There is help in Tucson

In the aftermath of the shooting in Tucson January 8, leaving six dead and 13 wounded, allegedly by a young man suffering from mental illness, there were a number of articles published on what could be done to prevent such tragedies in the future. Although the consensus was, “there are no fool-proof solutions,” the incident also raised the visibility of some efforts already existing few knew about. For example. .

“The University Physicians Hospital serves young adults in the early stages of illness that involve psychosis such as schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder,” states Carol Ann Alaimo, AZ Star reporter. (See, January 21 edition, p. A3 .) It’s the Early Psychosis Intervention Center, the only one in Arizona.

The best news is you don’t have to have insurance or the ability to pay to benefit. It’s also cost-effective when you think of the tragedies that could be averted in the event a person’s illness leads to dangerousness.

During my years working with the families of clients with these illnesses, I heard over and over again how the bizarre behavior and paranoia that often shows up in late teens and college years is at first written off as teen-age rebelliousness until it’s obvious something worse is going on.

For the ill person, the onset of delusions and hallucinations is a frightening experience since he/she can no longer rely on their five senses to tell them what’s real or not anymore. It undermines social lives, withdrawal follows and depression after that. Alcohol and drugs are often used to control the symptoms and maintain a connection to a social life. All are mystified, guilt-ridden and frightened.

The program has a variety of services to promote cognitive thinking, responsible behavior and goes beyond simply prescribing medication. Families are given coaching on how to help. Given Arizona’s practice of cutting public behavioral health funds when budgets are tight, this is the equivalent of an oasis in the desert. To learn more, go to http://www.uph.org/Specialties/Psychiatric/EPICENTER/tabid/731/Default.aspx or call 520-847-7500.

“I am not sick I don’t need help” by Xavier Amador

In light of the shooting that took place in Tucson, AZ less than five miles from my home on January 8, I would like to recommend this book to those who may have have a sick family member or know someone who does and needs your support.

Amador’s book is written from the perspective of a family member who has a brother suffering from schizophrenia. He has spent years learning about the illness in order to preserve a relationship with his brother and help him manage his illness.

You don’t have to go to that much trouble. All you have to do is read the book. As Gerry Spence notes on the back cover, “This book takes you by the hand and the heart and leads you to an understanding that gives you the power to help.”

If you do not have a sick family member, you may not take the time to read it cover to cover. However, most of us know someone who does. Mental illness is harder to talk about than heart trouble or cancer. It attracts fear and judgement rather than empathy.

It could be a great help to your friend or family member for you to lend an educated ear – or a copy of this book. It could give them the strength and advice they need to deal with the problem and to let them know you care.

Detecting Bull

As I read John H. McManus’ book on detecting bull in the news, I am increasingly impressed because it clarifies and addresses modern dillemas for journalists. In chapter 6, he scewers the whole idea of “objectivity”on the part of journalists and how it is “not only impossible, but undesirable.” He suggests instead, a “functional empiricism” which he defines as “careful, dispassionate observation by more than one person and reason that is independent of loyalty to a particular side of an issue.”

It provides very helpful explanations of how this can be applied to reporting, so it’s not just a lot of cerebral exploration. Again, I highly recommend this book to anyone trying to be a responsible journalist.

Latest Articles on Community Change

Connecting Communities_Magazine_Fall 10

Tucson, AZ

The Fall 2010 issue of Connecting Communities Foundation Magazine has arrived. CCF supports neighborhood associations in fighting crime, increasing school achievement, employment and healthy lifestyles. The current projects are taking place in Myers neighborhood on the southeast part of Tucson. I wrote several articles in this issue:

  • Myers Neighborhood Story Is About Effort and Hope
  • Tale of Two Grandmothers
  • Why Partnering and Collaboration Work
  • Miracle Manor Survives

New Media Emerging

GOOD Magazine, a quarterly that describes itself as, “We are a collaboration of people, businesses, and nonprofits pushing the world forward,” has an article on how new media in the form of citizen journalists and bloggers are keeping New Orleans honest as it redevelops. (pp.76-80.) Due to local New Orleans citizens getting tired of being ignored by national media, they took to using blogs to rant, share information and monitor the city’s rebuilding process. As a result, these activities led to FBI investigations, toppling political candidates and funding from the Rockefeller Center. Larger newspapers picked up the lead and partnered with the new on-liners which gave them a much larger audience, more legitimacy and support.

At a time when newspapers are diminishing, stories like this shine a light on the new future of journalism.  It’s about time.

Essay published in Sasee Magazine, September issue

New Article

News! See my essay published in Sasee Magazine’s September issue:
http://sasee.com/2010/09/01/aging-citizen-hits-the-surf

On September 1, at the tender age of 59, I found myself in Venice Beach, California, taking a surfing lesson. Lauren Wells, a 20-year-old surfer, promised she could get me up on a board in one day. I really wanted to surf before I turned 60.

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Dalton’s Photos Featured on Flamenco Artists’s Web Page

 

"La Flamencista"

Anne Dalton photographed two events in 2009 and 2010 for Barbara Schuessler, a flamenco teacher in Tucson, who recently went live with her Web page, http://www.barbaraschuesslerflamenco.com/BarbaraSchuesslerflamenco/Photos.html

Although the photos do not have individual photo credits, Dalton’s work is reflected on the home page as the logo for Events, Photos and Contact links as well as several of the more recent pics on the Photos page itself.

Barbara’s history as a Flamenco teacher in Tucson spans 15 years. She describes the history of her world-wide study prior to becoming “La Flamencista.”

 

 

Soroptimist International of Desert Tucson in The News

Anaiam Arroyo-Noriega,pictured here with her children Shelia, Ricky and Axriel

 

Aniam Arroyo-Noriega, a local Pima Community College student, won SIDT’s annual Women’s Opportunity Award.  The club’s extra efforts to assist women in filling out the application for the award was highlighted in  Soroptimist International of the America’s quarterly magazine, Best for Women this month.  My photograph of Aniam and her three children was published with the article. http://www.soroptimist.org/members/program/ProgramDocs/Women’sOpportunityAwards/English/SoroptimistWOA_success.pdf

Book: John H. McManus’ “Detecting Bull: How to Identify Bias and Junk Journalism in Print, Broadcast and on the Wild Web”

McManus’ book recently received the Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society for Professional Journalists. It was written to help  journalists and every citizen trying sort through news stories and figure who or what to believe.  McManus is quoted in the July/August issue of SPJ’s magazine, Quill, as saying,  “The book encourages skepticism rather than cynicism about journalism.”

I’ve got my copy on order.

The Paper – Shows inner workings and conflicts of modern journalism

This film is recognized by some as an accurate depiction of life in today’s newsrooms. The only thing that’s changed since 1994 when the film was made is that noone is talking about going out of business – just trying to get to the news-breaking story first. I doubt every newsroom is quite this interesting, but it suggests that the journalism industry is just as vulnerable to petty rivalries, misguided ambition and altruistic frustrations as any other industry – probably because it’s run by human beings. The cast includes Michael Keaton, editor, Marisa Tomei, his wife, Glen Close and Robert Duvall. Their performances live up to their reputations as great actors.