Depression can have a profound impact on a person’s life, work, and relationships. But a new study shows the true toll of mental health conditions on a global scale.
“New research led by Alize Ferrari from the University of Queensland and the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research in Australia found that depression is the second leading cause of the global disability burden.
“Depression, defined as a persistent state of sadness or disinterest in things once found pleasurable, is one of the most common mental disorders.
“The World Health Organization states that approximately 350 million people worldwide have depression, or about four percent of the world’s population.
“While many people have chronic depression that ultimately leads to a disability, it’s common for it to become debilitating immediately. It’s not necessarily something that builds and becomes worse over time,” Dobrenski, who was not involved in the study, said. “Unfortunately, the system moves very slowly so it can take a long time for someone to become qualified [for mental health care], even though they are ‘eligible’ within days.” However, he added, some types of depression can fade away just as quickly, so it’s sometimes a disservice to designate someone as disabled so quickly. The new study, appearing in the journal PLOS Medicine, shows that rates of major depressive disorder (MDD) vary by country and region, but are highest in Central America and Central and Southeast Asia. Afghanistan, which has seen political turmoil and war since long before the U.S. occupation began 2001, leads the world in rates of depression, the researchers discovered. Japan, on the other hand, has the lowest rate of depression disability worldwide. To reach their conclusions, researchers scoured published studies on MDD, or clinical depression, and dysthymia, which is a milder form of depression. Continue reading “The new global depression”
Saying that he’s trying to improve the lives of the world’s poorest people, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced an ambitious plan to bring internet access to 60 percent of the Earth’s population.
“What he didn’t announce is the naked Facebook self-interest fueling this plan — or his troubled track record as a do-gooder.
“Today, Facebook said it will work toward its internet access goal with makers of smartphone hardware — including Nokia, Qualcomm, and Samsung — trying to create cheaper smartphones, deploy and incentivize cheaper internet access, and slim down webpages.
“No dollar figures or specific technologies were detailed for the “internet.org” alliance, just platitudes about “giving all people around the world the power to connect” and a big headline-grabbing goal of bringing internet access to the 4.4 billion people who do not already have it.
“To promote internet.org, Facebook deployed a heavily edited John F. Kennedy speech to lend gravitas to an empty propaganda video. And Zuckerberg said this: “For almost 10 years, Facebook has been on a mission to make the world more open and connected… Connecting the world is one of the greatest challenges of our generation. This is just one small step toward achieving that goal.”
“What he didn’t announce is the naked Facebook self-interest fueling this plan — or his troubled track record as a do-gooder
“We’re not complaining about Facebook trying to serve its own interests while simultaneously doing something good for the world. People understand, hopefully, that Facebook is a for-profit corporation whose top priority must be its own bottom line, and that Facebook can pursue revenue while also doing some good, helping people stay in touch with their relatives or improving third-world net access. Such win-wins are possible, and should be celebrated. The problem is that this isn’t enough for the company. It has to be solving “one of the greatest challenges of our generation,” with nary a mention of the big financial upside — and there is one, believe me, for Facebook. This is part of a broader pattern in which the company habitually acts like it’s more akin to a charity than a business.”
More at: http://www.wired.com/business/2013/08/facebooks-selfish-gift/
Iraq executed almost twice as many people last year compared to the year before, while India and Pakistan resumed executions after abandoning the practice for years, global human rights group Amnesty International said on Tuesday
In a story appearing in today’s Al Jazeera, “Amnesty said China still led the top five countries carrying out executions, followed by Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United States.
Despite setbacks in several countries, the group said it was encouraged by overall signs of progress in the global trend toward ending the death penalty.
In the US, nine states carried out executions in 2012, compared to 13 in the previous year. Continue reading “Death penalty diminishing worldwide”
“Claire Danes Flaunts Post-Baby Body” was the headline ABC News chose to begin its Golden Globe online coverage. Then there was all the media fuss about what many thought Jodie Foster was going to say.
But if one looks beyond the headlines to the past year’s statistics, women have been some discernable gains in the notoriously male-dominated movie industry.
Last year nearly 10 percent of the top box office earners were made by women directors, nearly double that of 2011.Similar statistics characterize overall
employment in the entertainment industry, with UC San Diego’s Celluloid Ceiling report saying that women now account for 11 percent of movie jobs of all kinds.
Obviously it’s going to be a long haul, as discussed in a recent New York Times article:
“The storyteller’s gender matters. When more than nine-tenths of movies are made from the male perspective, Continue reading “Women making (some) more movies”
Conventional wisdom has held that the entertainment industry has largely caved in to a teenage market demanding superficial thriller movies of the “chainsaw” variety.
But it seems that award season is painting a different picture.
Not a chainsaw was visible at the Golden Globes. And this year’s Oscar nominations seem to be going the same way. Leading Academy Award contenders like “Lincoln,” “Les Miserables,”and “Life of Pi” represent both a more serious tone and show a refreshing diversity further manifest in leading nominees like “Silver Lining Playbook” and “Amour.” A.O. Scott remarks on this trend in the year’s movies in a recent article briefly excerpted below, observing that “ the Academy’s choices confirmed that 2012 was not just a strong year for movies, but also for precisely the kind of movies that are supposed to be nearly obsolete.” Continue reading “Fewer chainsaws in award season”
A recent report from the British Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IME) says that as much as half of all the food produced in the world – equivalent to 2-billion tons – ends up as waste every year. As reported today in The Guardian:
“The UK’s IME blames the “staggering” new figures in its analysis on unnecessarily strict sell-by dates, buy-one-get-one free and Western consumer demand for cosmetically perfect food, along with “poor engineering and agricultural practices”, inadequate infrastructure and poor storage facilities.
“In the face of United Nations predictions that there could be about an extra 3 billion people to feed by
Continue reading “Half of world’s food is wasted”
“Jihadi atrocities and mass murders in the West do not occur in different worlds,” writes Spengler in today’s Asia Times in a thoughtful consideration of murder-suicides around the globe. The author continues:
“Consider two situations. First, a madman kills 20 schoolchildren in America for unexplained reasons. Second, Muslim terrorists kill 22 children in Israel (at Ma’alot in 1974), or 186 children at Beslan in the Russian Caucusus in 2004, for clearly stated reasons. What do they have in common?
“The suicidal jihadi is the Doppelganger of the angst-ridden Westerner. The jihadi attempts to reconstruct a faux version of a Continue reading “Sandy Hook, Jihad, and The World”
In most discussions of nation-building, functioning legal systems are seen as useful indicators of a society’s coherence and long-term stability.
The Asia Times say in a piece today entitled “Asia is short of respect of law” that
“The rule of law – an essential element of good governance – is prospering best in the countries of northern Europe and worst in Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe and Cameroon, according to the latest edition of a five-year-old index released here Wednesday by the World Justice Project (WJP). Continue reading “Nations of Laws”
“We live in an era of democratic contradiction. As the Cold War recedes into history and the apparent triumph of liberal democracy spreads around the globethe domestic state of democracy within the United States remains in jeopardy,” writes David Trend in A Culture Divided: America’s Struggle for Unity. Echoing sentiments expressed in last night’s acceptance speech by Barak Obama, an excerpt from A Culture Divided follows below:
Rather than a nation where citizens feel empowered in their common governance, the U.S. has become a land of where growing numbers of citizens feel alienated from the democratic process. Voter turnout for the 2012 U.S. presidential election was nearly 20 percent less than in 2008. Massive anti-incumbency Continue reading “One Nation: Divided or United?”