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Mental Health Tag

The CDC released a heartbreaking and incredibly concerning report Thursday. The national suicide rate has climbed 25% since 1999. But that's just an overall average. North Dakota has witnessed the most tragic climb in suicides at 57.6%. Vermont has seen a 48.6% increase, Utah? 46.5%. Other states whose suicide rates have crept over 40%: South Dakota, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Kansas, and Idaho.

Well-loved educational children's show Sesame Street will soon introduce a new character. Julia will join the Sesame Street crew as the show's first autistic muppet. While the distinction is noteworthy and needed, the show's writers hope Julia will be a seamless part of the cast. "I would love her to be not Julia, the kid on "Sesame Street" who has autism, I would like her to just be Julia," said Christine Ferraro.

Mary wrote yesterday about the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood international airport that killed five and wounded eight others.  Details are now being released about the shooter, Esteban Santiago, and it appears that he had a history of mental health problems and was under psychiatric care. The Broward County Sheriff's office has posted the following about the incident:
A lone gunman, Esteban Santiago, 26 (DOB 3/16/90), opened fire in the baggage claim area, killing five people and wounding eight others.

This little bill flew under the radar, didn't it? While the Democrats deal with infighting and President-elect Donald Trump chooses his Cabinet, the House of Representatives quietly passed H.R. 4919, also known as Kevin and Avonte's Law. This law allows the attorney general to hand over money to local law enforcement agencies to develop human tracking devices:
The programs mission would to find “individuals with forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, or children with developmental disabilities, such as autism, who have wandered from safe environments.”

Although we haven't heard much about it recently, the VA scandal is very much alive and well. The National Review published an article about the wide-ranging problems with the VA in April of this year.  Here's a quick reminder, neatly encapsulated in NR's review of VA-related stories:
The Veterans Affairs–scandal headlines speak for themselves. The Daily Beast: “Veteran Burned Himself Alive outside VA Clinic”; “Dead veterans canceling their own appointments?”; New York Times: “Report Finds Sharp Increase in Veterans Denied V.A. Benefits,” “More than 125,000 U.S. veterans are being denied crucial mental health services,” and “Rubio, Miller ask committee to back VA accountability bills.” Two years ago this week [April, 2016]— thanks to courageous whistleblowers in Phoenix and a fed-up House Veterans Affairs Committee chairman — the world was finally exposed to rampant VA dysfunction and corruption. Dozens of veterans had died while waiting for care at the Phoenix VA — which was, unfortunately, just the tip of the iceberg. Across the country, VA officials had manipulated lists to hide real health-care wait times. In total, thousands — and possibly far more — met the same fate: waiting, and dying, at the hands of a calcified and soulless bureaucracy. Investigations were launched, and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki eventually resigned.
Rather than attempting to correct a wide array of serious problems--ranging from incompetence to corruption, the VA has instead and in defiance of a 2014 law  "quietly" stopped sending performance data to a national database for consumers.