SCOTUS rules in favor of the ACA!

From the majority opinion:

“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.”

Commentary to follow when I’m not at work.

Source: SCOTUSblog

Reflections on writing every day

Today is day 28 of my 28 Day Writing Challenge. I am so glad I decided to tried writing every day–I haven’t done anything like this before and I’ve learned a lot about my writing process, time management, and capacity to push through writer’s block and brain fatigue.

Reflections on writing every day

Source: Unsplash

Reflections:

  • I put together an editorial calendar for the month. I found it helpful, especially as a place to put links to articles that inspired writing topics, but I didn’t stick to it 100%.
  • It’s really hard to squeeze daily writing into a hectic schedule. Not only do I work full time, but because I work in Maryland and live in Philadelphia, I only see my husband on the weekends. Because we have limited time together, I found it difficult to make time to write on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • I often began a piece at night and then finished it before work the next morning. After work, I would start the next day’s.
  • Sometimes, due to the time restraints, I didn’t have the time or bandwidth to write an in-depth post.
  • I missed a few days. Not too many, but a few.
  • Likewise, having to produce a piece every day meant that, even though I tried to keep a few days ahead, I didn’t always have enough time to research as much as I would have liked.
  • I also didn’t have much time to let a piece sit so I could come back to it the next day with fresh eyes. There are almost certainly stylistic faux pas and grammatical errors that I would have caught if I’d been able to self-edit.
  • That said, there are some pieces that I’m proud of writing and plan to expand upon in the coming weeks. The most popular post I’ve ever written: “Eating clean” is dangerous to your health. The antimicrobial resistance series (Part I, Part II, Part III). Suicide prevention gets a new partner: Facebook.

I’m not going to continue posting every day. It’s just not sustainable for me at this point. However, I plan to write (at least) two pieces per week, one of which will be an in depth, longer exploration of a topic.

I want to be sure that I am producing quality work, not just quantity. I take writing seriously, and while I’m glad I did this as a kick in the pants to get me back into it, I think my work will improve if I can take time to write, rewrite, and rewrite again.

Thank you for coming on this journey with me. It’s been fun, and I’m glad you were here with me.

Suicide prevention gets a new partner: Facebook

If you or anyone you know is having thoughts of self-harm, please reach out to organizations like the National Suicide Prevention Hotline or call their hotline directly at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of self-harm, call 911 immediately. Your life is worth living and you don’t deserve to suffer.


Generally, my Facebook newsfeed is filled with silly photos of people waiting for the subway, declarations of love for a person’s partner, and snarky comments about current events. Sometimes, however, I see comments that make me concerned about someone’s mental health. I’ve been fortunate not to have seen anything that I felt needed to be reported, but I know that’s not the case for everyone.

Facebook announced yesterday that they are partnering with Forefront, Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, save.org, and other mental health organizations to create a more effective reporting program for people whose friends are expressing suicidal thoughts on Facebook.

When someone sees a friend’s (let’s call him Gerald) troubling post, they will have the option to report it directly to Facebook. Right now, at the upper right hand corner of every post, there’s a little downward arrow that, when you click on it, allows you to choose the option to report the post for potential suicidal content. (I haven’t been able to find screenshots of what that screen will look like, and the capability has not yet been activated on my account so I couldn’t make any of my own.)

The post will then be reviewed by “teams working around the world” to determine if the post does in fact imply that Gerald is in danger of self harming. If so, the next time Gerald logs into his account, he’ll see this:

Facebook suicide prevention screen 1facebook_suicide_prevention_2facebook_suicide_prevention_3 Source: Huffington Post

One of the things that seems most promising is that Gerald doesn’t seem to have the option to dismiss these screens. He will have to at least click through the resources in order to get to their newsfeed. Hopefully, this will help reach some people who need help but aren’t able–for whatever reason–to ask for it or recieve it.

I also hope that Facebook is planning to critically evaluate this change. There are lots of unintended consequences that could arise from this new reporting system: a drop in posts containing potentially suicidal content, quick click-through speeds that imply users aren’t actually reading the resources, and gross misuse of the capability that floods the reviewing teams, making effective review difficult or impossible.

And when Facebook evaluates the initiative, I hope they make that information public. Because social media can provide a platform for mental health intervention, we need to know if a huge intervention like this is actually successful.

To learn more about this Facebook change, check out the Facebook Safety post explaining what’s happening.