National Suicide Prevention Day

Today is National Suicide Prevention Day, so I wanted to post some resources about that.

First, here’s the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255.

Of course, it’s not the only helpline out there. Here’s a pretty comprehensive list of helplines for depression, domestic abuse, alcohol and drug abuse, pregnancy, self-harm, etc.

If you’d like to help someone you know through social media, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides links to various safety teams at social media sites.

Maple Diseases

I was listening to an older episode (15 Oct) of Votre Jardin, which is a radio show on the French station RMC. The show is available as a podcast. They were talking about a fungal disease of maple trees that also causes respiratory problems in people, especially people who work with wood and trees and people in Canada. I had never really thought of plant diseases as having such effects on people.

I also find it interesting that “champignon” can refer to any type of fungus. I have to say, listening to French Radio has definitely taught me some interesting new words, often ones that I can’t imagine would come up in a class.

Maple Leaf from Montreal Botanical Garden
Maple Leaf from Montreal Botanical Garden

On Menstruation and Charities

I know it’s probably unlikely, but for those of you with some extra funds kicking around, New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof has some charitable suggestions.

This year, I decided to give away some found money. Some of it went to Philabundance, and another portion went to City Kitties. Both are organizations that serve the Philadelphia area. The last portion went to one of Kristof’s susggestions: Sustainable Health Enterprises or SHE.

SHE’s goal is to provide low cost menstrual pads to girls in developing countries in an attempt to keep them in school. Apparently, many girls miss school during their periods because of inadequate menstrual supplies. I chose this program over the one Lunapads is associated with because—while I like the Lunapads products—SHE pointed out that the absence of clean water and soap is often a problem in the developing world. The lack of clean water makes reusable pads or menstrual cups a potential source of infection.

As at least one study has pointed out though, providing girls with menstrual supplies may not be enough to keep them in school. The comments on Kristof’s blog post about the article provide some hypotheses as to why.

Despite this study, I’ve chosen to donate to SHE because I think it’s important to talk about and to reduce the stigma surrounding menstruation.