Saturday, September 12, 2009

Improving health and cutting crime

Poor RTBH has been neglected of late. Sorry about that! I've found recently that my creative, intellectual and emotional energy has been sucked into a range of other things - but I have to say that I've also struggled to find compelling, positive news. The continued anxiety around the world's financial and economic situation seems to have infected reporting on other issues. Perhaps the mood will lift a little now that a few big economies seem to be pulling themselves out of recession? Or perhaps reporters and readers alike will grow weary of the gloom and push towards optimism and hope... Who knows.

Anyway - I did find this interesting story today, in Newsweek (linked from the title above). It's a tantalizing piece on the ways in which some aspects of US healthcare reform may have knock-on social benefits. Specifically, there is evidence from pilot programs that home visits by nurses to support disadvantaged and teenage mothers have helped to cut crime. How? Well, it seems that the assistance given to mothers helped them stay healthy and happy and also reduced substance dependence. This translated into kids that were less likely to commit crime, being arrested half as often and convicted 80% less than similar children whose mothers weren't supported. It's a very interesting approach - and it's in the current draft US healthcare bill... though only time will tell if it'll stay there. Definitely one to watch.

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RTBH reader Karn just sent me something very cool. It's a film about how thousands of Estonian volunteers cleared their nation of garbage in just a day last year. It's 5 minutes long and well worth a watch - very inspirational and translatable to many other contexts. In fact, Karn tells me that Portugal is planning a similar event in March 2010. Hopeful happenings are infectious, it seems! Thanks, Karn!

1 comment:

tea said...

Welcome Back!

...And a really good piece.

It's annoying how initiatives like this - so obviously a sensible thing to do - get ground down by politics. Why are the ideologues in Congress so opposed to common sense measures like this? Is it because it pleases their donors? Or the media? Or are voters so fearful of change? Or is a critical majority of Americans too self-satisfied and removed from serious problems that they don't see the need?

Keep the good news coming!