Keith Leahey, the executive director for the Mental Health Association of the Southern Tier, says this could be a positive step to stop suicide rates from increasing. The FCC says the new number would automatically direct callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. BINGHAMTON (WBNG) – A new proposal from the Federal Communications Commission is designating “988” to be the national hotline for mental health crisis and suicide prevention. “Anytime that we can make it easier for folks to seek help during difficult times. It’s going to just increase individuals ability to get help,” said Leahey. “Not everyone is aware of the 1-800-273-TALK number. It’s maybe a difficult number for people to remember when they are in distress. So you know a number such as 988 you know is going to make an enormous difference.” “There’s still a lot of shame that’s attached to mental health conditions. It’s a hidden disability many times… We are seeing signs as well that we are really coming to be more accepting and open about talking about mental health conditions,” said Leahey. “There’s a huge need that’s out there for people to just connect and feel supported.” Leahy believes the number is not only easier to remember, but he says having an emergency number for mental health can also help reduce stigmas. The 988 number isn’t fully functional just yet. The next step is a comment period for how the FCC will implement the new number and deciding the time frame for when it will be in operation.
Mike Leavitt, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), led the investigation and presented the report to the president on Sep 10. In a letter that accompanied the report, Leavitt wrote that the United States must shift from a “snapshot” approach of stopping unsafe products at the border to a “video” model that identifies critical points in an imported product’s life cycle. Because state and federal agencies don’t use integrated information-sharing systems, crucial information on imports is sometimes missed, the report says. For example, the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) import inspection data system is not connected to the system used by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Jun 28 CIDRAP News story “Drugs in Chinese seafood trigger FDA import ban” Sep 12, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – A cabinet-level working group assigned by President Bush in July to explore import safety issues issued its initial report recently, suggesting a risk-based monitoring strategy and calling on government agencies to use technology to improve collaboration on import-related activities. Bush’s actions were prompted by several recent product safety problems that surfaced over the summer and involved Chinese imports. Food-related incidents involved melamine-contaminated wheat gluten that was used in animal and fish feed, and seafood that contained residues of unauthorized veterinary drugs. See also: Another challenge that government officials need to address is companies and individuals that circumvent US restrictions on certain imports. For example, the working group found that in 2006 CBP intercepted 45 containers of chicken, chicken parts, and other meat products that were smuggled into the country as frozen seafood. Leavitt said in his letter that over the next several weeks the working group will gather comments and recommendations from the public. In mid November the group will follow up with an action plan that will contain several short- and long-term recommendations. “Such a risk-based, prevention-focused model will help ensure that safety is built into products before they reach our borders,” Leavitt wrote. “This lack of connectivity between CBP and USDA systems has created the possibility, which is now being addressed, for imported products to enter domestic commerce without being inspected in accordance with federal requirements,” the report states. Jul 20 CIDRAP News story “FAO, WHO urge vigilance in light of recent food scares”
The financially troubled shipyard Uljanik could cost the Croatian government up to 1% of its gross domestic product, according to a report by Standard & Poor’s ratings agency.“Although we believe that contingent fiscal risks are contained, some state guarantees could be activated and fall on the government’s balance sheet,” S&P said.“In particular, the resolution of the troubled Uljanik shipyard, which is currently in search of a strategic investor and could otherwise face bankruptcy, could cost the government up to 1% of GDP. The precise cost however depends on the final scenario, and the possible finalization of ships under construction.”The rating report comes only days after Croatian shipbuilder Uljanik Group revealed its intention to sell 3. Maj shipyard in an effort to raise the much-needed funds.However, the group informed that there are currently no legal procedures underway for the spin off of the shipyard, as the struggling company continues its search for much needed funds.Uljanik added that no formal steps would be made on the matter until the restructuring program for Uljanik Shipyard is adopted.The company was forced to restructure amid a downturn in the global shipbuilding industry coupled with rising competition on the Asian continent.World Maritime News Staff