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New study into mental health of atomic bomb test veterans

Eastern Daily Press 22nd May 2021, A nuclear test veteran blamed himself for the birth defects which he
believed he passed on to members of his family, his daughter has revealed.
Suzanna Ward spoke as a new study was launched into the mental health of
the children, wives and widows of nuclear veterans. Around 22,000 British
servicemen witnessed nuclear tests on mainland Australia, the Montebello
Islands off Western Australia and Christmas Island in the South Pacific,
during the 1950s and 1960s.

https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/new-study-into-mental-health-of-nuclear-veterans-7991116

May 24, 2021 Posted by | psychology - mental health, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A dangerous and toxic culture of bullying at Britain’s Sellafield nuclear site

BBC 10th March 2021, A “toxic culture” of bullying and harassment at Sellafield could let
serious safety concerns go unreported, whistleblowers have told the BBC. In
a leaked letter, the nuclear site’s group for ethnic minority staff
described “shocking stories” of racial abuse.

Other workers said sexist and homophobic bullying had become routine. Sellafield said it was committed to eradicating unacceptable behaviour from the workplace.

A BBC investigation found: Multiple claims of serious bullying and sexual harassment among its
10,000-strong workforce. Allegations of racial abuse outlined in a leaked
letter to senior management. Concerns about the working culture at the site
and how it could impact nuclear safety.

“When I started working there, it quickly became apparent there was rampant bullying in the organisation,” said Alison McDermott, a senior consultant hired in 2017 to work on
Sellafield’s equality strategy. She said staff interviews and focus groups
revealed serious allegations of sexual harassment at the sprawling site on
the Cumbrian coast.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-56011909

March 11, 2021 Posted by | psychology - mental health, safety, UK | Leave a comment

Isolated and alone — Beyond Nuclear International

Suguru’s story reveals bullying, ostracization and government whitewash

Isolated and alone — Beyond Nuclear International
A teenager’s account of the Fukushima ordeal  https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/3219596582 By Linda Pentz Gunter, 7 Mar 21, 

Ten years after the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, how has the Japanese government responded and what is it like for the people affected, still struggling to return their lives to some semblance of normality? Here is how things look:

  • Manuals are being distributed in schools explaining that radioactivity exists in nature and is therefore not something to be afraid of.
  • The government is considering getting rid of radiation monitoring posts as these send the wrong message at a time of “reconstruction”.
  • The Oversight Committee for Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey is discussing the possibility of stopping thyroid inspections at schools because they stress children out and overburden teachers and staff.

    • Depression and suicide rates among young people from Fukushima are likely to be triggered by being called “germs” and by being seen as “contaminated”.
    • Those who speak out about radiation are more stigmatized today than they were 10 years ago.
    • Those who “voluntarily” evacuated, recognizing that the so-called protection standards were not adequate for their region, are often ostracized from their new communities. They are seen as selfish for abandoning their homeland, friends and families “just to save themselves” and are bullied as parasites living on compensation funds, even though the “auto-evacuees” as they are known, received none.
      • Those forced to evacuate are also bullied if they do not now return, accused of not trusting the government and its assertions that it is safe to do so.
      • The taboo against speaking out for proper radiation protection and for compensation has grown worse as the rescheduled Olympics loom for this summer and Japan is determined to prove to the world it has fixed the radiation problem and beaten Covid-19.
      • On March 1, 2021, it took three judges all of 30 seconds to dismiss a case brought by 160 parents and children who lived in Fukushima prefecture at the time of the nuclear accident, and known as the Children’s Trial Against Radiation Exposure. The class action suit sought 100,000 yen per person in damages from the government and the prefecture, due to the psychological stress brought on by the lack of measures to avoid radiation exposure after the accident.
      • These are some of the realities uncovered by France-based Japanese activist, Kurumi Sugita, as she interviewed those affected and began to compile a graphic short story about her findings, entitled Fukushima 3.11 and illustrated by French artist, Damien Vidal. The booklet is produced by the French NGO, Nos Voisins Lontains 3.11 (Our Distant Neighbors 3.11).

        Fukushima 3.11, a long-form cartoon strip, is told in the first person by the youngest of Sugita’s interview subjects, Fukushima evacuee, Suguru Yokota, who was 13 at the time of the nuclear disaster.

        Suguru was also one of the plaintiffs in the Children’s Trial, and noted after the devastating dismissal, just days before the Fukushima disaster’s 10th anniversary, that “we cannot give up” and that “the court hasn’t issued a legitimate verdict.”

      • In 2012, Sugita had traveled to Japan with a research project she helped create, financed by the French National Centre for Scientific Research where she worked, to set up an investigation into Japan’s nuclear victims. A list of 70 interview candidates was put together.

        “I met Suguru in 2013 in Sapporo where he was living alone after he moved there from Fukushima,” said Sugita. “I also interviewed his mother and they were interviewed once a year over six years.”

        A schoolboy at the time of the accident, the book follows Suguru’s account of his experiences. He encounters the refusal by his uncle to believe the dangers in the early days of the accident, “a typical denial case,” says Sugita, and he is ostracized at school where he is the only pupil to wear a mask.

        Suguru’s only respite comes when his mother, who is equally alert to the radiation risks, sends him on a “radiation vacation” to Hokkaido, the first time he encounters peers who share his concerns.

      • Back at school and feeling isolated and alone, Suguru studies at home instead, eventually leaving the region for a different high school and then college.

      • The book weaves in essential information about radiation risks, and the clampdowns by the Japanese government, which withdrew support for auto-evacuees claiming, as Suguru relates it, that “these families are not victims. They are responsible for their fate.”

        The book was first published in the magazine, TOPO, whose audience is predominantly teenagers and which reports on topics of current interest. 

        “It appealed to us to address an audience interested in world events, but not exclusively the nuclear issue,” said illustrator Vidal.  “We thought our comic strip could be read by all those — and not necessarily just teenagers — who want to understand what the consequences of the nuclear accident were, and how it affected the inhabitants of Fukushima Prefecture.”

      • The book vividly brings home the psychological and emotional pain suffered by those who chose to recognize the true dangers posed by the Fukushima disaster, as well as the financial hardships and fracturing of families. And it exposes the depths of deliberate denial by authorities, more interested in heightened normalization of radiation exposure in the name of commerce and reputation.

      • Even as early as October 2011, an announcement is made that “rice produced in Fukushima Prefecture will supply school canteens again.” We see Suguru and his mother watching this news on their television, then the name-calling Suguru faces in school for bringing his own lunch. He is shown in the strip being called a “hikokumin”, which, explains Suguru, “is a really insulting word, used during the Second World War. It refers to people who are not worthy of being Japanese citizens.”

        But that stigma has only become worse with time, Sugita says. 

        These days people are name-called “hoshano”. “Hoshano”(放射能) means radioactivity, but with a different Chinese character(放射脳) it  means “radioactive brain – or brain contaminated by the fear of radioactivity”, she explains. And that is the slur in common circulation now.

        Nevertheless, the book ends on a hopeful note. “Today,” concludes Suguru on the closing page, “I know I’m not alone. I hope other voices will be heard in Japan and around the world.”

        It’s easy to say “never again.” But in order to ensure it, we must all continue to raise our voices, joining Suguru’s and others yearning to be heard.

        Read the English language version of Fukushima 3.11 on line for free. A version is also available in French. Hard copies (in French only), may be ordered from Nos Voisins Lontains 3.11 for 8€ plus shipping costs.

 

 

March 8, 2021 Posted by | children, Fukushima continuing, media, psychology - mental health, social effects | Leave a comment

The Trump personality cult is still a threat

CPAC Showed That Trump’s Personality Cult Is Still Alive — and Still a Threat, https://truthout.org/articles/cpac-showed-that-trumps-personality-cult-is-still-alive-and-still-a-threat/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=30eb7938-c44f-478d-a80d-5562c3d8b80a, Sasha Abramsky, 1 Mar 21,

In the classic 1950 movie Sunset Boulevard, Gloria Swanson plays the has-been Hollywood diva, Norma Desmond, desperate for adoration, utterly infatuated with the spotlight. One of its most famous lines — “Alright, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close up” — captures the unseemly spectacle of someone far past their sell-by date who refuses to accept their fall from stardom.

“You see,” the has-been actress utters with undistilled terror, “This is my life. It always will be. There’s nothing else. Just us and the camera — and those wonderful people out there in the dark.”

When Donald Trump stepped up to the podium at the CPAC event in Orlando, Florida, this weekend, it was, unsurprisingly, both a ghastly and incredibly tired remake of Sunset Boulevard, a reprise of yesterday’s news, of the former president’s greatest hits, from a man who cannot imagine a world without himself at the center.

During a bizarre CPAC presentation, Trump named all the Republicans who had crossed him and threatened to destroy their careers. He asked his audience — plaintively — whether they missed him yet. He claimed he had won the last election and would, if he so chose, win again in 2024. To this last point, his cult-like audience — which had already paraded through the conference center, in imitation of strong-men idolatrous cults in locales such as North Korea, a golden bust of the disgraced ex-president — responded, on cue, and overwhelming evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, “You won! You won! You won!”

Trump, in gilded retirement at Mar-a-Lago not only refuses to accept that Joe Biden won last year’s election, but he also hasn’t even remotely begun to consider the possibility that the GOP might ever be anything other than a vehicle for the enrichment of the Trump family. He has, these past months, teased the possibility of starting a third party; at the CPAC event, however, he scotched those rumors, instead urging GOP members to donate to political action committees controlled by Trump himself, along with members of his inner circle.

That decision wasn’t exactly a surprise; after all, most of the GOP is still in lockstep with Trumpism, convinced the election was stolen, and, as January 6th fades into the past, more than willing to forgive and forget the ex-president’s incitement to deadly violence. In the past couple weeks, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy traveled to Mar-a-Lago to pay an obsequious homage to the man whom, back in January, he had screamed at during a profanity-laden phone call at the height of the Capitol siege. So, too, did GOP whip Steve Scalise, make a kiss-the-ring visit to the exiled president.

Mitch McConnell, who bared just a touch of courage after the Senate impeachment vote by saying on the Senate floor that there was no doubt that Trump was responsible for the events of January 6th, followed up with an astounding public display of gorging himself on humble pie.

That decision wasn’t exactly a surprise; after all, most of the GOP is still in lockstep with Trumpism, convinced the election was stolen, and, as January 6th fades into the past, more than willing to forgive and forget the ex-president’s incitement to deadly violence. In the past couple weeks, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy traveled to Mar-a-Lago to pay an obsequious homage to the man whom, back in January, he had screamed at during a profanity-laden phone call at the height of the Capitol siege. So, too, did GOP whip Steve Scalise, make a kiss-the-ring visit to the exiled president.

Mitch McConnell, who bared just a touch of courage after the Senate impeachment vote by saying on the Senate floor that there was no doubt that Trump was responsible for the events of January 6th, followed up with an astounding public display of gorging himself on humble pie.

Meanwhile, state GOP chapters around the country are busily censuring GOP congressmembers and senators who voted to impeach or convict Trump. And GOP-controlled legislatures are pushing through legislation aimed to prevent the sort of non-existent “fraud” that Trump still claims cost him the last election. Of course, since the fraud wasn’t real, what this means in practice is a vast effort to contract the electorate and to make it harder for people of color, the poor and students to cast ballots in coming elections.

The ungodly CPAC display this past four days made two things absolutely clear. The first is that CPAC, and by extension most of the GOP, is nothing more or less than a personality cult; the values that have traditionally animated conservative movements in the U.S. have, now, been entirely subjugated to the allure of Trumpism. The second is that Trump’s financial interests — which are all he really cares about at this point — clearly lie not in putting his own dollars on the line by building up a third party, but in milking the GOP faithful for all he can, as quickly as he can, before his myriad legal woes catch up to him.

Toward the end of Sunset Boulevard, Desmond shoots an ex-lover as he attempts to walk out on her. In a bizarre twist, the dead man then narrates his posthumous understanding of how this will all end. He imagines the headlines that will accompany the announcement of his murder. “Forgotten star, a slayer, aging actress, yesterday’s glamor queen.” Instead, as Desmond is perp-walked down her palace steps, the cameras keep clicking, and the diva remains, even in delusional disgrace, the star of her own show.

Having failed to deal Trump a political death-blow in the Senate during the impeachment trial, the GOP is now stuck with its very own Norma Desmond. Trump is always ready for his close-up, because without the sound of the adoring claque, he is nothing.

March 2, 2021 Posted by | politics, psychology - mental health, USA | 2 Comments

A scary reality, Trump still has the nuclear codes

Former Reagan aide: Trump still has the nuclear codes. And that’s genuinely  scary.  https://www.nj.com/opinion/2020/12/former-reagan-aide-trump-still-has-the-nuclear-codes-and-thats-genuinely-scary-opinion.html    By Star-Ledger Guest Columnist  By Mark Weinberg,  24 Dec 20 

Almost anything Donald Trump does in his last weeks as president can be undone by Joe Biden. Executive Orders can be reversed, regulations can be changed, unnecessary commissions can be disbanded, and (some) political appointees can be removed from their positions. Unfortunately, a few will remain after Trump leaves because of how terms are structured, but their ability and probably their willingness to cause mischief will be severely limited when their man is out of the White House. At least one hopes so.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that until noon on January 20th Trump will have access to the codes necessary to authorize a nuclear war. That is genuinely scary.

The size, scale and influence of the United States’ economy notwithstanding, what makes the president of the United States the most powerful person in the world is control of our nuclear weapons.

Our two most threatening adversaries, Russia and China, both have significant nuclear arsenals. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are aware that Trump is a wounded and weakened president and will be so until he leaves office next month. Whether they sense that translates into an opening for them to outright attack us — or at least threaten to — is an open question. No doubt they are watching closely for opportunities to enhance their world domination campaigns at our expense, which means we must be super-vigilant.  Nuclear war is no joke. It is as serious as it gets. What animated Ronald Reagan most in his efforts to engage the Soviet Union to reduce both country’s nuclear stockpiles was that each nation had the ability to destroy each other. Reagan called this the “MAD” – Mutually Assured Destruction – policy, which he rightly thought was unacceptably dangerous and worked hard to eliminate. He famously said: “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” Contrary to opponents’ depictions, Reagan was not a trigger-happy warmonger. Indeed, he was the opposite. A World War II veteran, he knew well of, and worried about, the indescribably deadly potential of nuclear weapons and took very seriously his duties as president in either responding to — or initiating — a nuclear strike.

As with all modern-day presidents, elaborate steps were taken to make certain Reagan always had access to the nuclear codes wherever he was. There was never a time during Reagan’s presidency when his stability or suitability to have the nuclear codes was in question.

Such is not the case with Trump. Indeed, his descent into self-serving delusion, bitter rage at anyone who dares speak the truth, and complete rejection of the long-established norms that have kept our democracy intact, make one wonder whether he is mentally stable and capable of exercising sound judgment should he be faced with “the ultimate” decision. My answer would be no.

So what to do until he is replaced by a more stable, sensible, and sane president?

Tempting and legitimate as it may be, invoking the 25th Amendment to declare Trump “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” is not a realistic possibility at this point. For reasons they will have to explain later, most members of Trump’s Cabinet, including Vice President Michael Pence, are either unable or unwilling to recognize Trump’s instability and unsuitability for office and fear that doing anything to upset him could be professional suicide.

Perhaps a solution can be found in the presidency of Trump’s hero, Richard Nixon. It has been widely reported that in the last few days Nixon was in office, then-Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger, concerned that a distraught Nixon might do something rash, issued a directive to the military that if Nixon ordered a nuclear strike, they were to check with him or Secretary of State Henry Kissinger before executing.
Hopefully, acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller has the wisdom to issue such an order. He needs to. Whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has the courage and patriotism to act as a backstop against any reckless Trump order is a question which, with any luck, will never require an answer.

December 24, 2020 Posted by | politics, psychology - mental health, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Donald Trump’s erratic behaviour revives the debate on the President’s unchecked nuclear authority

Trump’s Virus Treatment Revives Questions About Unchecked Nuclear Authority
Even before the president was given mood-altering drugs, there was a movement to end the commander in chief’s sole authority to launch nuclear weapons. NYT, 12 Oct 20,  By David E. Sanger and William J. Broad,

President Trump’s long rants and seemingly erratic behavior last week — which some doctors believe might have been fueled by his use of dexamethasone, a steroid, to treat Covid-19 — renewed a long-simmering debate among national security experts about whether it is time to retire one of the early inventions of the Cold War: the unchecked authority of the president to launch nuclear weapons.

Mr. Trump has publicly threatened the use of those weapons only once in his presidency, during his first collision with North Korea in 2017. But it was his decision not to invoke the 25th Amendment and turn control over to Vice President Mike Pence last week that has prompted concern inside and outside the government.

Among those who have long argued for the need to rethink presidents’ “sole authority” powers are former Defense Secretary William J. Perry, considered the dean of American nuclear strategists, who has cited the fragility of a nuclear-weapons control chain and the fear that it can be subject to errors of judgment or failure to ask the right questions under the pressure of a warning of an incoming attack.

Mr. Trump’s critics have long questioned whether his unpredictable statements and contradictions pose a nuclear danger. But the concerns raised last week were somewhat different: whether a president taking mood-altering drugs could determine whether a nuclear alert was a false alarm.

That question is a new one. The military’s Strategic Command often conducts drills that simulate actual but inconclusive evidence that the United States may be under nuclear attack. Such simulations drive home the reality that even a president asking all the right questions could make a mistake. But they rarely simulate what would happen if the president’s judgment was impaired.

“A nuclear crisis can happen at any time,” Tom Z. Collina, the policy director at the Ploughshares Fund, a private group that seeks to defuse nuclear threats, noted last week in an opinion piece. “If such a crisis takes place when a president’s thinking is compromised for any reason,” he added, “the results could be catastrophic.”

Traditionally, presidents have temporarily conveyed authority — including nuclear launch authority — to the vice president when they anticipated being under anesthesia. Ronald Reagan took that step in 1985, and George W. Bush did so in 2002 and 2007. There was no indication that Mr. Trump was unconscious, but there was reason to be concerned that the cocktail of drugs he was given could impair his judgment to make the most critical decisions entrusted to a president.

Last week in telephone interviews with Fox News and Fox Business Network, Mr. Trump said he was no longer taking experimental medications but was still on dexamethasone, which doctors say can produce euphoria, bursts of energy and even a sense of invulnerability. On Friday, he told Fox News he was off the drug, which he appears to have taken for less than a week.

But during that week, his prolific Twitter activity and rambling interviews led many to question whether the drugs had accentuated his erratic tendencies. His doctors’ refusal to describe with any specificity his condition or treatment only played up the concern.

“The history of obfuscating the medical condition of presidents is as old as the Republic,” said Vipin Narang, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has studied the nuclear command-and-control chain. “The issue here is that the dex” — shorthand for dexamethasone — “can make you paranoid and delusional.”

“We don’t know how much he was given,” Mr. Narang said. “And if he gives an order in the middle of the night, and no one is there to stop him, we are dependent on his military aide not to transmit the order or the duty officer at the national military command center to stop it.”………….

The “sole authority” tradition is unusual among the world’s nine nuclear powers; even Russia requires two out of three designated officials to sign off on a nuclear launch. While the Constitution says that only Congress can declare war, the speed of bombers and missiles made clear during the Cold War that there would be no time to convene Congress or mount a defense. As a result, Congress began delegating to the president all powers to use nuclear weapons during Harry S. Truman’s administration. He is the only president who has ordered a nuclear strike……..

“The last finger I would want on the nuclear button,” said Hans M. Kristensen, the director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, a private group in Washington, “is that of a president on drugs.”……… https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/11/us/politics/trump-nuclear-weapons-coronavirus.html

October 13, 2020 Posted by | PERSONAL STORIES, psychology - mental health, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Grief in Western America, as inequities, wildfires, and climate change collide

Climate Grief Is Burning Across the American West
Climate change is making wildfires bigger, fiercer, and deadlier, fueling a new kind of despair on the West Coast—and beyond.   Wired  16 Sept 20,
GRIEF HAS SETTLED over the western US, along with the thick haze of smoke pouring from dozens of massive wildfires up and down California, Oregon, Colorado, and Washington. It’s grief over the thousands of structures and at least 33 lives lost so far; grief over another villain conspiring with Covid-19 to lock people indoors; grief that the orange-hued dystopia of Blade Runner is now a reality in smoky San Francisco; grief over losing any sense of normalcy, or indeed a clear future.Enveloping all of those emotions—packaging them into an overwhelming feeling of doom—is climate grief, as psychologists call it, the dread that humans have thoroughly corrupted the planet, and that the planet is now exacting its revenge. Wildfires were around before human-made climate change, but by pulling a variety of strings, it’s made them bigger, fiercer, and ultimately deadlier, creating what fire historian Steve Pyne has dubbed the Pyrocene, an Age of Flames.

By burning fossil fuels, we’ve primed the landscape to burn explosively, and by pushing human communities deeper and deeper into what was once wilderness, we’re provided plenty of opportunities for ignition—and plenty of opportunities for grief as these forces catastrophically combine.

“So much is out of our control,” says Adrienne Heinz, a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, who studies the effects of disasters like wildfires and the Covid-19 pandemic. “We lose our sense of personal agency over how we will live—the decisions are made for us.”

It shifts from grief over what’s happening with our climate—can we feel safe in our own communities?—to despair, the differentiator being that you don’t feel like tomorrow is going to be any better than today,” Heinz adds. “That’s where it gets really dark.”

For the people of Northern California, an exhausting parade of massive wildfires have marched across the landscape over the past several autumns, with many people having to evacuate several years in a row. Last October, the Kincade Fire burned 120 square miles. The November before, the Camp Fire destroyed the town of Paradise and killed 86 people. And in October 2017, the Tubbs Fire obliterated 5,600 structures and killed 22.

“The catchphrase—kind of with a bitterness around here—is, ‘This is the new normal,’” says Barbara Young, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Healdsburg, north of San Francisco, who had to evacuate last month. “And so with that, I think it’s implied that this isn’t going away—our climate is changing. These aren’t flukes, this is the trend. And I think everyone is very clear that this is not a one-off. This is every year now.”  ……………

Thus inequities, wildfires, and climate change collide. Each massive problem on its own is difficult for the human mind to parse, much less all three together. “I am doing a lot of work with people on really increasing psychological self-care, spiritual self-care, physical self-care, and to help that fatigue,” says Young, the therapist in Healdsburg. “And I do think that is connected with climate grief. Finally, maybe we are forced to see how interconnected everything is.”  https://www.wired.com/story/climate-grief-is-burning-across-the-american-west/

September 17, 2020 Posted by | climate change, psychology - mental health, USA | 1 Comment

It’s time to get emotional about climate change

Rebecca Huntley on why it’s time to get emotional about climate change, SMH, By Caitlin Fitzsimmons, June 28, 2020 —Rebecca Huntley had to submit her manuscript for her new book on climate change just as the country was entering lockdown for coronavirus.

The book, How to Talk about Climate Change in a Way that Makes a Difference, to be published this Thursday July 2, is based on social science rather than science. What scientists know about climate change is the jumping off point for Huntley’s exploration of the psychology behind activism, disengagement and denial.

“I nearly called it How to Talk about Climate Change with Your Drunk Uncle,” says Huntley, a social researcher and author. “It’s a bit derogatory but it’s about the idea that everybody who is concerned about climate change has somebody in their life who wants to pick a fight with them about it. Do we fight them or not?”

If the book is about the human factor in the climate change equation and society has just been through major disruption in the form of the pandemic and lockdown, it begs the question whether anything has changed since April, when she submitted her final edits.

The short answer is yes. Huntley says the way the pandemic has played out, at least in Australia, has given her unexpected hope.

She knew greenhouse emissions would go down if people stayed at home, industry was closed and flights were grounded and she knew there would be stories, some of them apocryphal, about wildlife reclaiming human spaces.

stories about low emissions and environmental rejuvenation would mean that people associated climate action with personal deprivation, that we’ve all got to be locked in our homes, losing our jobs, not being able to hug our aunt and uncle and not being able to go on holidays … or out to dinner and the movies,” Huntley says. “I thought if people thought that was the sacrifice we have to make in order to do something about climate change, it would be hugely detrimental.”

The book’s thesis is that the climate change argument won’t be won by reason alone: it’s time to get emotional. Huntley writes about her own emotional transformation from a citizen who believed in the science of climate change and tried to act accordingly to a citizen who believed in the science of climate change and organised her entire personal and professional life accordingly. Her belief in the scientific consensus did not shift, her world-view did……. https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/rebecca-huntley-on-why-it-s-time-to-get-emotional-about-climate-change-20200625-p5561z.html

June 30, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, psychology - mental health | Leave a comment

U.S. pentagon wary about morale of staff at nuclear bases

February 22, 2020 Posted by | psychology - mental health, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Don’t lets get “emotional” about nuclear-caused deformities, illnesses, deaths..

February 18, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, psychology - mental health, social effects, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Report shows that most young adults fear a nuclear attack this decade

January 21, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, psychology - mental health, social effects, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Climate change taking its toll on mental health

Feeling Anxious About Climate Change? Therapists Say You’re Not Alone

There’s no official clinical diagnosis, but the psychiatric and psychological communities have names for the phenomenon of worrying about the Earth’s fate: “climate distress,” “climate grief,” “climate anxiety” or “eco-anxiety”, People, By Victoria Knight , July 15, 2019 

Therapist Andrew Bryant says the landmark United Nations climate reportlast October brought a new mental health concern to his patients.

“I remember being in sessions with folks the next day. They had never mentioned climate change before, and they were like, ‘I keep hearing about this report,’” Bryant said. “Some of them expressed anxious feelings, and we kept talking about it over our next sessions.”

The study, conducted by the world’s leading climate scientists, said that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, by 2040 the Earth will warm by 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius). Predictions say that increase in temperature will cause extreme weather events, rising sea levels, species extinction and reduced capacity to produce food.

Bryant works at North Seattle Therapy & Counseling in Washington state. Recently, he said, he has been seeing patients with anxiety or depression related to climate change and the Earth’s future.

Often these patients want to do something to reduce global warming but are overwhelmed and depressed by the scope of the problem and difficulty in finding solutions. And they’re anxious about how the Earth will change over the rest of their or their children’s lifetimes.

Although it is not an official clinical diagnosis, the psychiatric and psychological communities have names for the phenomenon: “climate distress,” “climate grief,” “climate anxiety” or “eco-anxiety.”

The concept also is gradually making its way into the public consciousness.

In a June 23 episode of the HBO series Big Little Lies, one of the main character’s young daughters has a panic attack after hearing about climate change in school. And other recently released TV shows and movies have addressed the idea.

An April survey by Yale and George Mason universities found that 62% of Americans were at least “somewhat worried” about climate change. Of those, 23% were “very worried.”

Both younger and older generations express worry, although younger Americans generally seem more concerned: A 2019 Gallup poll reported that 54% of those ages 18 to 34, 38% of those 35 to 54 and 44% of those 55 or older worry a “great deal” about global warming.

There is no epidemiological data yet to show how common distress or anxiety related to climate change is. But, people say these feelings are real and affect their life decisions.

Los Angeles residents Mary Dacuma, 33, and her husband decided not to have children because they worry about how difficult the world might be for the next generation. ……..https://people.com/health/climate-change-anxiety-affecting-americans-mental-health/

July 15, 2019 Posted by | climate change, psychology - mental health, World | Leave a comment

Prejudice against Fukushima nuclear evacuees

‘You’re Contaminated’: The Stigma Against Japan’s Fukushima Survivors, Broadly, 12 Mar 19,

A 2011 quake and tsunami led to a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, killing thousands and displacing more. Two ‘nuclear refugees’ explain why returning home is more complicated than it seems.


…….. While the nuclear disaster is becoming a distant memory for most Japanese, for some others it is their everyday reality. Nuclear refugees and evacuees face discrimination, separation from loved ones, and in some cases, they are even forced to return to the former evacuation zone.

The government, worried about people getting exposed to radiation, declared a 20-km evacuation zone around the plant and uprooted close to 165,000 people. As of today, there are still 50,000 people who haven’t returned to Fukushima.

Keiko Owada, 66, is one of them. When I meet her in Tokyo, she refers to the Japanese capital as her home for the past seven years. That will soon change due to the government’s decision to withdraw her free housing subsidies.

Because decontamination work has made progress and food declared safe from radiation, it has been deemed safe to return to most villages within the evacuation zone. The same goes for Owada’s village Naraha, where the evacuation order was lifted two years ago.

Owada is not excited about the prospect of returning to Naraha. “Would I continue to get financial support for my apartment here in Tokyo, I would have stayed here, yes. I’ll tell you why: there is no hospital in Naraha, only a small hospital for first aid. There is no supermarket, only a small convenience store. And the reason is simple: only a few people have returned.”

Life as an evacuee hasn’t always been easy, Owada explains. “It wasn’t like people were treating me any different, but my neighbors never greeted me. I think it’s because of the compensation I received and the free housing. They knew I was from Fukushima, that’s why.”

According to Owada, some of the other evacuees in Tokyo she knows have faced harsher treatment. “I know of others whose cars were damaged on purpose because they had a Fukushima license plate. That’s why I never parked my car in the middle of the parking lot, but always in a corner, so no one could see it.”

If anything, Owada’s story illustrates how many evacuees continued to live in fear. Displaced from their homes, dropped in a new community—the disaster is anything but over for them. ……….

When Kamata got in touch with relatives living in other parts of Japan, she was shocked to hear one sister-in-law’s initial response. “After the disaster, I wanted to flee to Chiba [a prefecture next to Tokyo], my sister-in-law picked up the telephone and told me I didn’t have to come to their house. ‘You’re contaminated,’ she told me.”……….
As Kamata remembers what life was like back in Fukushima, she uses a handkerchief to wipe a tear from her cheek. She barely speaks to her friends anymore.

“The disaster divided our communities, both physically as well as mentally. ………https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/mb5zny/japan-fukushima-earthquake-survivors-stigma

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Japan, psychology - mental health, social effects | Leave a comment

Mental health issues in Kimba, a small Australian agricultural town, because government plans a nuclear waste dump there

Nuclear waste site selection process triggers mental health concerns, business boycotts and division, FOI documents reveal, ABC North and West By Gary-Jon Lysaght  13 Feb 19, (FOI documents are attached on the original) Freedom of Information (FOI) documents reveal the Federal Government has been aware of potential mental health issues, from as early as 2017, caused by the search for a site to store the nation’s nuclear waste.The Federal Government is currently considering two sites at Kimba and one near Hawker for a facility that would permanently store low-level waste and temporarily store medium-level waste.

Kimba, a small town on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, has been divided on whether to support or oppose the facility. Some residents believe the facility could help bring much-needed business to the rural town, while others suggest it could damage the region’s agricultural reputation.

“Many of the opposed group have raised the issue of mental health in submissions and direct discussions,” the FOI documents, written in 2017, said.

They believe mental health issues are arising in Kimba due to the stress of being in this process.

“These issues have been raised with the Kimba doctor and counsellor.”

Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick obtained the Freedom of Information documents and hoped the concerns were a catalyst for change.

“In my view, that creates a very strong obligation for the Government to act,” he said.

“They’ve clearly known about this issue since 2017 and it is now time to ask the minister exactly what he is doing in relation to that.”……. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-13/foi-documents-show-kimba-divided-over-nuclear-waste-site/10807462

February 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, psychology - mental health, social effects, wastes | Leave a comment

What prevents us from thinking ‘meaningfully’ about climate change.

The climate crisis has arrived – so stop feeling guilty and start imagining your future  The Conversation, Matthew Adams, Principal Lecturer in Psychology, University of Brighton February 7, 2019 

Evidence of the devastating impacts of anthropogenic climate change are stacking up, and it is becoming horrifyingly real. There can be no doubt that the climate crisis has arrived. Yet another “shocking new study” led The Guardian and various other news media this week. One-third of Himalayan ice cap, they report, is doomed.

Meanwhile in Australia, record summer temperatures have wrought unprecedented devastation of biblical proportions – mass deaths of horses, bats and fish are reported across the country, while the island state of Tasmania burns. In some places this version of summer is a terrifying new normal.

The climate disaster future is increasingly becoming the present – and, as the evidence piles up, it is tempting to ask questions about its likely public reception. Numerous psychological perspectives suggest that if we have already invested energy in denying the reality of a situation we experience as profoundly troubling, the closer it gets, the more effort we put into denying it.

While originally considered as a psychological response, denial and other defence mechanisms we engage in to keep this reality at bay and maintain some sense of “normality” can also be thought of as interpersonal, social and cultural. Because our relationships, groups and wider cultures are where we find support in not thinking, talking and feeling about that crisis. There are countless strategies for maintaining this state of knowing and not-knowing – we are very inventive.
The key point is that it prevents us from responding meaningfully. We “succeed” in holding the problem of what to do about the climate crisis at a “safe” distance. As the crisis becomes harder to ignore – just consider the current batch of shocking reports – individually and culturally we will dig deeper to find ways to strategically direct our inattention…………

When it comes to the climate crisis, the personal is political. I am talking about a politics that grows from opposition and critique of our current systems. This is evident in young people organising school strikes and protesters willing to get arrested for their direct action. But we also need to pay more attention to what is lost, to who and what we care for, to other possible ways of being.

Some conservation scientists, at least, see recent cultural change as a hopeful sign of a growing sense of care and responsibility. So stop feeling guilty, it’s not your fault. Be attentive to what’s going on, so that you might notice what you care about and why. What are you capable of, and what might we be capable of together, when we aren’t caught between knowing and not knowing, denial and distress?

February 11, 2019 Posted by | climate change, psychology - mental health | Leave a comment