Where behavioral science and humanism get out of the ivory tower, and into the world.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Woo! Inflammatory article time!

So Mr. James Oliver at the Guardian has written an article on how current (lack of) genetic evidence for mental illness in populations is strong evidence that much of it is socially constructed, and there for, conservatives are dumb. Ie. Psychological challenges are much more prevalent in people who have a low socio-economic-status as opposed to those who enjoy a high SES regardless of genetic tendencies.

He goes on to talk about how, from a genetic perspective, south east Asia should have the highest rates of depression. While from psych testing it shows to have some of the lowest rates. He goes on to state that this is because they are much more collective society but he doesn’t site any peer-reviewed evidence to support this. Then he goes on to talk about how conservatives are echoing ideas of “Social  Darwinism” in the belief that the genetic sciences would back them up.

While I believe that SES, culture, and environment and quality of learned coping and interaction skills are probably the most important factors in mental health I’m reluctant to take the leap Mr. Oliver did. Correlation / causation are dangerous ideas to conflate, and the ad hominem attacks with it speak to me of major editorializing. Which strikes as a problem when presented in an article that is originally set up to be a fact based one.  

But still… more and more to think about…

Monday, October 11, 2010

It gets better


I know I’m a few weeks behind the cutting edge, but I think for everyone who’s not familiar yet with Dan Savages amazing new support idea “It gets better” campaign I thought I’d fill ya in. The main focus is help prevent suicide among teens who identify as part of the LGBTQ community. Many LGBTQ teens commit suicide due to bulling and many other hardships they face as a teen out side the norm. People who identify as LGBTQ, particularly teens, are much much much more likely to use alcohol, other substances, harm themselves and kill themselves.

The youtube channel that he made is filled with videos of adults speaking about their teen years and many of the hardships they faced and that, in fact, life gets better. The bullying ends, they can move to better places, find friends, love and have futures. In hopes that it’ll give strength and solace to LGBTQ youth to make it through. It’s an extremely powerful set of videos and I recommend everyone watch it. Even if you’re not a youth questioning your sexual identity, or knowing that you’re a sexual minority you should watch it, and pass it along to anyone you know who could use some encouragement in life.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

New MHCA site!

Hi all!
I just completed and set up the new website for the Hudson Valley chapter of the New York Mental Health Counselors Association. Check it out! http://hudsonvalleynymhca.com