Half of People Killed by Police Have Disability, and Other News

Police car lights in front of a crowd of peopleNearly half of all people killed by police have a disability, according to a new report by the Ruderman Family Foundation. These disabilities often include mental health conditions, which the report suggests media reports sometimes use to blame the victim. A range of disabilities can inhibit a person’s ability to understand and comply with police instructions, increasing vulnerability to violence.

The paper tells the story of John Williams, a First Nation woodcarver who was shot while walking down the street holding a small knife. Williams had severe hearing loss, and was therefore unable to comply with verbal police instructions to drop the weapon.

The report comes at a time of increased public attention to police shootings, particularly of unarmed African-American men. Although black men account for 40% of police shooting victims—even though they comprise only 6% of the population—the report emphasizes the often overlooked role of disability and mental health in police shootings.

The report highlights the role journalists play in shaping public opinion about police shootings. It concludes with a number of recommended best practices for journalists reporting on such shootings. Those include being mindful of mental health stigma, avoiding blaming the victim, and using sensitive language to discuss disabilities.

‘Tough Guys’ Less Likely to Be Honest With Doctor

On average, men die five years younger than women, and physiological differences do not account for this discrepancy. Relationships with doctors might explain some of the difference. According to a study of 250 participants published in Preventive Medicine, men with stereotypical beliefs about manhood and masculinity might be more likely to put off dealing with any symptoms they may have, particularly when they fear those symptoms make them look “weak.”

F.D.A. Toughens Warning Labels for Some Opioid Painkillers

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced plans to require immediate-release opioids to carry a strongly worded box warning about the high risks of abuse and overdose death. In 2013, the FDA tightened labeling and warning requirements on extended-release opioids because of their potency, but this is the first time the same restrictions have been applied to immediate-release opioids. The news comes as a number of government agencies are working to reduce opioid abuse, addiction, and overdose.

Social Media Use Associated With Depression Among U.S. Young Adults

A new study published in Depression and Anxiety posits a direct connection between social media use and depression among young adults ages 19-32. The study followed 1,787 participants and found a direct correlation between time spent on social media and increased risk of depression. On average, participants used social media for 61 minutes each day, visiting various social media sites 30 times per week.

Mind-Based Therapies May Ease Lower Back Pain

Mindfulness-based stress reduction—an approach that incorporates elements of yoga, body awareness, and meditation—could help the 65 million Americans who experience chronic low back pain, according to a study published in JAMA. Researchers randomly assigned 342 participants ages 20-70 to either cognitive behavioral therapy or mindfulness-based stress reduction. After six months, those cultivating mindfulness reported less difficulty with tasks such as getting out of a chair and climbing stairs.

Could Germ from Cat Poop Trigger Rage Disorder in People?

People diagnosed with intermittent explosive disorder, a condition that causes sudden bouts of intense anger, are more than twice as likely to carry Toxoplasma gondii. The parasite is common in cat litter boxes, suggesting cat ownership—and particularly exposure to litter boxes—could affect mental health. People with the infection from the parasite score higher on measures of anger and aggression because the areas of the brain that control emotion regulation may be directly affected.

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  • Leave a Comment
  • Zelly

    March 26th, 2016 at 9:42 AM

    When used responsibly I have no doubt that being on social media sites can be a good thing. You can reconnect with people you haven’t seen in a while, discover new interests…. it can be great. But it can also be disappointing if you are using it to be miserable about what you think others have that you don’t. I am sure that looking at it from that perspective and participating in that way can be a real downer.

  • Jonathan

    March 28th, 2016 at 3:25 PM

    So how does a man think that a doctor can help him if he is not willing to be honest with him?

  • Liam

    March 28th, 2016 at 4:49 PM

    I know that police are being blamed for the things that they do, but do we ever stop to thank them for the good that they do? We only tend to look at the stories that cause us shock in a bad way while never focusing on the millions more that do something good for the communities where they live. I think that it is time to have equal opportunity reporting .

  • jean

    June 8th, 2016 at 3:08 PM

    NO, hey have a job just like you or me. I work in mental health and if anyone has areason to be angry and go ofgf on people we often do. The police sign on for a job and they don’t get a pass in my book to work out their untreated mental illness on the public

  • trevor

    March 29th, 2016 at 11:21 AM

    I knew that cats were not cool like dogs.

  • AurorJulia

    March 29th, 2016 at 4:08 PM

    I am not so sure that there will be many back surgeons out there who will be willing to buy into the idea that mindfulness could help more of their patients. They are only going to see this as cutting into (no pun intended) and so they are not going to suggest this as an option to their patients as an alternative to surgery. Maybe if the word gets out via other means it could make a difference but I am not so sure within the traditional medical community.

  • Ben

    March 29th, 2016 at 5:47 PM

    And what about those with no disability who are just using some excuse, anything that they can come up with, to justify their criminality?

  • nana j

    March 31st, 2016 at 8:50 AM

    I am determined to do this with my back because i do not wish to have my back cut on at all!

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