teens

Trayvon Martin Syndrome

Trayvon Martin Syndrome

Like the rest of the country, I sat and watched as the Martin/Zimmerman Case was tried not only before Judge Debra Nelson but also in the court of public opinion. I listened as the living room lawyers and armchair prosecutors on TV presented their facts to their jury. I listened as black people once again prepared themselves for another miscarriage of justice. I watched as America prepared itself for the outcome of a trial that was put on display solely for the sake of the public’s thirst for drama. As I watched, I sat selfishly thinking this trial didn’t affect me directly. After all I didn’t know Trayvon Martin nor his family, I wasn’t from Florida, and I didn’t wear hoodies. So outside of once being a black teenager I didn’t believe I was directly affected by this case at all. I understood how America valued black life. To us this was another young black male in a long line of murders at the hands of white America that would most likely walk away free.
This case didn’t affect me directly till last night. I decided to venture out and walk to the store, to get something for my daughter. It was a warm night, slightly breezy but the air was still thick with humidity. As I made my way to the store, I walked through the streets I have known for at least thirty years. The neighborhood is a mix of black and white middle class working people. The residents are in their late 50’s early 60’s with a few teenagers scattered about. I know the streets, I know the people. I could walk these streets blindfolded. As I made my way to the store, I suddenly felt as though I was being followed. I stopped several times to make sure there wasn’t an additional set of footsteps. Suddenly I felt paranoid and afraid. my heart began to race, as did my emotions. My mind immediately gravitated towards the night Trayvon went to the store for tea and skittles. As I made my way down through the pathway to the schoolyard, I took out my key chain flashlight and began waving it about, scanning the area for any one lurking in the dark. I made it to the store relieved as the parking lot was well-lit. Exiting the store, I come across a police officer sitting in his car. As we made eye contact my anxiety heightened and the rush of fear came again. Did I look suspicious to him? I am sure he was aware of the case. Was I being profiled? Did I fit a certain stereotype? I hurried home with my purchase walking faster than ever now. Sweat pouring down my face. I entertain the idea of calling someone but decided against it because I wanted to be totally aware of my surroundings. As I neared my street, a rabbit darted from underneath some bushes pushing me into a brief sprint. As I trotted, my only thought was my front porch, my base, my safety net. As I put my keys in the door and saw the smiling face of my children I felt safe, relieved and comforted knowing I got another chance to be with my family. I kissed my babies sat down and thanked the Creator. As I reviewed my trip to the store, the effects of the trial became apparent to me. I indeed was affected, the drama I tried to avoid had crept into my conscience, invaded my psyche and embedded itself in my mind and heart. America succeeded in its effort to keep us afraid, scared and in our place. I am a black man in America, IAM SCARED, I AM TRAYVON MARTIN!

Categories: Black Men, stress, teens, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Criminality & Mental Illness in Gangs

If you have ever wondered…please read the whole article and ask questions!

New research shows that young men in the UK who are members of gangs suffer from “unprecedented” levels of psychiatric illness, placing a heavy burden on mental health services.

1. 85.8 percent had an antisocial personality disorder
2. Two-thirds were alcohol dependent
3. 25.1 percent screened positive for psychosis
4. More than half (57.4 percent) were drug dependent
5. Around a third (34.2 percent) had attempted suicide
6. More than half (58.9 percent) had an anxiety disorder

Read more here.

“No research has previously investigated whether gang violence is related to psychiatric illness, other than substance misuse, or if it places a burden on mental health services,” said Professor Jeremy Coid, Ph.D., Director of Forensic Psychiatry Research Unit at Queen Mary, and lead author of the paper. Here we have shown unprecedented levels among this group, identifying a complex public health problem at the intersection of violence, substance misuse, and mental health problems among young men.”

Categories: Black Men, children, mental illness, research, teens | 2 Comments

Youth & Early Drinking

“Research shows that the earlier the age at which youth take their first alcoholic drink, the greater the risk of developing alcohol problems. Thus, age at first drink (AFD) is generally considered a powerful predictor of progression to alcohol-related harm. A new study shows that individuals who have their first drink during puberty subsequently have higher drinking levels than do individuals with a post-pubertal drinking onset.” More below.

Categories: addiction, research, teens | Leave a comment

Social Media Promoting Teen Drinking

“Public-health professionals have a new force to contend with in their battle against the bottle: social-networking sites (SNS). Writing in a recent issue of Critical Public Heath, researchers from New Zealand consider the extensive, and not entirely positive, impact SNS may have on their efforts to encourage more responsible youth drinking (McCreanor et al., 2013). The authors argue that although SNS users benefit from creating and sharing content, the sites are “quintessentially commercial platforms” which provide entirely new vehicles for alcohol marketing. The very characteristics that make SNS popular — blurring boundaries between public and private spaces, acting as extensions of face-to-face relationships and being regularly viewed and updated — also contribute to their commercial potential by bringing alcohol producers and consumers closer together.” Learn more.

Categories: social media, teens | Tags: | Leave a comment

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