Health: Black Legislators Host Mental Health Conference; Laws Are Needed to Restrict Smoking ParentsOctober 3rd, 2008
Black legislators host mental health conference. The National Black Caucus of State Legislators is hosting its 15th Annual Mental Health Conference to address the more pertinent mental health issues on both state and federal levels facing Black Americans today. The goal of the conference is to educate state legislators, healthcare professionals, community leaders and the public about mental illness and what can be done to reduce the cultural stigmas and barriers that prevent access in the African-American community. The conference for the first time is being broadcast live from Indianapolis via satellite to Miami and Detroit. The conference is also available live through the Internet at www.nbcsl.org. “We are experiencing a mental health crisis across all communities today,” said Rep. Calvin Smyre (GA), NBCSL President. “The cultural barriers and stigmas associated with mental illness in the African-American community make it an even more difficult illness to overcome. …We must provide the leadership to gain an understanding of these issues and then become a voice for those affected.” Topics for this year’s event include “Mental Health and African Americans in the Military,” “Barriers and Cultural Stigmas,” and “The Black Family.” No access to appropriate mental healthcare, mistrust of medical health professionals, and the misdiagnoses of illnesses top the list of issues that complicate overcoming mental illness According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 25 percent of African Americans are uninsured, compared to 16 percent of the overall U.S. population.
Laws are needed to restrict smoking parents.
Parents who smoke cigarettes around their kids in cars and homes should beware – second-hand smoke may trigger symptoms of nicotine dependence in children. The findings are published in the September edition of the journal Addictive Behaviors in a joint study from nine Canadian institutions. “Increased exposure to second-hand smoke, both in cars and homes, was associated with an increased likelihood of children reporting nicotine dependence symptoms, even though these children had never smoked,” says Dr. Jennifer O’Loughlin, senior author of the study, a professor at the Université de Montréal’s Department of Social and Preventive Medicine. As a result, there needs to be laws that stop parents from being allowed to smoke in their cars when they are driving with children, suggest the researchers from and a researcher at the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal.