Focus on Illinois Public Media

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Focus Encore: Why give gifts?

There’s a lot of forethought, and sometimes a lot of stress, that’s a part of the holiday season. That’s completely counter-intuitive considering the holidays are supposed to be a time to relax and enjoy time with family and friends. During this encore hour on Focus, we talked about why certain expectations are attached to the holidays and what we can do about it.For the first half of the hour, host Jim Meadows talks with University of Illinois Professor Harry Liebersohn, about the reasons we give gifts. He does research in Europe and says even though the act of giving a gift implies the same thing everywhere, traditions surrounding gift giving vary widely from culture to culture. He’ll also tell us about how the definition of what a gift is has evolved over time. Then, on the second half of this hour on Focus, Susan Salterburg of the University of Northern Iowa joins the show. She’s a part of an outreach program called “Reclaim Your Holidays,” that’s trying to spread the message that simplifying the holidays and giving fewer gifts is not only 100% acceptable but also more environmentally friendly.

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Cartooning

Robert Harvey, Cartoon Historian and Author of Meanwhile…A History of Milton Caniff, Creator of Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon

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Brain drain in downstate Illinois

When Archer Daniels Midland told Decatur city officials that it would be moving its global headquarters to Chicago, city councilman Pat McDaniel said the news hurt, but that it wasn’t surprising. “Young people don’t want to locate in Decatur anymore, at least we’re starting to see more and more people want to move to places like Chicago.”And according to IRS and US Census data, McDaniel might be right. People are moving, around Illinois and out of the state all together. For at least the last fifteen years, more people have moved out of Illinois than have moved in. In order to keep businesses and communities thriving, Michael Lucci of the Illinois Policy Institute says that trend has to stop. It’s costing the state lots of money in tax revenue. In addition, Lucci says it’s a specific demographic that appears to be moving out.“It’s earners that are making above the average household income who have college degrees that are leaving,” he says, “with an aging tax base and business climate where attracting big corporations to locate in a particular space is highly competitive, something has to be done.”City leaders like Pat McDaniel agree. The question is – how? Kathy Lively has some suggestions. After the shutdown of the Maytag plant that employed nearly 1,000 people in Herrin, Illinois, city residents rallied together to ensure those workers found new jobs and stayed in town.During this Focus interview, Scott Cameron talks with Pat McDaniel about what it means to Decatur that ADM is moving its global headquarters and some of its employees. Then we’ll hear from Michael Lucci and Kathy Lively from Mantracon, a company that helped the city of Herrin take care of its laid-off workers when Maytag left in 2006.

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Unmet Needs: "Folk Wisdom" about health perpetuates stereotypes

Joey Ramp gets uncomfortable in large crowds of people. New places also make her uneasy. It’s her service dog, Theo, and her highly regimented schedule that helps her handle her anxiety and cope with her post-traumatic stress disorder. Theo is always with her, and since her disability isn’t visible, she says people are curious. Sometimes they ask; sometimes they don’t. “Most often, when people ask and I say I have PTSD, people want to thank me for my service.”That makes it awkward for Ramp to explain that she never served in the military.Kay White, an Associate Professor of Behavioral Science at Millikin University, says the fact that those conversations happen is a product of the “folk wisdom” that she says we often rely on when it comes to understanding and talking about mental health. During our #WILLchat on Twitter, that was a part of our series "Unmet Needs: living with mental illness in central Illinios," you asked how to start conversations about mental health and mental illness, during this Focus interview, we’ll mull it over. In this Focus interview, host Scott Cameron talks with Ramp and White about stereotypes and misunderstandings when it comes to mental illness.

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Look onscreen, the doctor will see you now

Harry Wolin manages Mason District Hospital in Havana, Illinois, one of many clinics in Illinois that provide care to medically underserved areas. The hospital has been treating patients via telepsychiatry, when a patient meets with a doctor via a computer screen, for about four years now. Wolin says they started offering appointments that way after the county mental health center shut down due to lack of funding.“If we wouldn’t have started offering this service, many of our patients would have had to travel an hour or more to see somebody,” he explains.In an evolving health care system where cost control and efficiency are key, some are looking to telepsychiatry as a solution; some are more skeptical. Could the technology a way to offer more patients quicker access to a doctor? Is that really the best solution? After the show, Friday, at 11:00 a.m., we'll be continuing our conversation about mental illness on Twitter at the hashtag #WILLchat. Have you been personally affected by the lack of access to mental health services? What would you like to see change? What stigmas have you encountered in central Illinois? Tweet us @Focus580.

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