Apple should address youth phone addiction, say two large investors

Customers arrive to purchase an iPhone X at an Apple store in New York, U.S., November 3, 2017.

By Elizabeth Dilts

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Apple Inc shareholders Jana Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System are urging the smartphone maker to take steps to address what they say is a growing problem of young people getting addicted to Apple’s iPhones, Jana partner Charles Penner said.

Jana, a leading activist shareholder, and CalSTRS, one of the nation’s largest public pension plans, delivered a letter to Apple on Saturday asking the company to consider developing software that would allow parents to limit children’s phone use, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Sunday.

Jana and CalSTRS also asked Apple to study the impact of excessive phone use on mental health, according to the publication.

CalSTRS and Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Jana and CalSTRS together control about $2 billion worth of Apple shares, the Journal reports.

The social rights issue is a new turn for Jana, which is known for pushing companies it invests in to make financial changes.

However, the issue of phone addiction among young people has become a growing concern in the United States as parents report their children cannot give up their phones. CalSTRS and Jana worry that Apple’s reputation and stock could be hurt if it does not address those concerns, according to the Journal.

Half of teenagers in the United States feel like they are addicted to their mobile phones and report feeling pressure to immediately respond to phone messages, according to a 2016 survey of children and their parents by Common Sense Media.

The phone addiction issue got a high-profile boost from the former Disney child star Selena Gomez, 24, who said she canceled a 2016 world tour to go to therapy for depression and low self-esteem, feelings she linked to her addiction to social media and the mobile photo-sharing app Instagram.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Dilts; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Chicago police department struggles with officer suicide

Ark Maciaszek poses with a photo of his cousin, former Chicago police officer and suicide victim Scott Tracz, at his home in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. May 2, 2017. Picture taken May 2, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Lott

By Timothy Mclaughlin

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Rookie Chicago police officer Scott Tracz sat in a black sports car outside his girlfriend’s suburban house late last year, put his gun to his head and fatally shot himself.

The normally upbeat Tracz, 30, had become withdrawn and sullen, struggling with the violence he witnessed as an officer but rejecting advice from friends and family to seek help, fearing it would end his career, relatives said.

“He said, ‘I will lose my job,'” his cousin, Ark Maciaszek, said. “Just like that.”

Tracz is believed to be the latest contributor to the Chicago Police Department’s suicide rate, which stands 60 percent higher than the national average according to a recent U.S. Department of Justice report.

Critics say the problem has been exacerbated by a lack of mental health resources. Chicago officials said they are working to improve their mental health services.

The pressure on Chicago’s police officers has intensified as the city has dealt with a surge in murders and increased scrutiny around tactics following the 2015 release of video showing the shooting death of black teenager Laquan McDonald by a white officer.

In 2016, the number of murders in the city jumped nearly 60 percent to over 760, more than New York and Los Angeles combined. There were more than 4,300 shooting victims in the city last year, according to police.

The McDonald video sparked outrage and thrust Chicago into the nationwide debate over police use of force. The subsequent Justice Department report in January found Chicago police routinely violated civil rights, and also cited suicide as a “significant problem” for the city’s officers.

“Chicago is a war zone,” said Alexa James, the executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Chicago. “They (officers) are seeing the worst day of everybody’s life every day.”

Chicago police’s suicide rate was 29.4 per 100,000 department members between 2013 and 2015, the report said, citing police union figures. The department disagreed in the report, putting the rate at 22.7 suicides per 100,000 members. Both estimates were higher than the national average of 18.1 law enforcement suicides per 100,000.


While each case contributing to Chicago’s suicide rate is different, interviews with mental health professionals and legal experts, as well as current and former officers, reveal deep-rooted stigma for those seeking help from its Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Some officers believe that seeking counseling will result in the loss of their Firearm Owner Identification Card, a requirement to carry a firearm under state law, according to current and former officers, as well as health officials. That view is mistaken, say Justice Department officials.

Still, “If someone thinks I have talked to EAP they think I’m unstable, so I’m not going to call,” said one veteran officer, who asked not to be identified.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in February the department’s past approach to mental health was wrong. In a report issued in March, the department said it would review mental wellness support services.

“Law enforcement historically has been seen as a very macho profession,” Johnson said at a public forum about police reform. “To say you needed help was seen as a sign of weakness and we were wrong for looking at it that way, we were simply wrong.”

Tracz had long dreamed of becoming a police officer to help others. But working in the violence-stricken Chicago Lawn district, he came face to face with the city’s violent crime. The area accounted for 58 of the city’s more than 760 murders last year, as well as 228 shootings.

“He would say, ‘You can never imagine what the human race is capable of doing,’ then he would just put his head down,” said his cousin Maciaszek, 46. Tracz’s relationship with his long-time girlfriend also grew strained as he became more irritable and angry, Maciaszek said.

Even if officers like Tracz had sought help they would have found the department’s resources strained. Three clinicians serve roughly 12,500 sworn officers and also their families, providing nearly 7,500 consultations in 2015, the Department of Justice said in its report.

The program is hiring another psychologist, as well as another drug and alcohol counselor, Robert Sobo, the department director of counseling services, said in an interview. In addition, the unit has four officers who serve as substance abuse counselors and a peer support network, he said.

But this would still leave the department lagging other major police cities of similar size. For example, Los Angeles Police has 14 trained psychologists and plans to hire two more for fewer than 10,000 sworn officers.

“Suicide is killing officers, alcohol is killing officers, at a far greater rate than ambushes, but there is not the same sense of urgency around this issue,” said Christy Lopez, a former Justice Department official who led the Chicago federal probe.

(Editing by Ben Klayman and Matthew Lewis)

Deception Leads to Depression

You know, it’s fairly easy to follow the “deception leads to depression” truth. There are many false teachings that have lead people astray and when they find out that what they have been taught just DOES NOT WORK, they are devastated.

Take, for example, the false prosperity teachings. Jim calls them “love of money” teachings. Most of these are based on a formula of sowing and reaping, e.g. sowing money equals reaping money. But this teaching has been taken so out of context and when people eventually find out that their giving should not be tied to monetary gain, they are often angry at first, and then depressed. Why? Because they have been schooled in the teaching that if they give money, they will reap money…. And not just what they have sowed, but a 30, 60 or 100 fold return! Do you think there’s a little greed in there!? Continue reading

Abortion can lead to depression, guilt, drug abuse, suicide: top Mexican newspaper

“Sadness, depression, fear of sterility, guilt,” drug abuse and suicide are just some of the effects suffered by women who have abortions in Mexico City, according to the country’s most eminent newspaper, El Universal. The newspaper ran an article openly acknowledging the psychological trauma associated with abortion on January 21. Continue reading

The Answer to Depression

One of the words the Lord gave to Jim for 2012 is “depression.”  There are so many people depressed in today’s world and the world doesn’t have the answers, only God does.  When you look at the way the world is going, it’s hard not to be depressed.  The economy is in turmoil, the governments of the world are fighting each other, everywhere you turn there is confusion… just like Jim says.

People run to and fro trying to get relief from depression.  They run to doctors (and sometimes doctors can help), they run to psychiatrists (some of those can help as well), and then  sometimes people run to anything else that will give even temporary relief like sex, drugs or partying.  The trouble with the latter is that it just compounds the problem of depression.

So, what are we to do about depression?  How are we, as Christians, supposed to deal with it when we are attacked in our minds with depressive thoughts?

Depression is a complicated issue with many root causes. I’m not going to try to deal with all of the reasons people may feel depressed because there is a wide range of issues that may contribute.  But, instead, I’m going to share with you what worked for me and many others.

There is one sure way to lessen, or completely get rid of depression that is so simple, it’s hard to receive.  Depressive issues often focus internally:  what are they saying about ME, why did this happen to ME, how will this affect ME, when am I ever going to be happy, when will I ever be loved like I want to be loved, how can I pay my bills… ME, ME, ME, I, I, I!

Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive.  When you give to others, you often find your focus is taken off of you and your problems, and your healing begins.

You want to get rid of depression?  Try finding someone to HELP!  Try giving away what YOU need!  Lend a hand, give a hug, encourage someone!  Volunteer at your church, babysit for someone, read the Bible to someone who can’t read or can’t see… FIND SOMEONE TO HELP!

As you get out of yourself and reach out to help others, your depression will ease and you will begin to understand a great mystery – that it is more blessed to give than to receive!