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KQED launches blog exploring health issues across California

KQED Public Radio hopes to spotlight the health concerns of communities throughout California in a new blog titled Our State of Health.

The entries will be written by five community correspondents. KQED explains the motivation for selecting community members to report on health-care issues in their communities:

They know what's happening in their own neighborhoods, and who's getting it done. They know what health concerns lay beneath the surface, and what community members think should be done. In short, our community correspondents have a stake in the health of their communities, and they're dedicated to informing the rest of us of what needs attention.

A recent post discussing how past trauma fuels current conflicts in West Oakland illustrates the potential of a community-centric blogging model to expand the conversation on issues like mental health and addiction. Xan West writes:

Willy is not unlike other residents of West Oakland who survive through what is increasing being studied as Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other trauma-related mental health struggles in the inner city. With homicide becoming the leading cause of death in young people in Oakland, chronic stress is giving way to what many would label as "distress." While Willy points out scars across his body as evidence of countless dramas and traumas that have passed and healed, what becomes evident is that many of the emotional and physiological stressors still remain raw...

...Severe depression is the most common mental health problem that has been linked to trauma. Research on combat veterans and sexual abuse survivors has documented the correlation between trauma and substance abuse. Estimates range from one third to over half of all substance abusers have mental health issues linked to depression and PTSD. Indeed, it is easy for many to see the correlation between suppressed trauma, substance abuse and hypervigilance: all wicks on the same firecracker, sparking cyclical violence and turmoil in the streets of West Oakland

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