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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

June 9, 2016
Dark Side

Find it on SantaCruzParent.com: Resources

Christine: Painkillers May Prolong Pain

Re-thinking Mental Health

Santa Cruz Police: P.R.I.D.E.

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  Dark Side

(A June) PainScale.jpgHow are drugs, pain, mental health and police related to us as parents, to our families? Why would those of us with the joy and responsibility of raising children -from babies to young adults- amidst the comparatively easy, daily practices of choosing good foods, best educational options, quality summer camp experiences et.al., need to be aware of darker sides of life?

Many in our community work devotedly to help others choose positive paths. I've always been impressed with our police communication and outreach, our educators and many thoughtful citizens.

Read about mental health in an article about Ami Chen, about a positive police program for middle schoolers, and Christine's summary on opioids and pain. You will be impressed also.

I have a friend who lives with pain from an old broken back injury which becomes exacerbated by his occupation, fiddle player.  He will not take any pharmaceuticals, not even an aspirin or other over-the-counter painkillers, but instead gets relief from yoga, meditation, walking and some natural remedies.  Some of you may also have chronic pain and are faced with choices of how to alleviate it.  Christine has found some research that may lead to better options. 

These are topics for discussion with older children because prescription opioids are too available beyond the safety of family environment. How are we preparing our children for possible encounters with the dark side of life?

(A Buttons) Button_Weekend.jpgPlease recommend our newsletter to new friends so they won't miss a few tidbits of wisdom from our author contributors, and as always our many fun events! We cannot fit them all into this newsletter.  There are more on the online calendar.

Have a thoughtful weekend with the family! Parmalee

 

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  Find it on SantaCruzParent.com: Resources

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  Christine: Painkillers May Prolong Pain

(A June) pain_neck.jpgPain killers have been all over the news recently. Doctors have recognized there are many people who are addicted to various types of pain killers, and overdoses occur.

Now a new study may throw another monkey wrench into the middle of the pain medicine mess. A study from CU-Boulder has shown that taking narcotic painkillers (like morphine) for multiple days prolongs pain in mice.

Just 5 days of morphine treatment caused months of chronic pain. Apparently morphine triggered the release of pain signals from immune cells in the spinal cord.

When an injury happened, a signal was sent to spinal cord immune cells. These glial cells normally clear out debris and microorganisms. When they receive a pain signal, they go into "alert" mode and wait for the next signal. Five days of morphine confused the glial cells which switched into overdrive and continued to send out pain signals for months. In some cases the immune cells caused spinal cord inflammation.

Something positive was discovered in the midst of the bad news. The researchers found a way to block some of the glial cell receptors that recognize opioids. They used a new technique called DREADD (Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs). So it may be possible to take pain medicine without prolonging pain.

Why isn't this study all over the front pages of every news site? This is a very important study in many ways. First of all, it gave some very good information about the source of chronic pain (glial cell over-reaction). Secondly, it showed that common pain-killers may be the cause of at least some chronic pain. And finally it gave a possible path out. 

Pain killers should always be used in moderation. However, in the near term, it seems best that they only should be used sporadically. Our bodies evolved to deal with pain. We have mechanisms that allow pain to be moderated. Maybe we should rely more on natural mechanisms. I have had two knee surgeries, and I always stopped pain medicine early. Now, I'm really glad I did.


https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160530153252.htm

http://www.colorado.edu/news/news/multimedia/narcotic-painkillers-prolong-pain-cu-boulder-study-finds

Christine Cockey is a local mom and scientist who researches what's happening in the world of science and makes science easier to understand.  Keep up with her latest articles at http://mistralmtn.blogspot.com/

 

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  Re-thinking Mental Health

Ami Chen Mills-Naim on a psycho-spiritual approach to mental well-being

 

By Maria Grusauskas

Once, a friend lured me into talking about a particularly venomous fight my parents had when I was 10, just to prove a point: In less than a minute, I was distressed, and my pulse rate, (which she'd measured before and after this sojourn into childhood imbroglio), had quickened.

I'd heard before that thoughts affect us both physically and emotionally-and scientific research into this connection has turned up fascinating findings-but it was the first time I really got it.

(AA Mar 16) AmiChen_Outdoors.jpgTo what extent do our thoughts influence our mood, decisions, and ultimately, our life path? For Ami Chen Mills-Naim, a local author and wellness coach, the answer is a key component to our mental and spiritual well-being.

In the late '90s, around the time that Prozac was making its grand debut on the market, Mills-Naim, who was working as a journalist at the time, began to investigate the Western biomedical explanation of depression as a disease caused by brain chemistry imbalances.

"When I did the research, I found that there's this huge placebo effect with antidepressants," says Mills-Naim. "And I thought, what is happening here?" Indeed, a 2015 study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that the placebo effect accounts for 30-45 percent of response to antidepressants.

"I discovered this thing called neuroplasticity -this was in 1996- and I started writing about: maybe the brain can change in the other direction, and if we change our thinking, or through this free will we have, or the human spirit, maybe we could change our brain chemistry so that we are not depressed," says Mills-Naim.

It's hard to imagine this well-put-together woman with the contagious laugh in a bad mood, much less depressed or hopeless, but she is no stranger to the darkness of her own mind. An estimated one in five Americans lives with mental illness each year, and for Mills-Naim, the darkest hour came in the fall of 1991, with an advanced chronic depression.

"No longer was the universe a loving, benign universe. Dark pits pocked it, living hells one could fall into for no good reason ... If before I was embraced by the universe, now I merely existed in it for no reason. Life had lost its meaning," writes Mills-Naim in a 1997 Metro article "Club Meds"-a thorough investigation of depression and the rise of SSRIs in America.

It's been more than 20 years since Mills-Naim has returned to that suffering, and she credits a spiritual insight with her recovery.

It's not that Naim-Mills is against antidepressant medication: "There are meds that are helping people. So when I have a client who wants to take meds, I say to them, take the meds, at least it's nice to know that it's there. Because depression is catastrophic," she says. But Naim-Mills has devoted herself to empowering sufferers with another tool.

Conceived by a welder named Sydney Banks who had a profound insight in the '70s, and gathering momentum over the past few decades, the Three Principles acknowledge the essential role of thoughts in human existence and suffering, along with consciousness and mind; or an innate intelligence that is larger than us.

"When you have a thought, you have an emotion," says Mills-Naim. "My father used to say that the strength of our emotions can be tricky, because then we think that our thought content is real, or true, that we're justified."

Mills-Naim's father is the late Dr. Roger Mills, a community psychologist who became friends with Banks in the '70s and pioneered the application of Three Principles-based community projects-under the then-title of "Health Realization"-in challenging settings, including police departments, prisons, mental health clinics, drug rehabilitation programs, schools and low-income housing developments in Miami, with profound results. Mills-Naim was right there beside him, founding the Center for Sustainable Change with her father in 2004, which she ran for 10 years, and which brought the psychology to schools and communities across the U.S.

"We're not talking about thought content, which is very psychological and individual and personal, we're talking about the function of thought, which is a formless power that we all share," says Mills-Naim. "We're speaking of thought as a formless energy, or capacity, that is spiritual."

For Mills-Naim, it was the very absence of the spiritual in modern treatment of depression-SSRI's and psychotherapy that often fixates on the past-that prompted her efforts to share principles-based tools to change our brain chemistry. "It may take time, but certainly that must be a possibility," she says. "I myself had overcome depression, and now I see that many, many people have."

Ami Chen Mills-Naim is an author, family and personal coach and teacher, with a focus on innate wellness and resiliency.  She teaches a monthly drop-in class in Santa Cruz (next classes are June 11, July 9 & Aug. 13) and leads events globally. Please see www.AmiChen.com and "Events" for details.

 

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  Santa Cruz Police: P.R.I.D.E.

(A June) PolicePRIDE.jpgLast week, Santa Cruz Police Department celebrated the successful graduation of 21 youths from the P.R.I.D.E . program. This marks the 9th graduating class for P.R.I.D.E, PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT IN ETHICS

Working in conjunction with Santa Cruz City Schools and the County Office of Education, the program is a multi-faceted approach to support local intermediate school-aged kids. The PRIDE program is a prevention and intervention course for middle school youth between the ages of 12 and 15, designed to help students understand how their current life choices impact their future.

Participants are given the opportunity to reflect upon the direction of their lives and the consequences of their choices. The program is voluntary and free of charge, and its activities include guest speakers, mentors connections, parental involvement and recreational outings to help participants make decisions that lead to healthy and productive lives.
Sessions are held in the afternoons every Wednesday, with additional weekend field trips.

The improved 2016 session of PRIDE concluded on June 1st and expanded from 11 weeks of activities to a school year-long program. Additionally, the number of participants doubled from 10 students to 21. The program was further upgraded with the valuable addition of 15 mentors who are currently enrolled in undergraduate studies at UCSC.

Congratulations 2016 P.R.I.D.E. Graduates! Thank you P.R.I.D.E. mentors and community businesses for supporting our youth.

If you'd like to learn more about the program or become a mentor, visit our department's website or contact Community Services at (831) 420-5952. Santa Cruz Police Blog

 

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Cybersecurity
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  Cybersecurity
Libraries
Date: Every Mon, Wed and Th (Oct 3-Oct 26)
Details: Join a Library IT expert in one of several cybersecurity workshops designed to help you connect online safely.
City: Santa Cruz County view all details >>
     
Second Saturdays for Mind & Spirit
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  Second Saturdays for Mind & Spirit
Ami Chen Mills
Date: 06/11/2016 from 1:30pm to 3:30pm
Ages: adults
Details: Learn simple, psycho-spiritual principles that cross boundaries of spiritual teachings and religions, while deepening our unders
Special Instructions: Spirituality and Family, Parenting, Life!
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
     
Juneteenth Celebration
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  Juneteenth Celebration
City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation
Date: 06/11/2016 from 12:00pm to 5:00pm
Ages: all
Details: Juneteenth Celebration with SambaDa, Kev Choice, The Joint Chiefs, Tammi Brown, Rich Tycoon, Monterey Peninsula Gospel Choir...
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 420-6177 view all details >>
     
Beyond Family
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  Beyond Family
Date:
view all details >>
     
Sketch Your Song Workshop
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  Sketch Your Song Workshop
New Museum
Date: 06/11/2016 from 11:00am to 2:00pm
Ages: 7-10
Details: Saturday, June 11 | 11am - 2pm | Ages 7 - 10 (Grades 2-5) |
City: Los Gatos Phone: 408.354.2646 view all details >>
     
Wednesday Night Twilight Concerts
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  Wednesday Night Twilight Concerts
Capitola Village
Date: Every Wed from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Details: Twilight Concerts serves up live music on the beach on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. Bring a blanket or chair and relax.
City: Capitola Village view all details >>
     
National Get Outdoors Day
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  National Get Outdoors Day
Forest Service
Date: 06/11/2016
Details: In an era of social media mania, forests around the country are opening their doors to reacquaint kids and parents with good old
view all details >>
     
Sunday Seaside Crafts
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  Sunday Seaside Crafts
Seymour Marine Discovery Center (at Long Marine Lab)
Date: Every Su from 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Ages: Kids and up
Details: Join us with your small fry every Sunday for hands-on fun!
Special Instructions: We are located at the end of Delaware Avenue.
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 459-3800 view all details >>
     
FREE Heritage Events
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  FREE Heritage Events
Roaring Camp Railroad
Date: Every day (Jun 6-Sep 2)
Details: Free Heritage Events all summer long! Take part in living history with activities for all ages including the old town printing
City: Felton Phone: (831) 335-4484 view all details >>
     
Beyond Family
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  Beyond Family
Date:
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All Together Now Playgroup for 9-30 months
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  All Together Now Playgroup for 9-30 months
Positive Discipline Community Resources
Date: Every Wed from 9:00am to 11:00am
Ages: 9 to 30 months
Details: Transform Lives through Respectful Relationships!
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 476-7284 view all details >>
     
Picnic in the Park: Unexpected Connections
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  Picnic in the Park: Unexpected Connections
State Park Castro Adobe
Date: 11/19/2016 from 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Details: Tour the property including the recently restored cocina (kitchen) and the Potter-Church Garden
Special Instructions: Old Adobe Road, off of Larkin Valley Road
City: Watsonville Phone: 831-335-6318 view all details >>
     
Beyond Family
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  Beyond Family
Date:
view all details >>
     
On the Spot Docent
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  On the Spot Docent
Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
Date: Every day (May 1-Jun 15)
Ages: All Ages
Details: (Summer Only) Volunteers with our summer On the Spot program will work in teams of 2-3 docents at pop-up spotting interactiv
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831)420-6115 view all details >>
     
Sand Castle Workshop
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  Sand Castle Workshop
Library La Selva Beach
Date: 06/11/2016 from 10:00am to 1:00pm
Details: Learn sandcastle techniques from a pro!
City: La Selva Beach Phone: 831-661-4771 view all details >>
     
     
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