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Megan Swartz

Youth and Suicide

The recent suicides of high profile names has incited public conversation about suicide. It’s a topic that is usually relegated to hushed tones.

Our society has come a long way in reframing its ideology about mental illness including depression, but we still have a long way to go. We tend to view depression, for example,  differently than we view other illnesses such as heart disease or diabetes. Some still think of depression as a character flaw, the result of bad parenting, or even personal weakness. That stigma only works against people from seeking help.

The Indiana Youth Institute shared two disturbing statistics in an April, 2014 Brief: Indiana has the highest rate of students who have contemplated suicide and the country’s second-highest rate of high school students who have attempted suicide. (National Institutes of Health). The Brief states, “Deaths from suicide are only part of the problem for Indiana youth; more young people survive suicide attempts than die, and many of these individuals seriously injure themselves in the attempt.”

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Summer Skies

We are so blessed to live in a community that offers so many summertime activities: zoos, hiking trails, beaches, picnic areas, museums, parades, farmers markets, art galleries. Don’t forget to look upward, because some of our finest summer attractions take place in the sky.

Look to the west in the nighttime sky, and you’ll see Venus shining back at you. Watch her through a telescope, and Venus might just cast a pink hue. In the eastern sky, near the rising moon, look at Jupiter showing off. Check out this website for more planet sightings this summer: https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/night/

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Preventing Dehyration

Mother Nature unleashed her heat and humidity on us last weekend. While it looks like we’ll get a break from the inferno this week, those hot, hot days are sure to return before we’re blessed with a snowfall.

One of the best things you can do for yourself and your children in the blistering heat is to stay hydrated with cold water. Not soda. Not lemonade. Not even iced tea. Plain, cold water is best.

The scary thing about dehydration is that you don’t have to feel thirsty to be dehydrated. In fact, by the time you’re feeling a little sluggish or sickly, your body is already screaming that it needs some fluids. According to the Mayo Clinic, dehydration happens when your body uses or loses more fluids than it takes in, and cannot maintain proper body functions. Urinary and kidney problems, seizures, shock and heat stroke are serious health issues that dehydration can cause. Dehydration can even cause death. (Mayo Clinic, 2018)

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Summer Travels 2018

Memorial Day marks the unofficial first day of summer. Regardless of where the mercury lies, lifeguards will be climbing their towers, teachers will be locking up their classrooms and many dads and moms will be gassing up their tanks – albeit wiping their brow as they wonder what possessed them to agree to a family vacation.

Whether your family’s summer trek takes you down the street to the beaches of Washington Park or Stone Lake for an afternoon, out to America’s Rollercoast in Ohio for a day, or to a mountain destination a day’s drive away, a little preparation can head off the inevitable cries of bored children. Imagine the family vacation where you are never asked “Are we there yet?”

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What Children Call Their Parents

It’s a funny thing when your toddler realizes that you have a real name, besides “Mom” or “Dad”. Repeating that real name is one of their early acts of independence, almost as if they are playing make-believe at adulthood. Maybe it’s an experiment in learning how far they can push the envelope. For a long time, my daughter thought people were calling me “Ma’am” (rather than Pam); so, I was Ma’am. I suppose she was mimicking how she saw other people treating me.

The novelty of “Ma’am” faded away during the preschool years. Then, out of nowhere, I became PJ to her (the first letters of my first name and middle name). I’ve said to her a million and one times in response to hearing that name, “There are only two people in this entire world who can call me Mom, so that’s what I want to be.” It does no good. Every once in awhile, my husband, will get a “Rick” out of our daughters, and it’s said in a playful way, likely for the shock value. As our pediatrician would say, “There are hills over which we wage battles, and this is not one of them.” I guess there are worse things she could call me. Even though I’ve always had nicknames for my daughters, “Princess”, “Sweetheart”, “Sweetie Pie”, it feels inexplicably awkward that my child should have one for me.

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