It's become a bit of a joke that things are actually getting kind of predictable at this point in the Trump presidency — at least when it comes to Fridays.

On the first Friday after taking office, Donald Trump announced new restrictions on travel from seven majority-Muslim countries. On Friday, April 14, the White House announced plans to keep its visitor logs secret. On Friday, Aug. 25, Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio, the notorious former sheriff of Arizona's Maricopa County, and made his plans to ban transgender people from serving in the military official. Now, on a Friday going into a long Labor Day weekend, rumors are swirling that Trump may put an end to to President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

To be sure, the "Friday news dump" long predates the Trump White House. Still, it's remarkable how much truly concerning news has been packed into a single day of the week during the president's first months in office.


¯\\_(ツ)_/¯. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images.

Knowing that bad news is always just around the corner on Fridays, the National Center for Transgender Equality did something genius to save themselves some time at the end of the week.

They turned their statement of condemnation into a Mad Libs-style form letter, that allows whoever receives it to quickly fill in the blanks and generate a pre-emptive response to the president's latest announcement.

NCTE titled the press release: "Ahead of Labor Day Weekend, NCTE issues a Blanket Condemnation of the Inevitably Divisive (Remarks / Release / Statement / Tweet / Policy) issued by Pres. Trump Regarding (Race / Women / Transgender people / Immigrants / Muslims)."

"Citing the Trump Administration’s strategy of releasing major — and often offensive — policy decisions/directives late on Friday evenings, the Washington, DC-based National Center for Transgender Equality has released a blanket condemnation of whatever the President does in this area, when he should be working on disaster relief for people who really need government attention, ahead of Labor Day weekend," it reads before quoting executive director Mara Keisling:

“Whether releasing major guidance to purge transgender service members, pardoning a notorious racist and civil rights violator or the tacit endorsement of Nazism in America, NCTE wants to get ahead of the White House for yet another pre-weekend news dump that will likely hurt good people. To be clear, we truly hope the President focuses on emergency relief in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and other pressing issues affecting the lives of millions of Americans.

By condemning the President’s inevitably divisive rhetoric/action in advance, however, we hope to provide a sobering counterpoint to this Administration’s discriminatory agenda and prevent their actions from being buried among this weekend’s news coverage.

By releasing this unorthodox statement sufficiently ahead of the weekend, news outlets won’t need to scramble to find expert commentary and guests to respond to the latest, outrageous tweet/statement/directive from the White House this weekend. The news media should know that whichever mean-spirited, and no doubt poisonous, plan/move the President announces/enacts this weekend, odds are high that NCTE and most Americans will be against it.”



Yes, the release is a bit troll-y, but NCTE hopes people will see past that to the larger issues at play.

The group, which when contacted by e-mail, claims to have "led or participated in 165 victories over the past decade," uses a variety of tools in fighting for the broader goal of equality for trans people and those at the intersection of marginalized groups.

"We wanted to call out the Administration’s pattern for what it is, and to shed light on this practice (which, if we’re being honest, has been used by many Administrations)," Keisling said in an e-mail. "But also to stir the news media not to fall for such an obvious ploy week after week. The spectacle isn’t the story, it’s the impact of such policies."

Mara Keisling speaks during a June rally for transgender equality on Capitol Hill. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

There's also a (perhaps unintentional) message that can be gleaned from this statement about the importance of not becoming desensitized to presidential chaos.

In the administration's early days, reminders that "this is not normal" and pleas against "normalizing" Trump spread far and wide. With so many important issues at stake, ranging from personal freedoms all the way to the future of the planet, it's easy to hit a point where you're burned out from being constantly engaged in activism. Burn out is a path to desensitization.

Believe it or not, there are still people who think that Trump is an LGBTQ ally because of the one time he held a flag (upside down) at a rally, ignoring his destructive policies. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

The truth is that we all need breaks, even the superheroes out there trying to save the world. Earlier this year, psychologist Alessandra Pigni published a guide to the "ABCs" of burnout prevention that's definitely worth a read. So rest up, relax, and recharge this weekend if you're able to. The battles are long, and it's in everyone's best interest to take the occasional breather.

So whatever "inevitably divisive (remarks / release / statement / tweet / policy)" Trump issues over this weekend or any, make note of it, but remember to take care of yourself as well.

Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

True

Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

TikTok about '80s childhood is a total Gen X flashback.

As a Gen X parent, it's weird to try to describe my childhood to my kids. We're the generation that didn't grow up with the internet or cell phones, yet are raising kids who have never known a world without them. That difference alone is enough to make our 1980s childhoods feel like a completely different planet, but there are other differences too that often get overlooked.

How do you explain the transition from the brown and orange aesthetic of the '70s to the dusty rose and forest green carpeting of the '80s if you didn't experience it? When I tell my kids there were smoking sections in restaurants and airplanes and ashtrays everywhere, they look horrified (and rightfully so—what were we thinking?!). The fact that we went places with our friends with no quick way to get ahold of our parents? Unbelievable.

One day I described the process of listening to the radio, waiting for my favorite song to come on so I could record it on my tape recorder, and how mad I would get when the deejay talked through the intro of the song until the lyrics started. My Spotify-spoiled kids didn't even understand half of the words I said.

And '80s hair? With the feathered bangs and the terrible perms and the crunchy hair spray? What, why and how?

Keep Reading Show less
Pets

Ginger the dog reunited with family 5 years after being stolen

Ginger's family never gave up hope, and it payed off.

Ginger the dog was missing for five years before being reunited with her family.

A sweet pup is finally home with her family where she belongs after way too many years away.

Ginger the dog was stolen from her family back in 2017. Her owner, Barney Lattimore of Janesville, Wisconsin, never gave up the hope that his sweet girl was out there somewhere. Whenever he'd see a dog listed on a rescue website or humane society website that even remotely resembled his Ginger, he would inquire about the dog. Unfortunately, it was never her. You'd think that after a while he would stop, but if he had, he likely wouldn't have gotten the sweetest reunion.

Keep Reading Show less

"Veteran" mom and "new" mom parent differently.

When a couple has their first child, they start out with the greatest of intentions and expectations. The child will only eat organic food. They will never watch TV or have screen time and will always stay clean.

But soon, reality sets in and if they have more kids, they'll probably be raised with a lot less attention. As a result, first-born kids turn out a bit differently than their younger siblings.

"Rules are a bit more rigid, attention and validation is directed and somewhat excessive," Niro Feliciano, LCSW, a psychotherapist and anxiety specialist, told Parents. "As a result, firstborns tend to be leaders, high achievers, people-pleasing, rule-following and conscientious, several of the qualities that tend to predict success."

Keep Reading Show less