence at Workplace

How to Control Violence at Workplace? By SiliconIndia | Thursday, 01 March 2012, 16:50 IST |

Bangalore: Have you ever experienced violence in your workplace? If yes, then keep in mind that the idea of workplace violence is scaring to almost everyone. In India, workplace violence’s are quite common as several incidents in the past and present have proved the hostility and arrogance of the employees. Violence at workplace can be of different types like mental, emotional or also many a times lead to physical abuse.
According to Debhashish Sengupta of the Hindu, one such tragic example of workplace violence happened when the DGM (operations) of the company Graphite India Powermax Steel division, was killed when some terminated employees staging protest outside the plant at Bolangir (Orissa) stopped his car and allegedly set it on fire.
In September 2009, a similar case happened when the Vice President (HR) of an auto manufacturing corporation was killed by a group of suspended workers in his cabin in the company's unit about 20 km from Coimbatore. Previously, in September 2008, at Greater Noida, the CEO and Managing Director of Cerlikon-Graziano Transmission India was assassinated by a group of provoked employees.

Aasra in the DNA , 3rd March 2012

Aasra in the Times of India, 28th Feb 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

Mark Greenberg on Nurturing Mindfulness in Families, Schools and Youth

Talk about depression and suicide

Grief, despair and depression were a part of Eric Slocum's life and ultimately a part of his death. The former Seattle news anchor committed suicide. Slocum came into people's homes for years as a KOMO TV reporter and anchor, and later as a news anchor at KOMO Radio. He left KOMO several years ago to write a memoir and poetry. I hadn't talked to him in over a year, and now, looking back at his recent poetry I see a theme of death as he battled many demons. He struggled with alcohol, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression and coming out as a gay man. He wanted to lift the stigma attached to depression and other mental illnesses so people who needed help wouldn't be embarassed to ask for it. Ironically, he was in a profession where it's taboo to talk about suicide. Most news organizations have policies, generally an unspoken understanding, that "we don't report suicides." I've never agreed with that philosophy and I continue to defy it. Some say, "It would encourage others to commit suicide" or "It's so common, it happens all the time, it's not news." I've heard both statements in newsrooms I've worked in over the years. We routinely report stabbings, shootings and drunk driving accidents as if those are more newsworthy. Most of us aren't going to be victims of violent crime, but I bet every one of us knows someone who is depressed or suicidal. It's an illness that cuts across every demographic of age, gender, race, ethnicity, profession and economic status. By talking about suicide, the news we don't report, we might begin discussions that save lives. It's the most important story we could report. It's not just media people who are uncomfortable dealing with suicides. Most of us don't know what to do about mental illness. If any of us went over to a friend's house and saw they had a broken arm, we'd rush them to the hospital to get it fixed up. No hesitation. If we discovered a friend had a mental disorder, that's more complicated. How do we get them help? Where do we take them? How do we not make the situation worse? What do we say? National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call 1-800-273-8522 American Foundation for Suicide Prevention And the Poppies Die By Dan-Eric Slocum I know nothing of poppies or any plant, But I have so admired these proud, red perfect ones - my early spring companions - just beyond the window for the last three weeks, if that Startling then, when I descended the stairs this morning, with no peripheral red in the window, none. No standing tall as before, the poppies. The moderate spring rain turned petals to leaden weights; took them to the ground last night. Heartbroken, I am, after only weeks? So silly, just flowers. And the automatic swirl of despair around my heart. Later in the day, I'm told, "They would have died anyway. The growing season is so short." O my life; what to do with these constant, tiny griefs?

Many Factors lead to Suicide

Many factors lead to suicide

Written by Matt Spillane

Thursday, 01 March 2012 00:00

Over the past year, Lewisboro residents have had to cope with their fair share of tragedies. And like the rest of the country, those tragedies increasingly include deaths by suicide. Just two weeks ago, an elderly Goldens Bridge man died by suicide at his home, becoming the fifth man to take his own life in town in the past nine months. It is a trend that has people asking about motives and reasons, as well as seeking ways to prevent these deaths and finding methods to cope with them. Lewisboro is not the only town that is seeing its share of suicides, though, as the rate of suicide deaths has been increasing across the country in recent years. National trend Five reported suicides in Lewisboro over the past nine months is an extremely high number for a town of fewer than 13,000 people. For that time span, that's a rate of more than 40 suicide deaths per 100,000 people in Lewisboro; the national average in 2009 was a rate of 12.02 suicide deaths per 100,000 people, according to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC). Figures from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) show that national suicide rates steadily declined from 1993 to 2000, remained about steady until 2004, and have been rising since 2005. New York state is consistently among the states with the lowest rate of suicides. In 2009 — the most recent year that suicide statistics are available — New York had the second-lowest suicide rate of the 50 states, with a rate of 7.3 suicides per 100,000 residents. New Jersey was lowest with a rate of 6.4, while Montana was highest with a rate of 22.5. A consistent trend among those numbers is that a majority of suicide deaths are by men, particularly white men. While the national suicide rate in 2009 was just over 12, the rate for white men was 21.6. In 2009, there were 3.7 male deaths by suicide for each female death by suicide. The numbers swing the opposite way when it comes to suicide attempts, however. In 2009 there were three female suicide attempts for each male attempt. How is there such a vast difference in the rate of attempts and the rate of deaths between men and women? Dr. Alex Crosby, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC, told The Ledger this week that there are many theories about why this discrepancy exists, but that there is no specific answer. He said that part of the reason has to do with method — men use firearms more often than women do, for example. In Lewisboro, firearms were used in two of the five suicide deaths. Dr. Crosby also said that women often tend to visit physicians more frequently and seek health care more often than men, which may protect them from fatal suicide attempts. Social support systems may also play a role, he said, since men have a greater tendency to feel that they can handle their own problems, without seeking help or advice from others. Another trend that is reflected both nationally and in Lewisboro is the high rate of suicides among middle-aged people. In 2009, according to the AFSP, people between the ages of 45 and 64 had the highest rate of suicide, with a rate of 19.3 for that age group. In Lewisboro, all five of the suicide deaths were by men who were 49 or older. Risk factors When studying trends and possible reasons behind suicide deaths, Dr. Crosby said that it is important to keep in mind that suicide is a complex issue. "Most of the time, researchers have figured out that it's usually multiple influences [that cause a suicide]," he said. "That does create a challenge for us when we're looking at national trends, to figure out if there is something that's changing [across the country]." Dr. Crosby said that social isolation, substance abuse, family dysfunction and mental disorders such as clinical depression are some known risk factors for suicide. He has also looked at business cycles and the role that they might play in suicidal behavior. Along with three of his colleagues, Dr. Crosby conducted a study looking at suicide rates from the 1920s through 2007, and one of the things that they found is that the economy consistently had an influence on suicidal behavior, especially among working-age adults. When the economy improved, suicide rates went down. When the economy got worse, suicide rates went up. While he stressed that the state of the economy is not the reason for working-age suicide rates, Dr. Crosby said that it may be one of the factors. Dr. Crosby said that one of the study's recommendations is for people to identify when economic issues are affecting their communities. He said that people should make sure that their fellow residents in town have a network of support, whether it is through a church, a social service department or a similar organization. People should also be aware of the role mental illness plays in suicidal behavior. "The research that has been done will often times find some sort of indicator that the person [who died by suicide] had a mental illness," Dr. Crosby. "[However] mental illness by itself is not the only thing that puts someone at risk for suicide." Other factors, such as financial problems or family issues, combined with a mental illness often contribute to suicidal behavior, he said. Prevention and survivors There are several services available for local residents to seek help for themselves or others who demonstrate suicidal behavior. Maria Idoni, area director of the Hudson Valley and Westchester chapters of AFSP, said that her organization offers programs for suicide prevention as well as programs for suicide survivors, or people who know someone who has died by suicide. Ms. Idoni said this week that she has been running the Hudson Valley chapter for more than three years and that she just took over the Westchester chapter about a month ago. She said that her organization runs events to raise awareness for suicide prevention, such as the Out of the Darkness Walk in Mamaroneck next October, which is intended to raise money for AFSP's research and education programs and to "increase national awareness about depression and suicide, advocate for mental health issues, and assist survivors of suicide loss." Ms. Idoni also said that AFSP holds town-hall type meetings to raise awareness of suicide issues and goes into high schools to "take away the stigma of talking about mental illness." Grant Mitchell, community mental health commissioner of Westchester County and a Goldens Bridge resident, said last week that it is important for people to take suicidal behavior and threats of suicide seriously. "What we're trying to do is destigmatize having mental illness so people get help before they act on those thoughts," Mr. Mitchell said. There are also support groups for suicide survivors who know someone who has died by suicide. Rebecca Walkley, a South Salem resident and a suicide survivor, is a psychotherapist who runs the Suicide Loss Bereavement Group, a support group that meets the first Thursday of each month at the Katonah Healing Arts Alliance. Ms. Walkley said that she is a peer, not a therapist, for this group. She said that suicide is considered the most complicated of grieving processes, and that anyone interested in joining the group may call her at 361-5161 or email her at . People with suicidal behavior may call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a 24-hour, toll-free service, at 800-273-TALK (8255). Toll-free access to trained crisis counselors is also available at the National Hopeline Network at 800-SUICIDE (784-2433) or

Male suicide rates four times higher than females nationally; problem seems to have cultural roots in stoic Midwest

Male suicide rates four times higher than females nationally; problem seems to have cultural roots in stoic Midwest

Kurt Schreiner was many things. A fun uncle who faithfully attended his nephew’s football games. A charming ladies’ man who loved to travel. A kind-hearted soul who made you feel like his best friend and doled out the perfect advice. That was on the outside.
By: Tammy Swift, INFORUM

Kurt Schreiner was many things. A fun uncle who faithfully attended his nephew’s football games. A charming ladies’ man who loved to travel. A kind-hearted soul who made you feel like his best friend and doled out the perfect advice. That was on the outside. On the inside, Schreiner struggled. With drugs and alcohol. With his rightful place in the world. With an engagement that broke off. “Kurt wore the depression mask better than anyone I have ever met in my life,” says Kursten Dienert, his oldest sister. “What we came to find out was that, behind closed doors, he had lost hope in himself and belief in himself.” On Jan. 26, 2009, the Bismarck man visited a tattoo shop to finish the final phase of a huge tattoo on one arm. He went out for dinner with his sisters and their families, and they all laughed, visited and teased each other. They asked about his tattoo, still covered by a bandage. Afterward, he returned to the home of his parents, who were out of town, and he shot himself. He died on his 27th birthday.
Stories like this are all too common. Locally, suicides this month of high-profile men such as Fargo attorney Steven M. Light and the Rev. David Syverson, a Fargo priest, have shocked the community. Nationally, suicide rates are four times higher in men than they are in women across all age groups, says Dr. Paula Clayton, medical director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “It’s alarming at this point,” Clayton says. And they are on the rise. Male suicides have risen from a rate of 17.5 per 100,000 people in 2000 to 19.2 per 100,000 in 2009, according to statistics from the AFSP and The reason for the upswing is complex. The Department of Defense reports more suicides from post-traumatic stress-affected veterans. Unemployment and economic downturns historically boost suicide rates, Clayton says. And men tend to use more lethal methods, such as firearms, than women do. In fact, 80 percent of all firearm-related suicides involve white males, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Factors like mental illness and alcohol also play a powerful role. Over 60 percent of people who die by suicide suffer from major depression. If you factor in alcoholics who are also depressed, that number jumps to 75 percent, according to the AFSP. But masculine suicide seems to have deeper cultural roots, especially in the traditional, stoic Midwest. From an early age, most men are conditioned to take care of others, suppress their emotions and figure out problems on their own. ‘Believing the lie’ It was only after his death that Schreiner’s family saw the tattoo. It included koi fish, a large open rose and a theatrical mask with a disturbingly sad face. The mask made sense. Kurt, everyone’s fun, happy-go-lucky friend, had worn one for years. Dienert, who has since become an advocate for suicide prevention, knows many men are like her brother, hiding emotional pain under a fa├žade. “I hear more and more from those who have lost a male to suicide that they hide their depression so well under this mask,” says Dienert. “They appear outwardly happy. They aren’t the typically depressed person who is lying on the couch all day and is not involved in the outside world.” Dienert thinks her brother hid his depression because he believed it made him seem weak. “Although depression is never a sign of weakness, we as a society had made it out to be that. But it’s a chemical imbalance, it’s an illness. And just like women, men need our support just as much,” she says. Dr. Danial Sturgill, a Sanford psychologist, seconds that thought. As parents, he says, we comfort and support the little girl who cries, but we tell little boys to “be a big boy,” or “walk it off.” “We tend to grow up believing that men are not supposed to show or feel emotion, which isn’t true. We grow up believing that lie,” Sturgill says. “So men’s depression tends to go underground.” The pressure to be the strong, silent type is even greater for independent Midwesterners from stoic Northern European stock. “I think with agrarian families in general, there’s a lot of encouragement to suck it up and do it yourself,” he says. “There’s some fabulous things about those traits, but if you’re dealing with clinical depression, this is a situation you need to handle differently.” Suffering in silence Gender differences in friendships also can play a part. Women confide their problems and vulnerabilities to their female friends, while men tend to limit their social interactions to less personal topics. “It’s more difficult for men to talk about their concerns and things that are meaningful and difficult in their lives,” Sturgill says. Tom and Audrey Richmond of Fargo say their son, Roy, had a circle of male friends who would rally around him when he struggled with depression or the alcohol dependency that had plagued him since his 20s. They’d take him fishing or work on cars together. Even so, Roy was a reserved, fiercely independent man who remains an enigma to his family even after his 2009 suicide. “We could go four to six weeks and he wouldn’t call,” says Tom Richmond, a retired Concordia professor. “I think he just didn’t want to bother us.” His parents saw their only son as a bundle of contradictions. He had learning disabilities, but was a natural writer. He didn’t make much money, but was unfailingly generous to others. He suffered from a painful, autoimmune disease for decades, yet rarely asked anyone for help. Like any parent would, they’ve wondered what made him give up hope. They ask if his self-esteem problems came from being bullied in grade school and junior high because he was small for his age. They discovered he had stopped refilling his depression medication, as a stubborn protest against his insurance’s high co-pay. They wonder if he’d just been playing around with his gun and didn’t mean to shoot himself. But in Roy’s death, as in his life, it was hard to know what he was thinking. Getting him to get help The Clint Eastwood mask – the belief that men need to be tough, reserved and self-reliant – also prevents males from seeking help when it’s needed most. “Men are less likely to engage in treatment for any condition, whether it’s cancer or a lump or a skin rash or whatever,” Clayton says. “It’s just harder to get men to go to the doctor.” But if husbands or significant others are acting strangely, it’s important to say something. Men can show classic depressive symptoms (hopelessness, pessimism, etc.), but they may also talk of physical complaints such as headaches or stomach trouble. Depressed males are more likely to act out with irritability and angry outbursts, Sturgill says. In fact, studies have shown a significant link between increased impulsivity and aggression and suicide risk. “If your husband punches walls when he gets mad, he’s in more danger,” Clayton says. Another risk factor for suicide is alcohol or drug abuse. Although Kurt Schreiner was clean and sober for 2½ months before his suicide, authorities found his blood alcohol level was extremely high at the time of his death. “That is a really deadly combination in terms of people who have depressive symptoms. You mix in these substances and their inhibitions are down and their judgment is down,” Sturgill says. A wife may hesitate to say anything, for fear she’ll offend her husband or even plant thoughts of self-harm into his head. But speaking up has the opposite effect. “Just asking the question makes it less likely that the person will do something,” Sturgill says. One should never assume that people are talking about death or self-harm simply to get attention. “People should take that very seriously,” Sturgill says. “If someone is trying to get your attention, it means there’s an unmet need of some sort.” Clayton believes the best medicine is to talk compassionately and honestly. A typical opener might be: “I love you and I’m concerned about you.” That can lead to specific worries, such as: “You’ve stopped going to church, you’re not eating, and you’ve isolated from friends.” The help doesn’t stop there. The concerned party should set up an appointment with a doctor or counselor, then accompany them to the appointment to make sure the patient mentions it, Clayton says. And they need to monitor the situation for a while, because depression can be episodic and recurrent. The first medication doesn’t always work, but there is hope for those who are willing to set aside their masks and seek help. “The other thing we know about suicidal thoughts is that if we can get someone through those times, it does go away,” Sturgill says. “I find that once people come in the door, they realize they’re not going to be told that there’s something terribly wrong that they can’t get help for. It’s just getting through that door.” ‘If I knew then’ The years following Kurt Schreiner’s death have been difficult. Her parents’ marriage did not survive their son’s death, Dienert says. Yet there have been hopeful, happy days. Dienert’s sister, Delaine Ballard, had a baby girl two years ago. And the loss of their brother drove home the importance of loved ones so much that they now call each other daily. Dienert and Ballard are both involved in the North Dakota chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, for which Ballard helped start an “Out of the Darkness” tribute walk in Jamestown. As her own tribute, Dienert had Kurt’s tattoo redrawn and placed on her back. She says it’s a way to keep her beloved little brother with her always. “If I knew then what I know now, which is way too much about suicide, I may have been able to say, hey do you need help? Is there more I can do to help you?” she says. “Serious depression is no different from someone diagnosed with cancer. We really need to step up and make people aware that something needs to be done.” Suicide warning signs Suicide can be prevented. While some suicides occur without any outward warning, most people who are suicidal do give signs, such as: Observable signs of serious depression (unrelenting low mood, pessimism, hopelessness, desperation, anxiety, withdrawal, sleep problems). Increased alcohol and/or other drug use. Recent impulsiveness or taking unnecessary risks. Threatening suicide or expressing a wish to die. Making a plan (giving away prized possessions, sudden purchase of firearm). Unexpected rage or anger (more common in men). Readers can reach Forum reporter Tammy Swift at (701) 241-5525

The wealthy are more likely to lie and cheat, says a new study

Wealthy class more likely to lie and cheat: Study
Thu Mar 1, 2012 10:35 am (PST)

Wealthy class more likely to lie and cheat: Study
Washington : They may be the more respectable and upstanding members of society, but the rich are also more likely to lie, cheat and engage in other kinds of unethical activities than those in lower classes, claims a new study. But these findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, do not mean that everyone of high status behaves unethically, nor that everyone in lower society behaves ethically, scientists cautioned. " We're not saying that if you're rich, you're necessarily unethical, and that if you're poor, you're necessarily ethical, there are lots of instances of increased ethical conduct among upperclass individuals," study researcher Paul Piff, a social psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, was quoted. However, the researchers suggested that the richs view of the world may be clouded by self- absorption and greed. As a result, they have fewer scruples than those who have less money to burn. They came to the conclusion after a series of experiments examining social class and ethics. The first two took place in the street, with motorists secretly being observed as they crossed a busy junction and approached pedestrian crossings. Those in the flashiest cars, assumed to be wealthy ones, were four times as likely as those in old bangers to cut up other vehicles by barging their way across the junction, the researchers found. In a series of lab tests that included undergraduates at Berkeley and national online samples of adults, those who considered themselves upper class were found to have greater tendencies to make unethical decisions. This included unrightfully stealing something, lying in a negotiation, cheating at a game of chance to boost their chances of winning cash or endorsing unethical behavior at work, such as stealing cash, receiving bribes and overcharging customers. " I was surprised at the consistency and strength of all these effects - upper- class individuals often acted unethically three to four times more often than lower- class individuals," Piff said. Another lab experiment revealed that unethical behaviour was not necessarily inherent to individuals. The researchers had volunteers compare themselves with people with the most or least money, education and respected jobs, thereby subtly putting them into the mindset of someone with a relatively low or high socioeconomic status. Greed was found to be the driving force. When poorer volunteers were asked to think of ways greed could be beneficial before taking part in the experiment, they acted just as unethically as the wealthy. " If you take lower socioeconomic status people and just change their social values very subtly, they'll act just as unethically as upperclass individuals," Piff said. " The patterns of behavior naturally arise from increased wealth and status compared to others." Other studies have shown that upper- class individuals are often less cognisant of others, worse at identifying the emotions others feel, less generous and altruistic, and more disengaged socially. Such research might support these new findings - it may be easier to act unethically toward others if you are not thinking about how they feel, Piff added. URL:

The number of kids studying in English medium schools has risen to 2 crore

2 crore kids study in English-medium schools
Fri Mar 2, 2012 4:59 am (PST)

Over 2cr Indian kids study in English-medium schools....Anahita Mukherji Enrolment Up 274% In 8 Years, Beats Marathi & Bengali New Delhi: The last eight years have seen a staggering rise in the number of children studying in English-medium schools across the country. Data on school enrolment for 2010-11 shows that, for the first time, the number of children enrolled in English-medium schools from Classes I to VIII has crossed the two crore mark-a 274% rise since 2003-04. For the fourth year in a row, English is the second-largest medium of instruction in India, ahead of both Marathi and Bengali, according to a yet-to-be released report on countrywide school enrolment by the National University of Education, Planning and Administration (NUEPA) under its District Information System for Education. "The collection of information under DISE has improved over the years, and now gives a true picture of enrolments by medium of instruction across the country," says Professor Arun C Mehta of NUEPA. Experts fault state govts' handling of Eng demand New Delhi: While Hindi, Marathi,Bengali andEnglish have all seen a rise in enrolment in schools in 2010-11 when compared with the previous year, English has seen the highest rate of increase, a yet-to-be released report by the National University of Education, Planning and Administration (NUEPA) has revealed. While there is an obvious demand for English, academicians and policy-makers alike believe that state governments are handling this demand in an extremely unimaginative manner. "There is a wealth of research which showsthatthebest medium of instruction for a child to have a conceptual understanding of a subject is his mother tongue. Just because people want their children to study English does not mean that they need to enroll them in an English-medium school. If Indian-languageschoolsdid a good job teaching English, parents would not need to send their children to English-medium schools," said R Govinda, vice-chancellor of NUEPA. He himself studied in a Kannada-medium school where he picked up good English, he pointed out. "There has been extensive research to show that the number of years for which children study a language does not necessarily translate into them being able to speak or readthelanguage.Itisseen that if you show mastery over your first language and can read and write it fluently, you can learn a second language, such as English, a lot faster," says Professor Anita Rampal, dean of the faculty of education at Delhi University. She points to countless instances where textbooks are in English but children can't make sense of them. URL: