Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Patt Morrison for Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

1-3 p.m.




1:06 – 1:30




1:30 - 1:58:30

Middle-aged suicide on the rise

The Centers for Disease control and Prevention reports that the suicide rate for the middle-aged has increased for the second consecutive year. Men age 45 - 54 are in the highest risk group for suicide.  Researchers are not sure whats causing the up tick, but they know that 90% of people who kill themselves have some kind of a mental disorder at the time of their death.  The CDC lists health, jobs and financial stress as risk factors for suicide.  Hmmm, could the economic meltdown, rise in the unemployment rate and the lack of affordable health care be contributing factors?



Paula Clayton, medical director, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention



  • The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.


Lyn Morris, Division Director of Emergency Services, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services



  • The Didi Hirsh Community Mental Health Center operates the only free, accredited, 24-hour, seven-days-a-week, suicide prevention crisis line from Orange County to Santa Barbara



  • Historically, those 80 and older had the highest rate of suicide.   In 2006 that changed and the middle aged had the highest rate.


  • The rate for 45 - 54 year olds in 2006 was 17.2 per 100K people.  In 2005, it was 16.3. 


  • Alaska has the highest rate of suicide at 21.8%. California is ranked #43.  CAs suicide rate is 9.9%.


  • Suicides are not more frequent around the holidays.  The highest rates are in April, and then June and July. 


  • A gun is the number one method used to commit suicide by those aged 35 and older.


  • 75-80 percent of college students who kill themselves are male although more girls attempt suicide. 


  • Men are 3xs as likely to commit suicide as women. 


  • American Indians, Alaska Natives and non-Hispanic whites and veterans are most at risk.




2:06 – 2:30

Can they do that? Insurance companies rushing to raise rates ahead of reform bill

And you thought the health care battles were over—turns out that the colossal effort to get a health reform bill passed earlier this year was just the opening shot in a wider war, and the second front is quickly forming.  Insurance companies across the country are rushing to impose premium rate increases ahead of the implementation of the reform bill, which doesn’t fully kick-in until 2014.  Californians saw this earlier in the year when Blue Cross-Anthem tried to impose a rate increase as high as 32%, after later backing down.  Before the reform law establishes a new health care safety net the average consumers of health insurance are in for a rough ride:  states are cutting Medicaid budgets for the poorest Americans; special extended COBRA coverage for unemployed Americans is about to run out; and rising healthcare prices and skyrocketing insurance premiums will sock the already insured.  Is a health care crisis—the kind that this reform bill was supposed to head off—inevitable?







2:30 – 2:39

Hard-wired for war? Humans and chimps may have shared ancestor to thank

Probably nothing is more certain, more studied or more essentially “human” than war, but new study may change that.  Dr. John Mitani of Michigan University recently completed a ten-year look at warfare among chimpanzees, finding that they cooperate to organize themselves with the intent to capture territory, their behavior is adaptive, and that natural selection has therefore hard-wired warfare into their neural circuitry.  That’s of particular interest to humans because of the possibility that we both inherited an instinct for aggressive behavior from a common ancestor who lived about 5 million years ago.  Chimp warfare heretofore has rarely been observed by humans—Jane Goodall famously witnessed a chimp community in Tanzania’s Gombe National Park split into two and then one group wipe out the other (but those chimps had been fed bananas, leading some researchers to blame the war on this human intervention) and the only other instance involved another Tanzanian chimp group that was wiped out completely, but no bodies were ever found.  From what has been witnessed, chimps’ warfare closely resembles that of contemporary human hunter-gatherer societies, so if there is a genetic link, Dr. Mitani’s study raises many more questions—can chimps foresee the consequences of their behavior?  Do they calculate the outcomes? And what can they tell us about ourselves and our perhaps inevitable appetite for war.





Dr. John Mitani, Anthropology Professor at the University of Michigan and lead author on a report published yesterday in “Current Biology”




2:41 – 2:58:30

“Restrepo”: a war movie through the eyes of a soldier

War is not the perfectly-edited adrenaline rush of a two-hour movie.  It’s also not the three-minute summaries on the nightly news.  War is a feeling and a life that only those involved can understand.  That’s what filmmakers Sebastian Junger (author of “WAR” and “The Perfect Storm”) and Tim Hetherington (“Long Story Bit by Bit: Liberia Retold”) hoped to capture with their 90-minute documentary, “Restrepo,” which followed the soldiers of the Second Platoon at their outpost in the highly dangerous Korengal Valley, Afghanistan.  The cameras rolled and chronicled every action of these soldiers through the eyes of the Second Platoon, from the mind-numbing stretches of anticipation to the adrenaline-filled chaos of an ambush.  It’s as entrenched as you can get, but yet you’re still in the theater…



Sebastian Junger, co-director of Restrepo; author of “The Perfect Storm” and “Fire” and a contributing editor for Vanity Fair; his latest book is “WAR,” which chronicles his time spent with the Second Platoon in Afghanistan



Tim Hetherington, co-director of “Restrepo,” he’s a contributing photographer for Vanity Fair Magazine.  His work includes the film “Liberia: An Uncivil War” and the book “Long Story Bit by Bit: Liberia Retold”





Jonathan Serviss

Producer, Patt Morrison Program

Southern California Public Radio

NPR Affiliate for Los Angeles

89.3 KPCC-FM | 89.1 KUOR-FM | 90.3 KPCV-FM

626.583.5171, office

415.497.2131, mobile

jserviss@kpcc.org / jserviss@scpr.org



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