I Salute Men & Women fighting in Combat & War on Homefront- Today & Yesterday for American Freedom

Home of the Free

Sending prayers to family and friends for their loss of loved ones serving the Military.Daily I’m reminded of the sacrifices made to defend the freedoms we enjoy today in America. I pray every soldier comes home soon.

Gramps, I’ll never forget the sacrifices you made to win WWII. I love you.

Xx M


Protecting our ports after Pearl Harbor.



Howard school staff, mental health experts weigh in on suicide depiction in Netflix series

Andrew Michaels Contact Reporter Howard County Times

The Netflix hit series “13 Reasons Why” has the Howard County school system, and schools in neighboring counties, warning parents about the show’s graphic depictions of teen suicide, rape and bullying. At the same time, many are saying the show opens a doorway into conversations on suicide and other “uncomfortable” topics.

The streaming service’s show caught viewer attention nationwide after its debut in March. The show follows the story of high school student Hannah Baker, who commits suicide and leaves behind 13 cassette tape recordings for her peers, who she said contributed to her decision to end her life.

Based on a 2007 novel with the same title, the graphic depictions in the 13-episode show – rated TV-MA for mature audiences only – raised concerns among mental health experts, educators, parents and youth. Efforts against the show include that of Oxford High School students in Michigan, who started their “13 reasons why not” project, discussing their uplifting stories about getting help during tough times every day throughout May.

Three episodes feature explicit material, such as rape and suicide, and have “viewer discretion advised” warnings. In a statement earlier this month, Netflix said that they added more warnings before the first episode, following critic response. Original messages before the graphic episodes also reemphasized its content.

After becoming the “most tweeted show of 2017,” according to Variety, “13 Reasons Why” was renewed for a second season, to debut in 2018.

Howard County schools spokesman John White said the school system released a letter to parents and the community on May 1 in response to reports of students discussing the show with their peers and teachers. The letter was written by staff and student services employees, with input from counseling support and school psychology staff and nursing staff.

“While people may have differing opinions on the appropriateness of children and adolescents watching the series, we can use this as an opportunity to reinforce positive mental health practices,” the letter states. “It is critical that we consider safe messaging when we talk to all youth and adolescents about suicide, whether it is about this series or a situation that involves them more closely.”

A memo was also sent to principals throughout the school system, said Frank Eastham, executive director of school improvement and administration. The memo states that “13 Reasons Why” is not approved for viewing in Howard County schools.

Eastham said parents are encouraged to talk with their children about whether they’ve heard of or seen the show as well as provide an outlet for open discussion regarding suicide, rape, bullying or other concerns.

“When anything hits national news, such as this particular Netflix series, we want to make sure principals are equipped with the message and resources they need to speak intelligently about the issue,” Eastham said. The memo and letter included links to more information on mental health and contacts for mental health experts.

Prince George’s County schools followed suit on May 10 when Adrian Talley, executive director for student services, sent a letter to parents, which provided additional resources from the National Association of School Psychologists and the American School Counselor Association. Talley said teachers discuss suicide with eighth-grade students during the health education class and continue discussions in the high school health issues course.

Courses review causes and warning signs of suicide as well as ways to help someone suffering from a mental health illness or contemplating suicide. The material aligns with the Maryland State Health Education Curriculum.

“Our school psychologists, nurses and professional school counselors are trained to recognize risk behaviors in our youth and take seriously all reports of suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts,” Talley said.

Similar courses in Anne Arundel County public schools address suicide, and the school system posts a parents’ guide to school health on its website and includes information on how to talk to kids about suicide.

Critics respond

In Howard County, Kami Wagner, the school system’s instructional facilitator for school counseling, said she hasn’t watched the show, but heard about it from colleagues who are watching the series. The more she heard about its content, she said, the more she wanted to inform everyone about proper responses and available resources for those who need help.

Suicide, rape and bullying are part of the school system’s ninth-grade health curriculum, which White said uses educational resources based on fact rather than fiction.

Parents need to be part of the conversation, Wagner said.

“For young kids to be watching it, not that they shouldn’t watch it, parents need to be involved,” she said. “Our goal is not to have students watching this by themselves. If they are going to make the choice to watch it, we want parents to be actively engaged in the conversation.”

White and Wagner agreed that they’ve heard students talk about how the show is related to their own experience, specifically regarding its depiction of peer conflict in school. Technology and social media are contributing factors to this issue, Wagner said, with the negative effects also depicted in “13 Reasons Why.”

As a parent, White, who’s currently watching the show, said he’s talked about the series with his daughter, a high school senior who also watched the series. Despite some critics’ response saying the show “glorifies suicide,” White said it’s “less of an idea that you’re glorifying and more of the need to communicate and have conversations about the topic.”

“This is a very well done program from the movie and cinematic viewpoint,” White said.

Because certain aspects are relatable, he said, they raise awareness of the negative consequences that may follow and how to help people who need it.

However, Howard County Mental Health Authority Executive Director Madeline Morey said the show might trigger a contagion effect or copycat behavior among vulnerable youth, despite the intention of the show’s creators and producers to shed light on the issues. Individuals involved in the series creation and development discussed their intentions in a 30-minute Netflix documentary, “13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons,” which accompanies the series.

In this case, the contagion effect refers to children who are vulnerable or might already have a preexisting mental health condition, Morey said. If they watch something like “13 Reasons Why,” they may be more likely to repeat certain actions as a solution to a stressful situation.

Morey said she believed those behind the show unintentionally “promoted some of the behaviors” as viable options in their depictions of suicide or bullying.

“From what I could tell, the intent of it was to introduce the subject that may be difficult for people to talk about,” Morey said. “It certainly is hard for parents or anyone to talk about some of these difficult subjects, like violence, self-harm or suicide. I think that what the producers of the show or the show itself may not take into account is that the adolescent brain is really wired for risk taking.”

It’s important to know how to properly broach the subject, she said.

The county’s mental health authority recently completed its needs assessment report and FY18-22 strategic plan, which is based on input from focus groups conducted with 111 participants, including mental health recipients and providers, family members and school personnel.

In the behavioral health system, according to a focus group within the strategic plan, a top area in need of improvement was suicide intervention in children and youth up to age 17, and reducing the stigma among adults, ages 18 to 59. Another behavioral health need identified among children and youth was discussing and understanding self-worth. Focus groups in the same category revealed parental involvement and family support as strengths, with improvements suggested in school-based mental health in the behavioral health system.

“It’s important to seek advice from a qualified professional,” Morey said. “Even as a parent, you may not be equipped to deal with some of these sensitive subjects. If a child is expressing, or you have concerns about, any behaviors, go to a professional and make sure you have attempted to address what you’re seeing or witnessing.”

White said counseling is available in all Howard schools every day, in addition to a crisis teams, if needed.

“It’s difficult to talk about this happening to any child, especially for a parent thinking about it happening to their child,” White said. “This isn’t the first time any school has had to talk about suicide. It has just been elevated by this production. We have to be aware that if children want to watch it, they’re going to find a way these days. We have to be prepared on how to engage them on their level.”


For more information or to find help, contact Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center at 410-531-6677; Howard County Mental Health Authority at 410-313-6300; or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Training To Service.org *LGBT Aging Resources*

Minneapolis ranks 4th among U.S. cities in percentage of gay, lesbian and bisexual residents. Approximately 12.5% of Minneapolis identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual. Transgender was not a category in analysis. (UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law & Public Policy)

There are an estimated 48,000 LGBT older adults living in Minnesota. Many LGBT older adults do not have the same support networks that are available to heterosexual peers. LGBT older adults are five times less likely to access senior services than heterosexual peers. By not accessing these services, LGB&T older adults are more susceptible to experiencing increased isolation, depression, substance abuse, and institutionalization.   M


Triple Shot Thursday*From Reguest Line*

Today’s awesome tunes requested by good friend Charly Priest. He may have a rough exterior at times, he’s made of sugar. Leave request in my comments box for next weeks entertainment.  Get ready for a musical treat. 🙂 M

3 tunes that I like in different times during the day

1 – in the morning https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLhN__oEHaw&list=RDMMhLhN__oEHaw

2-afternoon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TR3Vdo5etCQ

3- late https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MnF6tonFY4atnight


A Vivid Memory #1 By Guest Margie Lakefield

“A Vivid Memory”

This may take me all of today and well into the night. I had written in an earlier post that I would revisit something. I made a special promise to my oldest daughter. And today is the day I fulfill that promise. It began the day that she was born.

She arrived three weeks early. And, just like any new child’s arrival she came without a warranty clause, a type-written instruction manual and no return address label.

I’d practiced the natural birthing process, The Bradley method. The 8.25 months of pregnancy went without a hitch, except for mom catching the flu at five months of pregnancy.

Birthing went almost according to plan. No pain meds, no spinal block, but after several hours from having my water break, the doctor(s) where concerned that infection or stress of labor may cause concerns to the unborn baby. They prescribed Pitocin, and with knowledge I’d gained in birthing class, I clung to my hope of having a natural child-birth, but was also warned that the induction could produce rather strong contractions, and it did not offer a buffering from any pain that I would incur by its introduction. I kept with Plan A. Let me bear this baby, naturally. (The following link provides further details on Pitocin via Yahoo)


Now, I have to give my doctors and St. Francis hospital in Tulsa, kudos for the way they helped my delivery. My labor had begun at work, around 8:30 in the morning, and by 10:00 a.m., I was strapped to a gurney, and plugged into all the machinery a labor and delivery room can offer for the monitoring of baby and mama. Noon came, but no lunch, who cares though, laboring the birthing of a baby you really have hunger on the last of your lists of wants.

Hubby and I logged miles around the nurses desk and lobby. Too many to count, and at one point a nurse beckoned me back to my appointed room for a vitals check and centimeter observation. I tried resting, but I was too anxious. I was on top of the world and could not wait to see my, Megan Kathleen. I had dreamt of this moment for so long. The afternoon rolled on, more walking, more monitoring, and finally at six p.m., my doctor arrives and tells me that he thinks it’s time we get this baby something to speed up her arrival. It’s that drug, Pitocin. I agree, but only after he can confirm that I can still birth her naturally, no pain meds, spinal taps, nada, zip and zero. He assures me he will follow my directive, but warns me that the drug used to induce labor can also cause severe labor pains, and if the time came that he felt it was too much for baby and me he would medically do what he needed. I couldn’t fight with him there. He’s the educated soul. He graduated medical school, a certificate that required 12 years of laborious studies. Let’s rock and roll! You carry the knowledge and I’ll try marathon walking until this unborn baby charges to the finish line. Deal?

Shortly after six my husband’s family arrived from Texas. Someone mentioned they were hungry. The folks had spent four hours en route, and I know that Cliff hasn’t eaten since breakfast. I knew that I couldn’t, but more importantly, as the Pitocin’s effects began to work on my body, and labor earnestly began, eating was the furthest thing from my mind. I asked them to go, give me a breather, grab some food, enjoy themselves. Linger if they wished. Why hell, I’ve been here all day and it looks as if I’ll be here all night trying to birth this baby.

8:30 p.m., and where in the heck were those fools? Did they not have any clue about what I was going through? I’m not a screamer, but I do enjoy a hair-pulling now and then. The R.N. assisting me was becoming less than jovial as I started practicing my Bradley method of breathing. Every now and then she would ask, “Are you sure you don’t want something for your pain?”

“Sister, where were you when I gave my directive? Is my clipboard of info missing from the foot of this bed? Has the doctor given YOU the board certification to overtake his assigned SEAT at my party?”

I tried to deliver it humorously. I tried to cajole her into seeing my side of it. She tried to get me to see her side. We both failed, Communication Skills 101.

To be continued