More

This victim of a horrific acid attack nailed the problem in how we see terrorism.

Jameel Muhktar and Resham Khan were attacked with acid. They need our help.

Warning: This story contains graphic imagery from an acid attack.

Jameel Muhktar thought it was some sort of "practical joke" at first. But soon after the 37-year-old rolled down his car window in East London to greet the man who'd been knocking on the glass, he realized the stranger had far darker motives.

"He just squirted this clear liquid over us," Muhktar told Channel 4 News. Then, Muhktar's skin started to burn.


Muhktar had been doused with acid.

Photo via GoFundMe.

Resham Khan, Muhktar's younger cousin who'd been sitting next to him in the car, was also targeted.

Photo via GoFundMe.

Left with severe burns covering large areas of their bodies, Muhktar and Khan, who are both Muslim, needed emergency skin-grafting procedures to repair their overwhelmingly painful injuries.

"I'm devastated," Khan wrote in a tweet thread that's gone viral. "I keep wondering if my life will ever be the same."

The two had been celebrating Khan's 21st birthday the day they were attacked.

"We're innocent people," Muhktar told Channel 4. "We didn't deserve that. I've never seen this guy in my life."

The guy Muhktar spoke of is 24-year-old John Tomlin — the reported attacker, known to have ties to the far right.

Even though officials have said "there is no current information to suggest that this attack was racially or religiously motivated,” Tomlin's past comments certainly sows doubt. A Facebook page operated by Tomlin — currently a wanted man in the U.K. — contains posts linked to bigoted, nationalist rhetoric, The Independent reported.

“A sleeping lion can only be provoked so much before it wakes up and attacks," one post from 2015 reads. "And so will us British."

In his interview with Channel 4 News, Muhktar pointed out a sad reality: Why isn't his country reacting the same way it would if he'd been a white man attacked by a Muslim?

As Muhktar explained:

“It's definitely a hate crime. I believe it's something to do with Islamophobia. Maybe he's got it in for Muslims because of the things that have been going on lately. ... If this was an Asian guy like myself, going up to a couple in a car ... an English couple, and acid attacking them, I know for a fact and the whole country knows it would be straight-away classed as a terrorism attack."

Muhktar's comment points to a disturbing trend in the U.S. and Europe.

The way we view violence is heavily dependent on who's committing the crime. When a white person, motivated by hate, attacks a person (or people) of a different group, do we perceive it as a heinous act?

We tend not to — even though white, right-wing extremists have killed more people in the U.S. in recent years than jihadists have. We see those acts as crimes committed by "lone wolfs," though — people acting independently of any sort of hate-filled ideology. That's simply not the case.

As anti-Muslim attitudes and violence rise in the West, it's important we get our facts straight.

Fortunately, many people in the U.K. and around the world have been alarmed by Tomlin's acts of violence, and they have rallied behind Muhktar and Khan in their time of need.

Two separate GoFundMe pages have been set up — one for Mukhtar and one for Khan — so that supporters can help the two with mounting medical expenses.

"Although we have faith justice will be served once the criminal is caught, the scars Resham and Jameel will carry will last a life time," reads one of the pages.

Watch Muhktar's interview with Channel 4 News below:  

Courtesy of Elaine Ahn

True

The energy in a hospital can sometimes feel overwhelming, whether you’re experiencing it as a patient, visitor or employee. However, there are a few one-of-a-kind individuals like Elaine Ahn, an operating room registered nurse in Diamond Bar, California, who thrive under this type of constant pressure.

Keep Reading Show less

Prior to baby formula, breastfeeding was the norm, but that doesn't mean it always worked.

As if the past handful of years weren't challenging enough, the U.S. is currently dealing with a baby formula crisis.

Due to a perfect storm of supply chain issues, product recalls, labor shortages and inflation, manufacturers are struggling to keep up with formula demand and retailers are rationing supplies. As a result, families that rely on formula are scrambling to ensure that their babies get the food they need.

Naturally, people are weighing in on the crisis, with some throwing out simplistic advice like, "Why don't you just do what people did before baby formula was invented and just breastfeed?"

That might seem logical, unless you understand how breastfeeding works and know a bit about infant mortality throughout human history.

Keep Reading Show less
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.

via Pexels

Your cat knows you better than you think.

Cats are often seen as being aloof or standoffish, even with their owners. Of course, that differs based on who that cat lives with and their lifetime of experience with humans. But when compared to man’s best friend, cats usually seem less interested in those around them, regardless of species.

However, a new study out of Japan has found that cats may be paying more attention to their fellow felines and human friends than most people thought. In fact, they could be listening to human conversations.

"What we discovered is astonishing," Saho Takagi, a research fellow specializing in animal science at Azabu University in Kanagawa Prefecture, told The Asahi Shimbun. "I want people to know the truth. Felines do not appear to listen to people's conversations, but as a matter of fact, they do."

How do we know they’re listening? Because the study shows that household cats often know the names of their human and feline friends.

Keep Reading Show less
via Pexels

If you know how to fix this tape, you grew up in the 1990s.

There are a lot of reasons to feel a twinge of nostalgia for the final days of the 20th century. Rampant inflation, a global pandemic and political unrest have created a sense of uneasiness about the future that has everyone feeling a bit down.

There’s also a feeling that the current state of pop culture is lacking as well. Nobody listens to new music anymore and unless you’re into superheroes, it seems like creativity is seriously missing from the silver screen.

But, you gotta admit, that TV is still pretty damn good.

A lot of folks feel Americans have become a lot harsher to one another due to political divides, which seem to be widening by the day due to the power of the internet and partisan media.

Keep Reading Show less