Study Uncovers Unhappiest Cities, and Other News

Rooftops, chimneys, and antennas at sunsetThe place you choose to live may have a bigger impact on your happiness than you might think. A study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research asked Americans to respond to surveys reporting on their quality of life. The study found the top 10 most unhappy cities to be Scranton, Pennsylvania; St. Joseph, Missouri; Erie, Pennsylvania; South Bend, Indiana; Jersey City, New Jersey; Johnstown, Pennsylvania; Non-Metropolitan West Virginia; Springfield, Massachusetts; New York, New York; and Evansville-Henderson, Indiana. According to the study, the happiest cities are Charlottesville, Virginia; Rochester, Minnesota; Lafayette, Louisiana; Naples, Florida; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Flagstaff, Arizona; Shreveport, Louisiana; Houma, Louisiana; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Provo, Utah.

The researchers point out that people continue to move to those cities associated with unhappiness, and they cite compromises such as higher wages or lower housing costs as reasons people may be willing to sacrifice some happiness. They also note that dissatisfaction does not seem to be a primary motive for leaving a location either.

Brown Approves Changes to Mental Health References

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a bill designed to reduce mental health stigma by removing outdated language from California laws. References to insanity, defectiveness, and similar terms will be removed and replaced with more contemporary terms, such as intellectual disability, developmental disability, and mental health disorder. The move is an attempt to reduce mental health stigma.

Antipsychotic Meds Accelerate Brain Shrinkage, Study

Antipsychotic drugs commonly used to treat schizophrenia can yield a marked reduction in brain volume, according to new research. The study compared 31 people with schizophrenia to 71 people without the condition. The people with schizophrenia had all taken antipsychotic medications. Brain scans revealed that people with schizophrenia saw a .7% reduction in brain volume each year, compared to .5% among people without schizophrenia. 

Mental Health Panel Begins Work

In 2013, Virginia Senator Creigh Deeds was brutally stabbed by his son, Gus, who then killed himself. The elder Deeds survived, and earlier this week, he and 12 other senators began a new panel, The Joint Subcommittee to Study Mental Health Services in the Commonwealth in the 21st Century, designed to research and implement policies that improve life for people with mental health conditions, their families, and the surrounding community.

Mental-Health Risks of Diabetes Underrecognized

A report issued at the Mental Health Issues of Diabetes conference highlights the need for better mental health care for people with diabetes. People with diabetes are at an increased risk of mental health conditions. For example, they face a depression risk two times that of the average person. Disordered eating is also common with between 30% and 40% of young diabetic women experiencing disordered eating patterns. Many people with diabetes don’t get proper mental health care, though, and doctors rarely ask about mental health conditions among diabetic patients.

More States Requiring Reporting of Mental Health Records to FBI Gun Background Check Databases

More states are requiring that gun background checks include mental health records. There were 3.4 million mental health records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System this year—an increase from previous years. Forty-three states have rules governing reporting people with mental illnesses, but the rules vary significantly from state to state.

Smokers at Higher Risk for Suicide

A new study has found that the suicide risk among smokers is two to four times that of the general population. The study also notes that smokers are more likely to experience psychiatric problems. Previous research has found that smoking is common among those facing mental health conditions, with 44% of people with a mental health condition regularly smoking.

Humans ‘Bad at Detecting Lies’

An experiment at the Latitude Festival designed to highlight behavior associated with lies emphasizes that people are generally bad at detecting liars. In a BBC broadcast, cognitive neuroscientist Sophie Scott emphasizes that most people maintain eye contact, rather than averting their gaze, when lying. Forensic psychologist Kerry Daynes says that the Latitude Festival experiment shows that most people are effectively deceived by liars most of the time.

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  • Shannon

    Shannon

    July 25th, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    The governor can change the verbage all he wants and while I applaud the move it doesn’t mean that this alone will make someone change how they feel about those with mental illness.

    You can change the words that are used and how the laws are written but for some there will always be this cloud that for them hangs over the issue of mental illness, like they are afraid that is a disease that is contagious or something.

    The only thing that will change those kinds of minds would be for them to have a direct relationship with someone who is mentally ill and to see on a personal level just how much they can still be impacted in a positive way by this person.

  • Peter

    Peter

    July 25th, 2014 at 9:13 PM

    I grew up in South Bend and left in 2001, back before things got 10x worse. I always compared it to “Derry” from Stephen King novels.
    I can only imagine the suffering now.

  • Gemma

    Gemma

    July 26th, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    Glad to see that even though my city didn’t make the “happy” list we didn’t make the “worst” list either!

  • audrey

    audrey

    July 27th, 2014 at 5:18 AM

    Living with diabetes and getting that diagnosis can be devastating on many different levels. You think of the ways that your everyday lifestyle may have to change and could be affected and you worry about the many changes that you will have to make to maintain the best health situation possible for you. It can sometimes seem so threatening so I can easily see how there are those who struggle with this as if it is a life sentence and then they become depressed.

  • LeeLee

    LeeLee

    July 27th, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    Most of us probably believe the liars because we happen to think that we are pretty good at knowing when someone is BSing us and that w eocould see right though it if someone was not being truthful. HOwever there are some people who are just too good at deceiving and have been doing it for so long that they are hard to detect. And if you are like me I honestly want to believe the best about others so even when someone fesses up I still have a hard time thinking that they would have lied to me right to my face.

  • Janice

    Janice

    July 28th, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    it would be interesting to learn if people who have more mental health problems are smokers before the troubles begin or is this something that sort of happens as a way to cope with their health issues. It isn’t the best choice in the world but I have heard soooo many smokers talk about how having a cigarette relazes them, so maybe this is all part of that effort to find relaxation when their world can feel so chaotic.

  • arman

    arman

    July 29th, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    I read that story about The VA senator and it just goes to show that none of us are immune from these problems. There are stories that every family has and no one is above them. I very much pray that the mor we become willing to talk about these things with brutal honesty then the better chance that we will have to start making improvements in how those with mental health issues receive treatment and also improve their relationships with their famiies which usually tend to suffer as a result.

  • bob

    bob

    July 30th, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    lots of industrial like cities on that unhappy list
    in any way correlate to unemployment rates over past several years?

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