Mental Health Crisis Looms Large As Coronavirus Pandemic Continues 2020-08-06
Support for the takeaway comes from hint water fruit infused water with no calories and no sweeteners hint water is available in over twenty-five flavors including watermelon and blackberry in stores are delivered directly to your door from drink hint dot com. Restless night's loneliness irritability anger, and maybe a loss of hope we're feeling the virus in all sorts of ways you this namic up chuckles is being able to focus on anything for fifteen to twenty minutes. Going to pin DEMOC differently saps your motivation and energy away carries this is dangerous and yet it doesn't impact me today on the takeaway for Thursday August six were talking with you. About the pandemics toll on our collective mental health. Also on the show Kanye West sparked a conversation about how the media tackle celebrity and mental illness. If these were the rantings of just a homeless man on the streets, no, one would care and we look at the months-long long celebration of black resistance. The was created at a time of tremendous malls in terms of the black liberation. So that's why there's the emphasis on trying to revitalize reinvigorate in rededicate. All right let's do this. Nearly six months into the global pandemic covid nineteen is taking a toll on our mental health. Hi, this is Julia Rate Calling from New Concord Ohio I'm a chaplain, and previously I've prided myself on having excellent coping abilities and even lead by students on grounding and thundering practices. Through this in them up struggled with being able to focus on anything for fifteen to twenty minute if you'll referenced and bad and on all the time and keep telling my students that this is. The time to give yourself a break to just look at yourself and love yourself and not be too hard. But I look at the changes in my life, my social life, my body, my mental health I can't help but be horrified and wrestling returning to work week kind putting on work clothes today. Cry. My name is Bernie at Martin and from Portland Oregon nine until help during this in. It has Been A lot. It's definitely taking a giant downturn. I actually gave birth. A week before the Pan. was declared a pandemic. We've been home with a newborn ever since. They are now five months old and thriving and loving all this. Extra parenting in. Home time, but it is a lot I do have postpartum depression and it's definitely exacerbated the issue I. Luckily have a lot of support from my partner and my roommate's all of which are also doing their own mental health issues right now. Honestly I think I'm probably. Really. Lucky. All things considered but. They're really hard and I try to and trying to a really good mental health example for my baby. So. Yeah. Okay Bernadette. Mom Myself. I hear you and thank you so much for sharing your stories. You can keep telling us the pandemic has affected your mental health by calling us at eight, seven, seven, eight, mile take. In June more than thirty, six percent of US adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, and that's an increase of roughly twenty five percent from the same time last year that data's according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Even former first lady Obama said she's experiencing low grade depression because of the state of the country today bottom line we're dealing with a lot right now economic insecurity global pandemic that forces us to stay apart political infighting and the ongoing fight for racial justice are just some of the stressors were facing right now listeners you're not alone I'm Tansy Nevada and the state of our mental health is where we start today on the takeaway. Sandy Orion is a healthcare reporter would seek you row call welcome to the show Sandia. Thanks for having me and Dr Suzanne Song as the Director of the Division of Child Adolescent and Family Psychiatry at George Washington University Medical Center thanks for being with US Dr Song Ankium. Dr. Song what are been some of the most notable changes in our mental health or mental health of the patients that you've been seeing during the pandemic. It's been quite variable and changes over time. So at the start of the pandemic, I was actually very surprised myself and my other is psychiatry colleagues. We were really worried about those who had pre existing anxiety because of course, we thought they would worsen. And yet people with anxiety were my bright stars. Actually they are used to seeing threats and being concerned feeling fear ruminating about bad things about to happen and many have learned therefore ways of coping. So they can label they're feeling is anxiety and they're now in the beginning of the pandemic, they're teaching other people like this is what you're feeling. You're feeling anxiety. This is what you can do here are some breathing techniques your some relaxation behaviors you can do and they're really validating. Feeling more at ease because now, the reality of worry was true and they can sit back and let other people carry the anxiety for them. But now you know four, five, six months in it's a very different story I think almost all of my patients, every single session are talking about. What. Your caller's actually spoke about and of low motivation difficulty focusing low energy irritability and just a general on. We like a boredom with life. They have things we can do but there's really no reason for doing them with describe that as low grade depression is that on the depression spectrum Doctor Song. It is and it's hard when an entire community where fear experiencing collective depression almost now people with depressive disorder where it actually affects their functioning. They also have negative self appraisal. So they often think negatively about themselves like why did I say that I look bad I am bag never be anything. The problem is now they have the space and the time at home without other distractions or social input to immerse in this negative self dialogue on. Sunday, you've reported recently on some of the concerns that the pandemic has raised around suicide in this country briefly. What was your findings there? So. Right now we in the past year. So we have been on an upward trend where even in two thousand nineteen, we were at like a twenty year high of suicide death rates, and right now in certain parts of the country is little pockets throughout the country. There have been some spikes and suicide deaths, but it's kind of hard to tell because the national data from places like the Centers for disease. Control and Prevention, and from all the different medical examiners offices won't be available for a little while lot of experts are worried that it might spike because of all the different stress factors that you've mentioned things like the the economic situation, the health situation, the races and you know lack of social interactions and being able to go to religious services there just so many different factors that that could increase the suicide death rate. Dr Song we mentioned there's so many things that people are dealing with. Is it the culmination and the layering of all of these issues on top of one another that's adding to our collective Malays or is there one specific thing that is most to blame for the recent uptick in what we're seeing as far as anxiety depression other issues? I think it's definitely multifactorial. It's overlaid with nor pre existing mental healthcare access to resources and support a a want to emphasize the impact of are truly our social inequalities and how that impacts mental health and. You, know when we talk about suicide, often a precursor that is feeling isolated and. When we have physical distancing restrictions that doesn't necessarily mean social isolation. and. Yet. Right. Now, we have such a wide spectrum of precaution behavior. So if patients who feel even more isolated from family and friends now because they don't share the same precaution behaviors, maybe adults who are compliant with masking distancing and yet they're older parents or their loved ones or their their spouses at home they differ in this. and. So now there's this feeling of what's wrong with me my overreacting. Underlying worry about their lives in danger people are scared to walk by someone, and now we view everybody is a threat and that is a huge stress dry system and and people are grieving right. We experienced collectively grief the loss of life John's security relationships, former ways of living all of this will also losing our normal outlet for coping. So we don't have workouts or vacations things to look forward to our office talk social outings. And Zoom meetings just to be honest they just don't seem to cut it which is a lot of us are are staying connected whether that's through zoom or facetime or texting. Sunday has the federal government noticing what's happening here issued any resources for mental health care for people who are dealing with this right. Now, I recall at the very beginning of the pandemic here in New York governor Cuomo, for example, ask for thousands of mental health professionals to come to the state to help with the increase in in calls to hotlines. But what does the federal government done to assuage some of our mental health concerns nationally? So they're kind of two pronged, there are things that have been done already, and there are things that are in the process of being done. So right now it better government has made it a lot easier that if you want telehealth for any of the mental health services or substance use services that you have, it's a lot easier to get that paid for by your insurance whether it's through government insurance or private insurance. It's just simplified a lot during the pandemic So that's definitely a helping people that are that are seeking treatment either for the first timer if they'd gone many times and then on the other side, there are a few things that the government has been doing In the previous bills that have been there to help with Kobe relief, there's been money appropriated to kind of go some of the behavioral health providers to kind of help them get through it because they've not been having as many people come in person and some there. David. Experiencing some of the troubles that a lot of. Different businesses and providers have had and In the House Energy and Commerce Committee has marked up a bunch of different mental health bills that could see for action and become law were of them related to suicide. But some of them were more broadly related things like getting mental health covered under telehealth. Under Medicare, you know even after the pandemic is is over and all these bills are pretty bipartisan. So they're likely to to be brought up at some point and then even yesterday a bipartisan group of fifty eight members of Congress wrote a letter to leadership to just Kinda prioritize mental health substance use treatment in the ever whatever the next big packages that comes out that. There is agreement on. So a lot of different things are happening Dr Song to that point I mean we knew before the pandemic about a year ago the data in the United States around suicide was grim and so I'm wondering not just specific to suicide but more broadly, how can people assess whether or not? They're dealing with a short term stress whether it's about wearing masks or what have you or something more severe that might require treatment. And that's a great question. I think we always have to think about how pervasive are symptoms are and how the severity of them. So we all feel bad. You know net one day here one day there maybe in the morning be feel better throughout the day. But if there are persistent severe symptoms where we just really can't focus and we really have periods where. Bet Negative self-appraisal just takes over and we feel hopeless and. Quite frankly an existential despair. And not just persistent. That's time to think it's really. Important to seek mental health care like now is the time right now because there's no need to suffer in silence alone when. They're so many people right now expect almost one third of Americans right now experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety. So now is the time to come forward and to ask for help. And to know that they are not alone. That's right. We on the show we asked our listeners a couple of weeks ago to talk about how they're coping by creating moments of joy Joy is something that's very immediate and I think what we're talking about now is hope are you noticing hopelessness? Among people is that was driving this sense of you know the sense of depression and darkness right now is that people are lacking hope and if so how do we get better at finding that hope? It's such a great buen so It is extremely hard to find hope. And that but that reason I, think is also multi-layered. So, we think about. In the short term versus the long term effects of this stress and in the short term, sometimes it's easier to have hope that in the longer term. So it's like a house on Fire News. When the short term, there's lots of damage done the houses on fire, but you don't really see the after effects until the fire dies down and your space and time to look at the remains, see the damage, and then you can start to build that hope for the future because the crisis is over and so you have the space and capacity to actually have hope. But if that house continues to burn for four to six months and it's hard to see when that will end. then. It's really hard to have that hope because you don't know we have that uncertainty of what the future is going to be one will this crisis be over? and. What makes it worse is? For example, we have firefighters were arriving to that house in the metaphor be like masks or distancing, and they're actually being turned away from helping that fire. Or. Let's say the fire is Your House and people are walking by, but they're ignoring it and pretending it's not on fire. It's those things that make hope very, very difficult. So the trauma and the stress in the difficulty in having hoped the hopelessness right now is not just the actual virus. It's not the actual fire. It's all of a stress, the inconsistency in response, the lack of uniform guidance, the very billion messaging about what safe or the virus itself the devaluing of some people's lives. All of that is extremely traumatic in this catapulting of helplessness, fear and despair. And we've been hearing you know before the pandemic there were lots of conversations about resilience, and I I often find those conversations are are. That topic is it really depends on who's receiving the message I. Think about as you were mentioning earlier, there are people who have suffered anxiety and depression and. Were prepared for this moment right in a different way. but then there are who hadn't in this was sort of you know a new place for the mentally When we talk about resilience, you know women people of Color or poor people have had to be resilient and are probably examples of resilience Ron fettered resilience in many ways because they've had no choice how do we create resilience in this moment? for. Americans because. I just don't know how else to do you know what else to say at this point I think a lot of people feel that way. They don't know what else to say, what else to do what to do like. You said, all of our coping mechanisms that we used we used to have including gathering and community have been taken away. Yes. So You know resilience is. Is a dynamic process. It's not a static tree that we either are resilient or not, but it's a process which means it can be learned as also time and context dependent. So I could be resilient in the past but right now I'm not feeling is linked at all. or It's context of pants so I might be able to build on my resiliency in the work situation. If my boss gets upset with me, I can you know find ways to overcome that but the same day if something happens within my family I crumble and I really let that get demand. It's hard for me to be resilient. So for people to know that resiliency is a process and just because you're not feeling resilient right now does not mean one is doesn't have the capacity to be resilient. The you mentioned some an extremely good points around the structural. Inequalities, and the impact of has I think we are you're right. We are forcing people to be resilient. But tolerating is not the same as being resilient. And we really need in order to help people be resilient I. Think the thing we most need to do is to change structures and the social systems that are forcing people to be resilience. meaning. We change our policies to better reflect our society where we actually value children and families. So we know right now one of the hardest hits groups right now mental health. Wise. There's a study from University of Southern California. Is Young X is a mother's. So mother's right now with children, women with children are really struggling with the burden of working full-time and how trying to manage childcare and also typically being the caregivers in their family for their other loved ones. These are some of the social policies that we need to really address to help people become more resilient. Dr Suzanne Song is the Director of the Division of Child Adolescent and Family Psychology at George Washington University medical. Center and Sunday Rahman is healthcare reporter with Cq roll-call. Thanks to you both. Thank you so much. And if you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatments that number for the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration's national hotline is one, eight, hundred, six, six, two, four, three, five, seven, this the takeaway. Hi. This is Stacey Krause calling from San Would New Jersey. The isolation of the pandemic is surely affecting meat but not nearly as much as it's affecting less six year old daughter she's become promotional. and has a bit of anxiety about handwashing. Even if we're just at home all day I'm watching her closely and we'll be seeking therapist. If that behaviour gets worse, the damage has caused me to be extremely sad and then I get angry. And then I'm okay I get extremely angry at our. So called president for not protecting our nation and protecting all of its people no matter what their affiliation is and posting consistent lies on any platform that he can get. It's a scary. This is dangerous and yes, it does impact me my name is June and from corning. New York Hi. This is Jennifer from Utah. Yes. My sleep suffered and worry constantly occupy my mind I've had to limit my listening to or looking at the news I used to listen and look at it. But now, only do it every few days or sometimes not at all that it seemed to help a lot. I also try to refrain from arguing with others about our differences of opinion on what the country should do as I realize it only causes me more anxiety and that I really can only control my own action. This is two thousand from South Bend Indiana. I'm socially distancing and after five months, it's very hard I'm full caregiver from my eighty seven year old husband has dementia I text I resume religious services. I, go outdoors. I am somewhat depressed. I'm also covid nineteen long-haul the burden in isolation and current events all way down my spirit even though I feel I'm doing the right thing ethically and grateful my situation is difficult but bearable. Horses a few times a week as I can as my secret information, -taining my fantasy. And more people have been experiencing anxiety or depression in recent months, and while we've gotten better at talking about those types of mental health issues, there's still a lot of stigma and misconceptions surrounding mental illnesses that aren't as widely understood, and that includes in the media which brings us to Kanye West last month after announcing his bid for President Konya made headlines following a campaign rally where he made some pretty outrageous and offensive claims. Now his rally garnered a lot of media attention but much of it failed to note his experience living with bipolar disorder and how that may have contributed to the rant. He gave that evening after the event Connie's wife Kardashian posted a statement on instagram. That said quote we as a society talk about giving grace to the issue of mental health as a whole. However, we should also give it to the individuals who are living with it in times when they need it the most the. Media has long struggled in its coverage of celebrities and others with mental illness consider Britney Spears whose two thousand and seven mental health crisis was so widely scrutinized and so often resurfaced even in mainstream media that it led to memes making light of the artist's experience. So for today's media conversation, we're GONNA talk about how the media can get better when it comes to covering Mental Health Danielle Belton is the editor in chief of the route and she joins me now Danielle welcome to the show. Thanks for having me. When you look at media, the media coverage of Konya and other celebrities that are dealing with similar issues. Mental health issues is there a pattern that you see emerging? I think what I often see is a focus on what salacious an exciting and what's good drama as opposed to looking at this person in crisis who probably needs help and support. there seems to be a lack of sensitivity. It always goes back to what look at this wild thing they said Oh he's running for president. It's just like wait this guy like clearly having some issues right now why are we treating this as if it's a serious campaign all sides point that he's not his own wife as you know come out concerned. So. I feel like the pattern that always emerges focused on the salacious as if this was just any other celebrities story of drama heightened coverage and the colorful language. But without any of the deep analysis to actually goes into what it, what a purse mental health is experiencing, what in your opinion do y'all should journalists political journalists in particular who were looking at covering that? Because I imagine the conversations in newsrooms Konya decided he's going to run for president. We have to talk about this. Right how would you have approached that story? I definitely would approach it with a lot more sensitivity and made it more mental health story than political story because the reality is Connie was hadn't done the work that he needed to do to get on the ballot and fifty states his vice presidential pick was someone that no one had ever heard of ETA just seemed like something that was just thrown together. It didn't seem like. Something that was a real concentrated effort to become president of the United States. It seems something less serious and maybe his actual condition was more serious. So to me, it should have been treated as a health story. What's interesting to me? I. wrote about this in a piece for the route. If these were the rantings of just a homeless man on the street, no, one would care. And there are plenty of people who are battling mental illness who are battling homelessness who say similar things to what Connie has said. And we don't put cameras in front of them. We don't make them headline news we don't take them seriously. In fact, we often ignore them and don't even help them get treatment. So the fact that you have someone is exhibiting. Behavior. Their famous and your approach approaches to stick a camera in their face and treated as if legitimate is disturbing to me. We often a lot of people now I feel like have embraced. The idea that depression is a thing. It's real that people struggle with it. American. Struggle with it anxiety something that many Americans struggle with. But when it comes to things like bipolar disorder like schizophrenia and other mental illnesses that people are less comfortable dealing with how do those conversations shift depending on? You know race gender sexuality in the media. There's definitely a lot of stigma around bipolar disorder I personally suffer from bipolar type two disorder myself and when I was first diagnosed. I had a hard time with the diagnosis. I knew it was so severe and it was something that I couldn't treat lightly. And often when you hear the word bipolar used, it's thrown around as a slur often on reality shows between wealthy housewives insulting one another over who's being the most dramatic. So people have a real miss representation of misunderstanding of severe diagnoses like. Schizophrenia. Because people think it's scary. They think it's unpredictable. They think that somehow people who are mentally ill might harm them when the reality for the vast majority of mentally ill people. The only person there at risk of hurting is our themselves. Most mentally ill people most people who have schizophrenia bipolar disorder or non violent. They're just people who are having trouble balancing. The issues, the chemical imbalances, and other problems they have emotionally or otherwise in their minds, and so until we start to talk about mental health in the same way, we talk about physical health. I think there's always going to be a certain level of stigma attached to it because people want to believe that you can control every aspect of your body, but you just can't the president trump's mental health has been scrutinized in the media and so has that of vice president former Vice President Joe Biden who is our presumptive twenty twenty Democratic nominee how would you assess the media's coverage on that Front Anyo? I'd also say it's kind of poor because again, it feels more like a joke or a punchline as opposed to real serious analysis. I see often the word narcissist thrown around about, Donald Trump and sure he may be narcissist but I've been reading Mary Trump's book and she was a psychologist and she goes into very deep analysis that it would take somebody batteries of tests that the president would never sit forward to actually ascertain what might be his problem. So it's a much more severe issue than I think the media often realizes or portrays. because clearly it clouds his judgment it keeps him from acting on things and the way that he should and respond to things responsibly. So I think it's important to look at the presence mental health talk about it, but I think we need to talk about it in a serious way in a way where we're just making fun of him Danielle. Let's talk a little bit about fictionalized depictions of mental illness television movies for example, are we doing? It's kind of a mixed bag. You know in some respects, we have made some improvements. I've seen some very moving depictions of bipolar disorder particularly on the TV show Dave. Where one of the characters is bipolar and it's struggling with it but you see him go through this journey It's much more realistic and grounded that perhaps other portrayals that I've seen in the past homeland, a show that I have watched throughout the years which stars, Claire Day where she plays a woman with bipolar disorder and Harper trail is very nuanced but I think there's still this tendency. To be just kind of flip you know and talk about using the word crazy to describe people and insane and showing people in a almost a garish kind of cartoonish sort of way which only adds to the stigma. But I do feel like there is a lot of improvement that is happening. You do see people opening up more in their perspectives and their depictions of how people are dealing with trauma like. I made a story which deals with the aftermath of sexual assault. You heard the character deal with PTSD and that's been a very grounded and nuanced and realistic portrayal of it. So I feel like things are are going in the right direction, but we still have some ways to go. You know what we need to turn the spotlight on ourselves. A lot of journalists in this profession is not an easy profession. Daniel is you know a lot of US struggle with mental illness or experienced mental health issues as a result of the job. Is there something that newsrooms can do? Newsrooms can definitely do a better job of supporting their employees who struggled with mental illness. Mostly, the issue that people don't realize like you can go go go go go but eventually you'll become useless and not be able to do your job. If you don't check in on your mental health, you're not helpful to the mission of the news organization if you're so sick that you can't do your job. So it's important for there to be employee wellness programs for there to be adequate mental healthcare within healthcare plans. Adequate coverage for mental health. There has to be adequate time off for when people are experiencing burnout are having severe distress. There needs to be more flexible hours. One of the things that's been great about where I work is that we have unlimited PTO and we have very flexible work hours. So I often tell my employees you know if you need to take a half day, take a half day. If you need to take a week off, let me know in advance will schedule that week. See You can get your head. Back together. I try to be very supportive of my staff and continue to have a regular conversation around mental health and staying on top of it because you know these jobs are very stressful and so it's very, very important for everyone to check in with themselves and say am I at my optimal best if I'm not, what can I do to get back to it? And newsrooms need to be supportive of whatever measures though staff writers, those editors need to get back to a place of these. Very important words, Danielle and I hope newsrooms are listening Danielle Belton is the editor in chief at the Root Danielle. Thanks so much for joining me. Thank you for. I'm Johanna mayor host of science fiction from science Friday and WNYC studios over the next few weeks. We are all about food how restaurants became restaurants. The first restaurants replaces you went not to eat and the linguistic tricks that make food sound delicious. Totally ruined my ability to look at names in the way that normal person. Find Science fiction wherever you got your podcasts. As, we learn more about the corona virus. We know that it can affect healthy people of all ages, and that recovery can be an apostle battle. My Name is David Latte I'm the founding editor of about the law, a legal website and managing director in the New York office of Lateral Inc legal recruiting firm it started off with some fatigue then as the days progressed. I developed a high fever going as high as around one. Oh, four joint aches. David has been on the takeaway before he's forty five and he caught the coronavirus in early March in new. York. City. Before any of us really knew what the virus was and what kind of impact it would have on today. So David talked us through what his experience was like. In New York and early March, there were not many cases of Kobe. So I didn't think it was covid. Thought later in the week I developed a bad cough. And at that point, I, called my primary care doctor. They thought it was maybe the flu that it turns into bronchitis. They prescribe me some antibiotics and some cough syrup cough unfortunately did not get better and then I started to have trouble breathing. This was around the weekend of March fifteen going into Monday march sixteen I went to my nearest emergency room. At Nyu, langone hospital they had to give me supplemental oxygen because I was already in pretty bad shape. They gave me a code test and it turned up positive. They admitted me to the hospital. In the hospital and fairly stable condition for few days receiving supplemental oxygen, getting some medications including the now infamous atrocity chloroquine, which at the time was thought to be potentially helpful. But my condition took a turn for the worst. Late. At night someone came into my hospital room. I can't remember it was a doctor nurse and told me I. would have to be intimated work put on a ventilator on the ventilator pretty much unconscious because they give you a lot of senators. For about six days that was a very scary experience especially for my family I was unconscious during the whole thing and I don't even remember anything about it much to this day thought my husband and my parents were just waiting and waiting for every update each day they couldn't come visit me because the hospitals were not taking visitors at a time especially of covid patient. But Luckily God I did come off the ventilator I was in the hospital for another week or so essentially learn how to breathe. Again, I was just charged from the hospital on April one I remember a Wednesday April fool's day and I went to my parents home. In New Jersey, which is where I husband and my son, and I spent the first part of my coast hospital weeks recovering. Recovery. Breed versus not being recovered not exactly that a binary thing. Yes. No, he's not like turning a light switch on and suddenly you're recovered it's more like a light switch on a dimmer function where it gets a little bit brighter and a little bit darker in a little bit brighter. It's sort of two steps forward one step back. It's a very long process and just because you're a covered from Kobe doesn't mean that you live happily ever after my. Lungs are still not the same. They're still not to where they were before and I'm one of the lucky ones. There are a lot of people who are recovering from Kovic, who has all kinds of problems, heart problems, kidney problems, blood clotting problems, cognitive, and psychological problems. So we can't just think of the toll of cove in terms of the deaths. It also means a lot of people who survive are living lives that are compromised by their having had this disease. Even though I am maybe I should say was relatively young and healthy I'm not invincible I was in critical condition I seen for almost a week and that was a very terrifying experience that just reminded me of my own mortality I also wonder whether code is going to lead us to think about how we deliver health care in this country just in terms of the cost and the accessibility of it having a disease like having an epidemic like visit affects millions of people and results in huge costs, maybe a time of reckoning for us about our healthcare system. That was David Latte founding editor of above the law illegal news website and a managing director in the new. York. Office of lateral link, a nationwide legal recruiting firm, and we wanna hear your experiences about living with and recovering from covid nineteen. How're you doing weeks or months after contracting the virus eight, seven, seven, eight my take is our Colin Line and you can tweet US also I'm at Tenzin Vega and the show is at the takeaway. I'm Tansy Vega and you're listening to the takeaway. This week marked the start of black August a month long observance of black resistance that's been around since the nineteen seventies this year following weeks of nationwide protests against police brutality, systemic racism, black August is finding renewed popularity. It's a time of reaffirmation rededication to the Movement for Black Liberation with a special emphasis on political prisoners and prisoners of war. My name is Sunday to cater to charge your m. a associate professor at the University of Illinois in the Departments of African American Studies in. History. According to soon, Diatta historically, there have been certain rituals associated with black. August and that includes things like physical exercise and fasting. It's a moment where people do fast from Sunup to sundown its time, which there is intense study particularly in the fields of black history and revolutionary and writings with a special emphasis on the work of George Jackson. Jackson was a revolutionary author Field Marshall of the black. Panther Party and also the CO founder of the black guerrilla family a political group in California prisons. At the time Jackson spent more than a decade at San Quentin State prison on charges of armed robbery until his death in August nineteen seventy-one Jackson and other politicized prisoners found themselves constantly at odds with guards in the guards which supply members of white supremacist groups with weapons such as knives to attack and kill a highly political prisoners in one such incident there's a struggle on the yard and Aaron Brothers attacking people. George Jackson makes a decision to use it as an effort to try and escape. And in the midst of that, he shot and killed in the prison Yar Jackson Dan is He's he you know he's a martyr for the movement, the Black Panther Party EP Newton, eulogize Jackson, and black guerrilla family. In the wake of having lost Jackson and his younger brother Jonathan a year before she was security. For Angela Davis, they make a decision to memorialize Jackson and his teachings in that's birth of black blackhawks cindy many Americans have heard of black history month but very few including myself as I mentioned had not. Heard about the tradition of black August why do you think that is? One I think it's because it's recent. Ready. Begins in the early Seventies Nineteen, seventy one after the assassination of George Jackson. To. It comes out of penal system specifically in California and it doesn't really begin to. Hit the broader population of people outside of prison until nine, hundred, seventy, nine, or so. And unless one. Had A connection to a black liberation. Organization that was concerned about political prisoners and prisoners of war is likely that one wouldn't have heard about it until we get to the late nineties. Early, two thousand s when Demarco Mex- grassroots movement. Came up with a project is buyer by Sasha core. To US hip hop as a way of publicising. The plight of African, American. Political Prisoners beginning in nineteen, ninety eight there was a concert of Malcolm x grassroots took a series of artists common Dave Banner. Yes. In Bay, the former most deaf black star artists like that took them to Cuba and subsequently Dan began to take these orders around the world South Africa Tanzania Brazil INS Walea, and of course, concerts in United States. So that gave Black August and bit of publicity. Blake August is similar to Kwanza, not just inform, but also ineffective quasi was a celebration that was only in the black community for several decades. And then it began to slowly spread into much broader segment of the black community and into mainstream America and we see Black August as beginning to move in that same direction Cindy Outta the month of August is also full of other major moments in the history of black resistance. It's not just about the death of George Jackson and others at Saint Quentin but it's also a month where many black revolutionaries were born right either they were born or most important activities occurred in the month of August. So if we think really big pitcher The major event that associates August with black resistance, and that's why we referred to it as black August resistance month would be the Haitian revolution of seventeen ninety. One that outbreak begins in August also Gabriel prosser his conspiracy of eighteen hundred. The area Richmond Virginia that also begins in August as does net Turner's eighteen, thirty, one rebellion and a rebellion in new in eighteen, forty three. But it is also the month in which the NAG wbz boys and William Monroe Trotter form the Niagara Movement is also the month in which Marcus Garvey he was born in. August. But more importantly, he created the Universal, Negro? Improvement Association also month of August so August is replete with billions slave revolts and formation of organizations that sought to liberate black people either US and or worldwide. Are we seeing this black August. More in recent years given particularly the racial justice uprising that we're seeing around the country after the death of George Floyd. Guess precisely, what we're seeing I think that it's because. Of the emphasis over the last six years since death of Michael Brown is emphasis on the injustice of the criminal justice system. This emphasis on police use of excessive and deadly force has also raised the question around black political prisoners, and so one of the things that's happened in that six year period is that there's been a number of high profile cases in which people have gotten their freedom they've been released in the charges have been proven false there has. been a situation in which these black political prisoners names have become much more popular, and all of these things have of combined to make black offers a much more relevant holiday than it had been previously. So there's kind of a would you say a perfect storm between this moment and black August what it represents from what it advocates Cindy Out Takeda Cha is a professor of African American Studies in History at the University of Illinois. Thanks for joining us. Thank you. Wildfires have been raging in California this past weekend. Nearly eight thousand people were told to evacuate parts of southern California where the massive apple fire was burning in the northern part of the state as in other spots in the American west dry winter and ongoing drought have may conditions for destructive fires, and now the coronavirus pandemic has made it even more challenging to train much-needed firefighters and has sidelined more than one thousand incarcerated firefighters because of potential exposure to the virus through outbreaks within the prison. System Danielle Vinton is here to talk to me about the situation in. California. She's a science reporter at Q. E. D. Danielle. Thanks for being with US Hello Tanzania. Daniel seems like the fire season is starting a little earlier this year. How does this compare to normal fire seasons? In California yeah you know I have some numbers for you from the beginning of this year. Until the start of August, our state fire agency CAL fire has responded to forty seven hundred fires and that's up from the same period of from the same period of time on a five-year average more than a thousand fires, the average would be about. Three thousand four hundred fires. So this is a very active fire year. Firefighting. Agencies have been very aggressive in attacking fires this year using a lot of air resources and really trying to keep fires small ten acres or less. So we have seen that the total number of acres burned this year is way down from the average number of acres. As the pandemic changed anything about health wildfires start, I mean generally speaking more people are staying home. So has that had an effect on on inciting fires at all? You know speaking with fire officials earlier this season there was a real hope that we would see fewer ignitions. Ninety percent of fires in the state are ignited by human activity and there was a hope that with people staying home more and driving less that we would see fewer admissions that has not played out the common causes of fires getting out of hand or things like debris burning or equipment malfunctions power lines malfunctioning campfire. All those even a personal vehicles igniting fires when they pull over on dry grass for example, all those sources of ignition are still happening. Let's talk a little bit about how preventing fires here what has the pandemic meant for a firefighter training in general, and then we can sort of look at at the incarcerated population that deals with this but generally, speaking has that been affected at all. Yeah I mean the the state agency CAL fire says it's ready. But it has really complicated, the pandemic has really complicated the preparations. This year trainings have had to work differently where normally would have a bunch of trainees together in a big classroom. Those trainings have had to be remote have had to be outside some training sessions have been canceled or delayed and then as you said, there have been less firefighters available than in typical years. And The incarcerated population in California is often used to fight fires. What is happening with that group of folks right now, we know that corona virus has affected certain prison populations across the country. So tell us how that all connects there in California? Yeah. Absolutely. Inmate firefighting crews are a really important part of California's firefighting force. They've they've been used in this state since world, war, two actually and and there are small but crucial crucial portion California employs about eleven thousand full-time in seasonal firefighters every year, and typically there are a few thousand inmate firefighters the because there have been such widespread intense problems with covid nineteen. In the prison system. The governor has released about eight thousand prisoners early to cut down on overcrowding in prisons, and there was also a covid nineteen outbreak in a fire camp last month, and so the numbers of incarcerated firefighters who conserve our down as of late last month. It was about seventy, eight hundred. Danielle we've talked about the complications of managing hurricane. Recovery relief in this moment of a pandemic I'm wondering you know when you're looking at people who are were evacuating in California because of the fires what is that look like during pandemic? Yes. So typically an agency like the Red Cross most commonly sets up if. Centers say in a gymnasium or large high school those are largely not being used even the one was set up in Riverside. County. For the apple fire it was effectively empty and was then closed. What is being prioritized is putting people into hotels because that is that is safer than a congregate evacuation center. Are. There I mean given that you just said hotels can't be cheaper free I imagine I mean are there extra enhances in terms of preparing given that that's the evacuation protocol show for Yeah. I mean it's it is definitely costing more the whole emergency response this year for fighting fires, more costs about the cost of the red. Cross about a hundred dollars a night to set a family up in a hotel. We also see many people stay with friends or with family but it yes, there will be. The. The true cost of responding to fires this year is still to be seen by be much more expensive than typical. Have the California government officials sort of taken the any lessons from these fires as we gear up for a more potential fires to come in the region. Yes well, the you know we've seen an active fire season so far but our worst fires in the state typically are most destructive fires typically come in September and October where you know tragically, we've seen thousands of homes and hundreds of lives lost in a single fire I think that there is an acknowledgement that Four responding to wildfires is complex and in a year and the needs. Of maintaining social distancing makes, things hugely more complex this year. We will be paying close attention as that season. really ramps up Daniel Yell. Vinton is a science reporter at K. Q. E. D., and California Danielle, thank you so much. Thank you. Okay everybody at other Thursday in the books we appreciate you being with us and so does our crew. Let's celebrate them this weekend. Our board operators are Clare, mckean, Debbie daughtry Vince, fairchild, the line producers. This week were Jackie, Martin, and Jake how it also directed and sound design shows Alexandra bootees our senior producer and her crew is Ethan Obermann. Wholesale Vodkas. Mc Dalton. Jason. Jakubowski and Lydia mcmullan layered and our incredible katharina Barton. Our intern who has one more day with us has been a fantastic addition to the show. She's got a seriously bright future ahead of her really going to miss her PAALEA, a room guru and Dina say our our digital editors David Gable is our executive assistant and Lee Hill is the executive producer of the takeaway. We've got some really nice numbers on the digital front from you. So thank you for Listening Amy Walter is in tomorrow and over the weekend I'm back on Monday with you as always. Thanks so much for listening I'm Tansy. Vega. This is the take.