‘Let us study things that are no more. It is necessary to understand them, if only to avoid them.’
– Victor Hugo
Welcome to week seven of ‘Top Talks’ – a segment where I do a show-and-tell of my favourite speeches, talks or lectures.
Welcome to week seven of ‘Top Talks’ – a segment where I do a show-and-tell of my favourite speeches, talks or lectures.
I am a strong believer in continuous improvement – which to me, means finding and listening to people who have an array of different values, beliefs and ideas, and sharing them with others!
I apologize that this is a week late – I’ll be uploading two this week to catch up.
WHO IS LINDSAY MALLOY?
Dr. Lindsay Malloy is an Associate Professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa (Canada).
Lindsay has a PhD in Psychology and Social Behaviour at the University of California, and has devoted her career to investigating the Youth Justice System and Vulnerable Youth.
This TED Talk was incredibly interesting to me. I have always had a keen interest in false confessions (yes, I watched ‘The Confession Tapes‘ and ‘Making a Murderer‘) as well as also having a personal interest in wrongful convictions, which stemmed from my time in Law School (more on that in a later article – but see Dr. Bob Moles’ page, ‘Networked Knowledge‘, if you are interested in the meantime).
Innocent people can often end up spending the rest of their lives in prison, or face death row in some countries, all because of evidence (such as a false confession) that isn’t used or interpreted correctly. False confessions are a huge issue, as well as testimony from ‘experts in the field’ who are biased to the state and also unreliable witness testimony.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE CONFESS TO SOMETHING THEY DIDN’T DO?
It sounds almost ridiculous to think of ourselves admitting to a crime we didn’t commit. But as Dr. Lindsay points out, in over 25% of overturned wrongful convictions, false confessions occurred.
False confessions are even more prevalent among juveniles/young people. In one study, Dr. Lindsay says that only 8% of adults confessed to something they hadn’t done, but 42% of juveniles had admitted to it. That’s a staggering number.
Juveniles are far more susceptible to influence, such as accusation or interrogation. Adult and juvenile brains are not alike, with juveniles still developing areas of the brain associated with self-control, decision making and sensitivity to reward vs risk – among a plethora of other things. This can influence the way they react to police interrogation – which is another problem area when it comes to teens falsely confessing.
‘THEY GOT INTO MY HEAD’
The above statement is what Brendan Dassey, from ‘Making a Murderer’ said after finally speaking with his Mother after a four hour interrogation (who knows what the outcome would have been if he had spoken to her first).
Brendan Dassey was 16 years old, accused of being present in a murder, and with an IQ of 70, putting him in the range of intellectual disability.
In many countries, police are allowed to interrogate juveniles in exactly the same way as adults. However, juveniles often don’t know their rights and police often fail to mention certain things, like the fact they are allowed an attorney or adult in the room while being questioned.
Interrogation in and of itself, is incredibly grueling, In some cases, interrogations can last hours – some lasting 12 hours or more. For anyone (not just juveniles), this can sometimes be enough to exhaust and confuse someone to the point where they agree or admit to something just so the ordeal is ‘over’. Dr. Lindsay puts it this way:
‘… we’ve decided that juveniles cannot be trusted with things like voting, buying cigarettes, attending an R-rated movie or driving, but they can make the judgment call to waive their Miranda Rights… in some states… without consulting any adult first.’
Interrogation strategies that work on adults can often be dangerous when used on developing, impressionable and socially susceptible juveniles. Being lied to, yelled at or told things will be ‘okay’ of they confess, are all part of standard interrogation.
As a parent and as a researcher, I think we can do better. I think we can take steps to prevent another Brendan Dassey, while still getting the crucial information that we need from children and teens to solve crimes.Dr. Lindsay Malloy
If you are a young person, the future is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate.
Climate Change is a very real, defining issue of our time. Regardless of whether you live in a place like the United States, where the President denies Climate Change (along with pulling out of the Paris Agreement to curb Carbon Emissions), or somewhere more advanced in its leadership on Climate Change, like France, who’s Prime Minister ended an address on the subject with: ‘Make our planet great again.’ … Boom.
Either way, we all live on the same planet, and it is our individual and collective responsibility to take action on Climate Change if this planet is going to survive even the next 40 years. NASA says the evidence for rapid Climate Change is compelling, noting key indicators, including:
Global Temperature Rises;
Shrinking Ice Sheets;
Decreased Snow Cover;
Sea Level Rises;
Declining Arctic Sea Ice;
Extreme Weather Events and
Climate Change is affecting the planet in significant, detrimental and soon-to-be irreversible ways. Without drastic action, the planet we know today will be gone, replaced with a landscape characterized catastrophic natural disasters, mass-extinction, global food shortages and increased exposure to conflict.
It’s for this reason that the younger generations are gearing up for a rough ride, and changing the way they see the world, in order to survive the damage our ancestors have inflicted on the planet.
More and more Millenials are becoming concerned with what the future may look like in 10, 20 or even 50 years from now. The phrase ‘I don’t want to bring children into this world’ is something you wouldn’t often have heard someone say 50 years ago. But in this day and age, there is a real, tangible fear of what the future may hold.
Global birth rates are declining, with more people becoming aware of the planet’s situation. The fear of bringing children into a world of uncertainty is a very real issue facing the young people of today. Even as recently as February this year, United States Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) asked the question ‘Is it still OK to have children?’ on her Instagram Story.
AOC argues that although the answer is not clear-cut, there is a scientific consensus that the lives of future generations will be difficult. And they know it. More and more young people are taking part in Global Climate Change Protests, like those started by Greta Thunberg who recently stated:
‘You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes… We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis…if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, then… we should change the system itself.’
– Greta Thunberg
Younger generations are increasingly opting not to have children, with worries of food and water shortages, global unrest, natural disasters and political unrest present themselves as very real threats.
A lot of Millenials are written off as out-of-touch with politics.
But the truth is, Millenials simply have no faith in the people representing them. Evidence of this is in the record number of Australians enrolled to vote this election – 96.8% of the total eligible voting population. This includes a record number of 18-24 year olds.
The world’s leaders have a responsibility to fight against Climate Change. We can only hope that as the older generations die out, they will be replaced with more switched-on individuals, who are dedicated to helping the planet and the people living on it, rather than continuing to be more preoccupied with the 1%:
“That future was sold so that a small number of people could make unimaginable amounts of money. It was stolen from us every time you said that the sky was the limit, and that you only live once. You lied to us. You gave us false hope. You told us that the future was something to look forward to.”
– Greta Thunberg
A survey carried out by Triple J found that 89% of young Australians believe the politicians in power aren’t working in the best interests of the planet. And guess what? Those same young people voted Environmental Policy and Climate Change as the most important issues to them, come election time.
That’s pretty damning.
The negative impact Climate Change is having on the physical environment poses real risks when it comes to the Mental Health of young people. A sense of doom where the future contains things like poverty, unemployment, natural disasters and resource shortages are very real issues that young people are having to face.
Even as far back as 2012, the National Wildlife Federation reported that over 200 million Americans would be exposed to serious psychological distress from climate related incidents. Of a study done by Millennium Kids Inc., 94.6% of the target demographic felt that Climate Change would be a problem in the future.
In the face of a changing climate, Eco-Anxiety is only going to become more and more apparent, with Mental Health organisations starting to get on board, such as ReachOut, who have a page dedicated to: How to cope with anxiety about climate change.
The page in question lists a variety of reasons young people might feel strained, stressed or anxious about Climate Change, including:
Feeling like planning for the future is pointless and/or hopeless;
Angry that the people around them aren’t doing anything to help;
Frustration at a lack of action they can take to help;
Worrying about whether it’s responsible to have children (see above) and
Feeling like their future is out of their control.
All very valid points. Climate Change is a hugely relevant issue in the world today, and one that deserves to be treated with urgency.
If you are a young person, the future is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate. There are lots of ways you can help the environment in meaningful ways, including:
Taking part in conversations with others about Climate Change
Joining the Australian Youth Climate Change Coalition
Taking part in School Strike 4 Climate
Joining the Australian Student Environment Network
Finding articles about ways to help the environment at home
Being active on Social Media Platforms
Joining clean up efforts, such as Sea Shepherd’s Marine Debris Campaign
Join the conversation at www.theartofoverthinking.com
Something worth talking about.
Would it shock you if I told you that according to the World Health Organisation, Mental Illness is the leading cause of disability worldwide? Or that the Australian Human Rights Commission predict that 45% of Australians aged 16-85 will experience a Mental Illness at some point in their life – or 1 in 5 Australians experience Mental Illness in any given year?
Would it then surprise you if I said that the Australian Human Rights Commission found that half of all senior managers believe that none of their workers will experience a mental health problem at work?
Now let’s think about work for a second.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, full-time employees in Australia work an average of 40 hours per week (keep in mind these numbers don’t account for preparation, travel and over-time the average employee might work).
If we calculate that 40 hours over the space of a year, it ends up being a total of 2,080 hours – 2,000 hours if we account for paid annual leave.
Now let’s think about how many years we work over the space of our lifetime. Australia no longer has a set retirement age, however, if we assume that the average person retires around the age of 65-70, and begins full-time work around the age of 20, that leaves us with a total of 45-50 years.
So let’s say 47.5 years of work, to account for holidays, earlier retirement, younger starting age etc. – which equals 47.5 x 2,000 = 95,000.
According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, 3.2 days leave per year are taken by employees as a direct result of workplace stress. That is the equivalent of 25 hours.
That’s a lot of hours over the space of a worker’s lifetime. Which means a lot of lost time and money to any given employer.
A survey conducted by the Australian Council of Trade Unions of 5,000 employees found that 25% of works took time off each year for stress-related reasons. That’s a quarter of all employees.
Why aren’t our employers taking this more seriously?
It is abundantly clear that the cost of ignoring an employee’s Mental Health Concerns is a far greater issue than the cost of developing an inclusive, safe and productive work environment.
The Australian Human Rights Commission estimate that every dollar spent on identifying, supporting and managing workers with Mental Health Concerns yields nearly a 500 percent return in productivity.
In fact, a preliminary investigation into how Mental Health affects Australian businesses, carried out by Mental Health Australia found that Australian Businesses lose over $6.5 billion a year by failing to provide adequate Mental Health Support to employees.
It should be every workplace’s responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment for employees experiencing concerns regarding their Mental Health. Besides the obvious cost benefit of implementing mental health strategies, their are also an abundance of other benefits businesses can access by being proactive:
There are a plethora of ways that workplaces can help their employees, which can be accessed via the Australian Human Rights Commission website, or by contacting Safe Work Australia. Some of the ways other workplaces have chosen to implement strategies to combat Mental Health include:
There are plenty of great ways to help reduce stress at work – try Workplace Strategies for Mental Health. It’s all about thinking outside the box.
Mental Illness is everyone’s responsibility, and it’s time workplaces really started considering the benefits of being a proactive, progressive place to work, instead of doing to bare minimum to scrape by under the ‘law’. No matter what your age, your gender, your race or your status, we all need to come together to tackle the epidemic that is right in front of our face.
Remember, your safety should always be a priority. If you are in crisis or your mental health becomes an emergency, call 000.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If you, or someone you know needs help, don’t hesitate to use the following resources:
Headspace: 1800 650 890
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978
QLife: 1800 184 527
If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out more at ‘The Art of Overthinking’.