Dozens of demonstrators gathered outside California's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on Aug. 9, 2017.

The facility is used for nuclear weapons research.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.


The very same August day 72 years ago, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan.

The blast came just three days after the U.S. dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.

Once a bustling city, Nagasaki was transformed into rubble and ash. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

The victims of the two attacks, which prompted the bloody and devastating end of World War II, still live in the memories of the protesters in Livermore.

“We are here to stand with the survivors of that nuclear attack, but we are also here to stop the next nuclear war before it starts,” demonstrator Marylia Kelley told SF Gate.

[rebelmouse-image 19530457 dam="1" original_size="750x500" caption="Demonstrators stage a "die-in" to remind the public of the lives lost in nuclear warfare. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images." expand=1]Demonstrators stage a "die-in" to remind the public of the lives lost in nuclear warfare. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

More than seven decades have passed since the first use of nuclear warfare forever changed our world.

The protesters' message is simple: The horrific consequences of those weapons should never be forgotten.

The blast in Nagasaki, seen from about six miles away. Photo by Hiromichi Matsuda/Handout from Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum/Getty Images.

Estimates vary, but it's generally believed that at least 150,000 people in Hiroshima and 75,000 people in Nagasaki were killed in the blasts.

Those figures don't count the thousands more who died of illnesses related to radiation exposure in the months and years that followed.

A Japanese victim of the atomic explosion in Nagasaki. Photo courtesy of National Archives/Newsmakers.

Beyond the cost of human life, the physical destruction of both cities was unprecedented.

About 92% of Hiroshima's structures were either destroyed or damaged in the blast, according to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Bustling metropolitan areas became decimated wastelands.

The aftermath of the atomic attack on Nagasaki. Photo by AFP/Getty Images.

The black-and-white photos may be relics, but their stories — and the lessons we should learn from them — are just as relevant as ever.

The 72-year mark of the attack on Nagasaki comes amid rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un. Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images.

North Korea's growing nuclear weapons program has sparked renewed fears among its neighbors and leaders in Washington that the country poses a threat to its East Asian adversaries — and potentially the U.S.

On Aug. 11, President Trump needlessly escalated tensions when he tweeted that the U.S. military is "locked and loaded" for battle against North Korea.

The tweet came days after he warned North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, that if the country continues making further threats against the U.S., "they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen."

Trump's provocative language did nothing to calm tensions, of course. Kim quickly answered the president's threat with a threat of his own: a missile attack on the U.S. territory of Guam.

The contentious situation gave protesters at the Livermore lab a renewed sense of urgency to speak out boldly against the use of nuclear weapons.

“Trump’s statements are pushing us closer to the brink of a nuclear war,” said demonstrator Scott Yundt. The protest at Livermore is an annual event that Yundt has been attending for 12 years. But this year, he told SF Gate, feels different.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

“There’s a palpable and particular fear we are all feeling today," Yundt noted. "Conflict with North Korea and the United States is possible."

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

"I worry our president will press the nuclear button without the consent of the American people," Yundt said.

That's a big reason why demonstrators took to the streets this week.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

According to police, 48 demonstrators were arrested for trespassing during the peaceful protest, Patch reported. They were issued citations and released.

The anxieties exhibited by demonstrators are ones shared by many Americans as a bombastic, short-tempered president leads an administration with no unified strategy on smoothing an incredibly complex situation with North Korea.

"Just thinking about it despairs me," said demonstrator Barbara Milazzo.

Photo courtesy of the National Archives/Newsmakers.

Still, Americans shouldn't feel as though war is imminent.

The situation is a serious one, experts have near-unanimously concluded. But judging by a multitude of factors — including the messaging coming out of North Korea and the country's current capabilities — we're not on the brink of war (yet).

It still helps, however, to remember those lost 72 years ago and let their memories inspire us to speak up for peace as loudly as we can.

“This is the most we can do,” Milazzo noted. “We are using our voices to protest."

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