October 19, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008
While reading As economy sinks, officials fear violent solutions, which discusses the recent economic crisis taking place in the United States, it became overwhelming to discover the number of related deaths due to an inability to manage and cope with financial difficulties.

An out-of-work money manager in California loses a fortune and wipes out his family in a murder-suicide.

A 90-year-old Ohio widow shoots herself in the chest as authorities arrive to evict her from the modest house she called home for 38 years.

In Massachusetts, a housewife who had hidden her family's mounting financial crisis from her husband sends a note to the mortgage company warning: "By the time you foreclose on my house, I'll be dead." Then Carlene Balderrama shot herself to death, leaving an insurance policy and a suicide note on a table.

In Los Angeles, California, last week, a former money manager fatally shot his wife, three sons and his mother-in-law before killing himself.

In Tennessee, a woman fatally shot herself last week as sheriff's deputies went to evict her from her foreclosed home.

In Ocala, Florida, Roland Gore shot his wife and dog in March and then set fire to the couple's home, which had been in foreclosure, before killing himself.

In Akron, Ohio, the 90-year-old widow who shot herself on Oct. 1 is recovering. A congressman told Addie Polk's story on the House floor before lawmakers voted to approve a $700 billion financial rescue package. Mortgage finance company Fannie Mae dropped the foreclosure, forgave her mortgage and said she could remain in the home.

Granted these are difficult situations which often call for desperate measures, but death should not be an option. Surely the government will introduce some funding for programs aimed at reducing these numbers and not simply increase funding for programs that seek to turn the economy around. If the financial crisis cannot be avoided, at the very least, social programs should be put into place to help individuals deal with such tough times more appropriately.

There is an obvious need for financial counselling and money management training. It also couldn’t hurt to develop more combined approaches that focus on housing, stress management and marriage counselling as many of these issues become interrelated. In addition, there should be a more significant focus on awareness. Many resources already exist, but many people may not know where to turn. There is an abundance of local, national and even international crisis hotlines in existence. Some of these resources include, but are not limited to:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889)

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a network of crisis centers serving the entire country. Calls originating from anywhere in the country will be routed, 24 hours a day, to the nearest available crisis centers. This call routing is based on crisis center call capacity and availability.

Befrienders Worldwide
"We work worldwide to provide emotional support, and reduce suicide. We listen to people who are in distress. We don't judge them or tell them what to do - we listen."

National Hopeline Network
1-800-SUICIDE

If there is an immediate need for help, make sure to call 911 for emergency services or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

© www.mentalhealthblog.com

October 14, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Research suggests that voters are likely to make their way to the polls when they have a dislike for one of the candidates. One would assume the opposite to be true, however, research over a 24 year period led by professor Jon A. Krosnick of Ohio State University shows that “people are more motivated by the threat of something bad than the opportunity for something good”. Even more intriguing is that voters actually seek to like these disliked candidates.

Conversely, if voters have a strong dislike for all candidates, they will not be very apt to vote. Similarly, if we have no real preference for any particular candidate, voters are equally likely to opt not to vote. Basically, voters are most likely to cast their vote when a strong like or dislike exists for a candidate.

Oddly enough, the research suggests that negative advertising actually works. Who would imagine that all the tactful mud slinging that goes on during an electoral campaign could actually entice us to vote one way or the other?

In addition, voters tend to approach candidates in which they know little about in the same way people tend to approach strangers. That is, by hoping that the experience will be a pleasant one. First impression appears to be the key to a successful campaign. This is important for politicians to know because the study implies that people rarely change their opinions after that first impression. This knowledge would really help their campaign strategy. Starting out with a bang seems to have a bigger impact than going out with one.

All in all, the most efficient way of swaying voters is to make a villain of the opponent. It seems that, for voters, it is easiest to cross a candidate off the ballot than to place an 'X' beside the most qualified.

The Psychology of Voting

The results are in and the voter behaviours of Mental Health Blog readers are as follows:

CPC: 25%
Liberal: 50%
NDP: 25%
BQ: 0%
Green: 0%
Independent: 0%

© www.mentalhealthblog.com

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I have an educational background is in Psychology and Sociology. In addition, I have worked with many diverse individuals of all ages, with varying degrees of mental and/or physical illness. I enjoy following current news and research that impacts my area of expertise.

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