Please do not misunderstand: I am not making light of three very serious crises besetting the world at this moment, the first two, especially, being public health crises of the most tragic order. But the total dominance of these stories, in what feels like endless news cycles at this point, is striking. Confusion and high emotions bordering on hysteria are becoming ever more prominent elements of these stories, and this is most unfortunate. Acknowledging that tragedies are occurring and feeling empathy for the victims is one thing. Following this with an appropriate – and helpful – response can be quite another. Achieving peace in the Middle East, especially in light of the U.S involvement of the past 50 years, is a great discussion topic, but not really appropriate to this space. Ebola as a public health issue has been mentioned here before, but this story continues to develop along lines whereby fear and hysteria seem to predominate – especially in the media – while sober, rational, even compassionate elements play a secondary role. It feels like too many people’s survival circuits – fight or flight, precognitive responses centered in the amygdala (also known as the “reptile brain”) – are working overtime here. The ebola crisis has deep roots in failed public health systems, which nowhere near describes the situation in this country, or any developed nation, for all the criticisms one may wish to make. At least lately, more is being said about the moral failure of the developed nations in not doing a better job of promoting modern and effective public health safety nets in all countries, even those in which we may not have economic or strategic interests. Appropriate action, here, would be one good consequence of the current tragedy. In contrast to all this, please note the recent timely and effective response, right here in Boston, to the unexpected closing of homeless shelters and drug recovery programs on Long Island (that bridge had looked pretty shaky for a long time already). People were placed elsewhere in short order; the director of the Pine Street Inn credits this success to contingency planning by Public Health officials. So, as Dorothy and the scarecrow and the tin man approached the spooky woods, the question of what dangers might lurk there got raised, which elicited the famous entertaining and quite hysterical response. And they were right! There was a lion! Only he was…cowardly. So much for hysteria.
John Dabrowski, LICSW
Neponset Health Center
&Geiger Gibson Community Health Center
A national campaign for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food is being celebrated by Neponset Health Center on October 23rd 2014
Food Day, the nationwide celebration and movement toward more healthy, affordable, sustainable food and a better food system, takes place in all 50 states and Massachusetts organizers are planning over 600 hundred activities across the state to celebrate. This is Neponset Health Center’s second year organizing events to celebrate food day. Last year staff, patients and community member took part in the State’s first Apple Crunch, with apples provided by the Boston Area Gleaners, an organization that recues surplus farm crops.
This year the WOW team (Working on Wellness – a worksite wellness initiative), has several excited events planned. The Fresh Truck, a mobile farmers market where staff, patients, community members and WIC participants can buy fresh produce will stop at the Health Center at 10am. The State’s second Apple Crunch will take place at 12:15pm, where staff will be joined by kids from Pope John Paul Academy. An information booth will provide nutrition information, healthy recipes as well as blood pressure screening. Film screening which include Ted Talks on Food Justice as well as “The Weight of the Nation” documentary (HBO) which is intended to increase people’s awareness of the health risks of being obese will take place at the Health Center throughout day.
The WOW team at Neponset Health Center is working to spread the message of choosing healthy locally produced food and advocating for policies that support productive and respectful food systems.
October 9th is National Depression Screening Day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 10 adults report experiencing depression. Help Yourself. Help Others. offers a free, anonymous online screening tool for college students, military and their family and members of the public. Click here to take the free depression screening.
If you would like to make an appointment with a behavioral health specialist at one of Harbor Health Services, Inc.’s health centers please call: 617-282-3200 (Boston) or 508-778-0300 (Hyannis).
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number is 1-800-273-8255