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Pass safe firearm storage bill
Suicide is the second leading cause of death in youth and U.S. Centers for Disease Control data report that suicide in youth has drastically increased in recent years. While suicide is most common in children with depression, children can also take their own life impulsively and with no known history of mental illness.
Developmentally, adolescent brains are wired for impulsivity. Their frontal lobes, responsible for imagining future consequences and planning, are not yet fully developed. Data on survivors prove this; 40 percent contemplated suicide for under 20 minutes.
Why is this important? Because policymakers in Augusta have an opportunity right now to make a difference. LD 759 would require safe storage of firearms in homes. Almost half of youth suicides involve firearms, according to the U.S. CDC. Dying by suicide is more likely in homes with firearms and can be decreased by reducing access.
As an expert in this area who has counseled survivors and family members who have lost children to suicide, let me tell you the grief, trauma and sense of loss are unbearable and tragically, in many cases, avoidable. We have a collective responsibility as adults and stewards of our community to take easy action that saves lives. Please, people shouldn’t let that vibrant, energetic young person in their life be replaced by a hole that can only be filled by a lifetime of regret.
Lawmakers and Gov. Janet Mills should support LD 759.
Erin Belfort MD
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Maine Medical Center
Maine Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
We can’t ignore Tulsa trauma
The Tulsa race massacre casts a shadow that persists in spite of our best efforts to deny what occurred in that Greenwood neighborhood one hundred years ago.
I continue to be shocked by the viciousness of the assault, and by the fact that I did not know anything about this atrocity until my mid sixties. To his credit, President Joe Biden traveled to Oklahoma on the anniversary to stand with survivors. By doing so he belatedly began to fill the appalling silence with truth.
Where was Tulsa when I learned my American history in school? There was so much left out that I needed to know; so much omitted expressly so I wouldn’t know.
These stories need telling; and we need to listen with a contrite heart. Ignoring trauma does not undo the fact that it happened, nor that it may continue to damage each one of us and the psyche of our nation. What we avoid we nonetheless carry. It is a great weight.
A mass media issue that is common in the news today is the prevalence of fake news and satire being taken out of context and turned into real news. A major problem is the different ways media can be interpreted and the ideology that just because a news source publishes media that it is inherently true.
A prevalent example of this is satire material such as The Onion (a satirical comedy blog) being used as real news and people assuming that the headlines are in fact true without actually reading the entire article, or checking that the source is reliable and a sufficient source without biased information. There needs to be more programs and software, as well as publications doing their own work, to make sure all information that is published is accurate, unbiased and representative of what the actual information is trying to tell.
There is too much biased and fake news going around that can persuade readers to consume media in a negative manner that actually is not beneficial to their media consumption. This problem can create and spread false information and even cause legal troubles such as fake headlines being spread around about politicians or celebrities.
With more thoughtfulness and integrity, media outlets can help flag for readers what is satire and/or a biased article, and what is reliable researched methodic media publishing. People should be fact checking and getting their information from a variety of reliable sources.