How Does Mass Surveillance Affect Our Health? And Other News

An overhead view of a person sitting at a computerIt’s been more than a decade since the Patriot Act increased concerns about the government spying on its citizens, and nearly two years since Edward Snowden revealed that many of those concerns are valid. Now, a survey by Amnesty International of 15,000 people in 13 countries suggests that mass surveillance may be affecting our health. Only 26% of respondents believed the government should be able to spy on its own citizens, with just 29% endorsing spying on people in other countries. Forty-two percent reported that government surveillance affected the way they use the Internet to gain information. The researchers who led the survey worry that such changes might affect how willing people are to seek out or share information about their mental or physical health. Though government surveillance was a concern among the majority of people surveyed, more than half said that such surveillance would not change their willingness to criticize their government.

The Surprising Psychology Behind Why Some People Become Environmentalists

Political orientations may seem like choices, but a complex cocktail of psychological factors can play a role as well. A new study has found that empathy is linked to an increased likelihood of identifying as an environmentalist, while another study found that openness to new experiences could play a role in environmentalism. 

Are Smartphones Making Us Lazy Thinkers?

Hard as it may be to believe, Google can’t answer everything, and GPS won’t help you find every place. Researchers are increasingly expressing concerns that smartphones stunt critical thinking by making it too easy to get answers. The constant distractions of cell phones can make it challenging to think more deeply. With answers readily available for many questions, people who cannot find an answer through a smartphone might give up rather than engaging more deeply with the question. 

Mental Health of Trafficking Victims Overlooked

A study of more than 1,000 human trafficking victims has found a high rate of mental health issues among this group. Half reported experiencing sexual or physical violence as a result of being trafficked. Sixty percent experienced symptoms of depression, with 40% reporting signs of posttraumatic stress. Five percent reported attempting suicide in the last month. In 2012, about 21 million people were victims of forced labor. 

Mental Health: A New Priority in Corporate America

About 61 million people—or one in four—experience a mental health issue every year. These mental health challenges can affect corporations both small and large, with many businesses steadily working to improve workers’ mental health. The Campaign to Change Direction has drawn mental health issues to the attention of many government agencies and nonprofits, but now corporations are increasingly prioritizing mental wellness. A survey by Employee Benefit magazine found that 31% of respondents report mental health issues as the leading cause of lost productivity on the job. 

Virginia Senator Creigh Deeds Honored By Mental Health Group

Creigh Deeds, the senator who was stabbed by his son shortly before the son committed suicide, was named State Legislator of the Year by the American Psychological Association. The award honors his work to improve the quality and accessibility of mental health services. 

New MIND Diet May Significantly Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease

The Mediterranean-Dash Intervention for neurodegenerative delay (MIND) diet may help prevent Alzheimer’s symptoms, according to a new study. The study found that the risk of Alzheimer’s disease was decreased by 53% in people who carefully followed the diet, and 35% in those who followed the diet moderately well. 

Low Vitamin D Levels, Depression Linked in Young Women, New Study Shows

In otherwise healthy women, low vitamin D levels are correlated with higher rates of depression, a study of 185 college students has found. Sixty-one percent of women of color had vitamin D deficiencies, compared to 35% of white women. The study’s authors say that their work doesn’t conclusively show that vitamin D deficiency causes depression. They argue that a follow-up trial on the effects vitamin D has on depression might offer further information.

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  • Lib

    Lib

    March 20th, 2015 at 12:01 PM

    Sometimes the government has to make those tough decisions that we may not like but they are doing it for our own good. How can they be faulted for looking out for their citizens?

  • Syl

    Syl

    March 21st, 2015 at 5:58 AM

    I also think that a large part of why you may become more environmentally minded would be if you actually enjoy doing things outside and you want nature to be around for a long time in a pristine form for your family to enjoy. If you are a homebody then maybe you don’t think about it as much.

  • katie

    katie

    March 21st, 2015 at 8:37 AM

    Low vitamin D?
    Drink some milk and get outside!

  • Samuel

    Samuel

    March 22nd, 2015 at 5:08 AM

    The workforce as a whole experiences huge losses in productivity when the workers from where they draw their labor is unhealthy, and this includes mentally unhealthy as well. There is lost time and lost wages for everyone. Now is the time to make this a priority

  • abigail

    abigail

    March 23rd, 2015 at 8:28 AM

    We are all the time searching for some magic cure when It seems as if the one thing we continually to avoid but can make so much difference to our health is the food that we eat.

    Here is yet another example of how having the right foods in your diet can help to fight a disease that once seemed to have no cure or treatment.

    It is so important for understand that what we pout into our bodies makes a very real difference and can turn our health in a very positive direction if we are willing to make those changes.

  • Les

    Les

    March 23rd, 2015 at 11:15 AM

    Any time that we can have a high profile advocate like a senator speaking about the importance of stressing awareness of mental health issues is always a move in the aright decision. I pray for this family as I know their trials have been difficult, but I am so glad to see that he is using his voice and his own experience to increase awareness across the board.

  • Lottie D.

    Lottie D.

    March 25th, 2015 at 3:59 PM

    I guess that I have become so immune to the fact that we are probably being watched and monitored that I never even think about it until I happen upon things like this. I don’t know, I guess it does not bother me so much because I see it as a safety thing. And what do I have to hide anyway?

  • colette

    colette

    March 26th, 2015 at 11:56 AM

    I would have suspected that where you grow up would have a greater impact on you as to whether you are an environmentally minded person. If you grow up in a more urban setting then perhaps nature and the natural settings do not mean quite as much to you because you are not surrounded with how it is being affected everyday.

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