59 Percent of Millennials Raised in a Church Have Dropped OutAnd They’re Trying to Tell Us Why

Only 4 percent of the Millennial Generation are Bible-Based Believers. This means that 96 percent of Millennials likely don’t live out the teachings of the Bible, value the morals of Christianity and probably won’t be found in a church. This author goes deep to explain why.

By Sam Eaton

From the depths of my heart, I want to love church.

I want to be head-over-heals for church like the unshakable Ned Flanders.

I want to send global, sky-writing airplanes telling the life-change that happens beneath a steeple. I want to install a police microphone on top of my car and cruise the streets screaming to the masses about the magical Utopian community of believers waiting for them just down the street.

I desperately want to feel this way about church, but I dont. Not even a little bit. In fact, like much of my generation, I feel the complete opposite.

Turns out I identify more with Maria from The Sound of Music staring out the abbey window, longing to be free.

It seems all-too-often our churches are actually causing more damage than good, and the statistics are showing a staggering number of millennials have taken note.

According to this study (and many others like it) church attendance and impressions of the church are the lowest in recent history, and most drastic among millennials described as 22- to 35-year-olds.

  • Only 2 in 10 Americans under 30 believe attending a church is important or worthwhile (an all-time low).
  • 59 percent of millennials raised in a church have dropped out.
  • 35 percent of millennials have an anti-church stance, believing the church does more harm than good.
  • Millennials are the least likely age group of anyone to attend church (by far).

As I sat in our large churchs annual meeting last month, I looked around for anyone in my age bracket. It was a little like a Titanic search party

IS ANYONE ALIVE OUT THERE? CAN ANYBODY HEAR ME?

Tuning in and out of the 90-minute state-of-the-church address, I kept wondering to myself, where are my people? And then the scarier question, why I am still here?

A deep-seated dissatisfaction has been growing in me and, despite my greatest attempts to whack-a-mole it back down, no matter what I do it continues to rise out of my wirey frame.

[To follow my publicly-chronicled church struggles, check out my other posts The How Can I Help Project and 50 Ways to Serve the Least of These.]

Despite the steep drop-off in millennials, most churches seem to be continuing on with business as usual. Sure, maybe they add a food truck here or a bowling night there, but no one seems to be reacting with any level of concern that matches these STAGGERING statistics.

Where is the task-force searching for the lost generation? Where is the introspective reflection necessary when 1/3 of a generation is ANTI-CHURCH?

The truth is no one has asked me why millennials dont like church. Luckily, as a public school teacher, I am highly skilled at answering questions before theyre asked. Its a gift really.

So, at the risk of being excommunicated, here is the metaphorical nailing of my own 12 theses to the wooden door of the American, Millennial-less Church.

1. Nobodys Listening to Us

Millennials value voice and receptivity above all else. When a church forges ahead without ever asking for our input we get the message loud and clear:Nobody cares what we think. Why then, should we blindly serve an institution that we cannot change or shape?

Solution:

  • Create regular outlets (forums, surveys, meetings) to discover the needs of young adults both inside AND outside the church.
  • Invite millennials to serve on leadership teams or advisory boards where they can make a difference.
  • Hire a young adults pastor who has the desire and skill-set to connect with millennials.

2. Were Sick of Hearing About Values & Mission Statements

Sweet Moses people, give it a rest.

Of course as an organization its important to be moving in the same direction, but that should easier for Christians than anyone because we already have a leader to follow. Jesus was insanely clear about our purpose on earth:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:30-31)

Love God. Love Others. Task completed.

Why does every church need its own mission statement anyway? Arent we all one body of Christ, serving one God? What would happen if the entire American Church came together in our commonalities and used the same, concise mission statement?

Solution:

  • Stop wasting time on the religious mambo jambo and get back to the heart of the gospel. If you have to explain your mission and values to the church, its overly-religious and much too complicated.
  • Were not impressed with the hours you brag about spending behind closed doors wrestling with Christianese words on a paper. Were impressed with actions and service.

3. Helping the Poor Isnt a Priority

My heart is broken for how radically self-centered and utterly American our institution has become.

Lets clock the number of hours the average church attender spends in church-type activities. Bible studies, meetings, groups, social functions, book clubs, planning meetings, talking about building community, discussing a new mission statement

Now let’s clock the number of hours spent serving the least of these. Oooooo, awkward.

If the numbers are not equal please check your Bible for better comprehension (or revisit the universal church mission statement stated above).

If our lives do not reflect radical compassion for the poor, there is reason to wonder if Christ is in us at all. Radical, David Platt

Solutions:

  • Stop creating more Bible studies and Christian activity. Community happens best in service with a shared purpose.
  • Survey your members asking them what injustice or cause God has placed on their hearts. Then connect people who share similar passions. Create space for them to meet and brainstorm and then sit back and watch what God brings to life.
  • Create group serve dates once a month where anyone can show up and make a difference (and, oh yeah, theyll also meet new people).

4. Were Tired of You Blaming the Culture

From Elvis hips to rap music, from Footloose to twerking, every older generation comes to the same conclusion: The world is going to pot faster than the state of Colorado. Were aware of the down-falls of the culturebelieve it or not we are actually living in it too.

Perhaps its easier to focus on how terrible the world is out there than actually address the mess within.

Solution:

  • Put the end times rhetoric to rest and focus on real solutions and real impact in our immediate community.
  • Explicitly teach us how our lives should differ from the culture. (If this teaching isnt happening in your life, check out the book Weird: Because Normal Isnt Working by Craig Groeschel)

5. The You Cant Sit With Us Affect

There is this life-changing movie all humans must see, regardless of gender. The film is of course the 2004 classic Mean Girls.

In the film, the most popular girl in school forgets to wear pink on a Wednesday (a cardinal sin), to which Gretchen Weiners screams, YOU CANT SIT WITH US!

Today, my mom said to me, Church has always felt exclusive and cliquey, like high school. With sadness in her voice she continued, and Ive never been good at that game so I stopped playing.

The truth is, I share her experience. As do thousands of others.

Until the church finds a way to be radically kinder and more compassionate than the world at large, we tell outsiders theyre better off on their own. And the truth is, many times they are.

Solutions:

  • Create authentic communities with a shared purpose centered around service.
  • Create and train a team of CONNECT people whose purpose is to seek out the outliers on Sunday mornings or during other events. Explicitly teach people these skills as they do not come naturally to most of the population.
  • Stop placing blame on individuals who struggle to get connected. For some people, especially those that are shy or struggle with anxiety, putting yourself out there even just once might be an overwhelming task. We have to find ways to bridge that gap.

6. Distrust & Misallocation of Resources

Over and over weve been told to tithe and give 10 percent of our incomes to the church, but where does that money actually go? Millennials, more than any other generation, dont trust institutions, for we have witnessed over and over how corrupt and self-serving they can be.

We want pain-staking transparency. We want to see on the church homepage a document where we can track every dollar.

Why should thousands of our hard-earned dollars go toward a mortgage on a multi-million dollar building that isnt being utilized to serve the community, or to pay for another celebratory bouncy castle when that same cash-money could provide food, clean water and shelter for someone in need?

Solution:

  • Go out of your way to make all financial records readily accessible. Earn our trust so we can give with confidence.
  • Create an environment of frugality.
  • Move to zero-based budgeting where departments arent allocated certain dollar amounts but are asked to justify each purchase.
  • Challenge church staff to think about the opportunity cost. Could these dollars be used to better serve the kingdom?

7. We Want to Be Mentored, Not Preached At

Preaching just doesnt reach our generation like our parents and grandparents. See: millennial church attendance. We have millions of podcasts and Youtube videos of pastors the world over at our fingertips.

For that reason, the currency of good preaching is at its lowest value in history.

Millennials crave relationship, to have someone walking beside them through the muck. We are the generation with the highest ever percentage of fatherless homes.

Were looking for mentors who are authentically invested in our lives and our future. If we dont have real people who actually care about us, why not just listen to a sermon from the couch (with the ecstasy of donuts and sweatpants)?

Solutions:

  • Create a database of adult mentors and young adults looking for someone to walk with them.
  • Ask the older generation to be intentional with the millennials in your church.

8. We Want to Feel Valued

Churches tend to rely heavily on their young adults to serve. Youre single, what else do you have to do? In fact, were tapped incessantly to help out. And, at its worst extreme, spiritually manipulated with the cringe-worthy words youre letting your church down.

Millennials are told by this world from the second we wake up to the second we take a sleeping pill that we arent good enough.

We desperately need the church to tell us we are enough, exactly the way we are. No conditions or expectations.

We need a church that sees us and believes in us, that cheers us on and encourages us to chase our big crazy dreams.

Solutions:

  • Return to point #1: listening.
  • Go out of your way to thank the people who are giving so much of their life to the church.

9. We Want You to Talk to Us About Controversial Issues (Because No One Is)

People in their 20s and 30s are making the biggest decisions of their entire lives: career, education, relationships, marriage, sex, finances, children, purpose, chemicals, body image.

We need someone consistently speaking truth into every single one of those areas.

No, I dont think a sermon-series on sex is appropriate for a sanctuary full of families, but we have to create a place where someone older is showing us a better way because these topics are the teaching millennials are starving for. We dont like how the world is telling us to live, but we never hear from our church either.

Solutions:

  • Create real and relevant space for young adults to learn, grow and be vulnerable.
  • Create an opportunity for young adults to find and connect with mentors.
  • Create a young adults program that transitions high school youth through late adulthood rather than abandoning them in their time of greatest need.
  • Intentionally train young adults in how to live a godly life instead of leaving them to fend for themselves.

10. The Public Perception

Its time to focus on changing the public perception of the church within the community. The neighbors, the city and the people around our church buildings should be audibly thankful the congregation is part of their neighborhood. We should be serving the crap out of them.

We desperately need to be calling the schools and the city, knocking on doors, asking everyone around us how we can make their world better. When the public opinion shows 1/3 millennials are ANTI-CHURCH, we are outright failing at being the aroma of Christ.

Solutions:

  • Call the local government and schools to ask what their needs are. (See: Service Day from #3)
  • Find ways to connect with neighbors within the community.
  • Make your presence known and felt at city events.

11. Stop Talking About Us (Unless Youre Actually Going to Do Something)

Words without follow-up are far worse than ignoring us completely. Despite the stereotypes about us, we are listening to phrases being spoken in our general direction. Lip service, however, doesnt cut it. We are scrutinizing every action that follows what you say (because were sick of being ignored and listening to broken promises).

Solutions:

  • Stop speaking in abstract sound bites and make a tangible plan for how to reach millennials.
  • If you want the respect of our generation, under-promise and over-deliver.

12. Youre Failing to Adapt

Heres the bottom line, churchyou arent reaching millennials. Enough with the excuses and the blame; we need to accept reality and intentionally move toward this generation that is terrifyingly anti-church.

The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change. Bill Clinton
The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings. Kakuzo Okakaura
Adapt or perish, now as ever, is natures inexorable imperative. H.G. Wells

Solution:

  • Look at the data and take a risk for goodness sake. We cant keep trying the same things and just wish that millennials magically wander through the door.
  • Admit that youre out of your element with this generation and talk to the millennials you already have before they ask themselves, what I am still doing here.

You see, church leaders, our generation just isnt interested in playing church anymore, and there are real, possible solutions to filling our congregations with young adults. Its obvious youre not understanding the gravity of the problem at hand and arent nearly as alarmed as you should be about the crossroads were at.

Youre complacent, irrelevant and approaching extinction. A smattering of mostly older people, doing mostly the same things theyve always done, isnt going to turn to the tide.

Feel free to write to me off as just another angry, selfy-addicted millennial. Believe me, at this point Im beyond used to being abandoned and ignored.

The truth is, church, its your move.

Decide if millennials actually matter to you and let us know. In the meantime, well be over here in our sweatpants listening to podcasts, serving the poor and agreeing with public opinion that perhaps church isnt as important or worthwhile as our parents have lead us to believe.

About the Author: Sam Eaton is a writer, speaker, and in-progress author whos in love with all things Jesus, laughter, adventure, hilarious dance parties and vulnerability. Sam is also the founder of Recklessly Alive Ministries, a mental health and suicide-prevention ministry sprinting towards a world with zero deaths from suicide. Come hang out with him at RecklesslyAlive.com.

Read more: http://faithit.com/12-reasons-millennials-over-church-sam-eaton/

Trump announces ban on transgender individuals serving in military

President Trump touched off a firestorm Wednesday after tweeting that he wants to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military in any capacity — citing advice from his “generals” and medical costs.

In a series of tweets, he wrote: 

“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow…Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming..victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”

The presidents tweets came only a few weeks after Defense Secretary James Mattis said he would give military chiefs another six months to conduct a review to determine if allowing transgender individuals to enlist in the armed services will affect the readiness or lethality of the force. The deadline for that review was Dec. 1, 2017.

This is worse than dont ask dont tell, this is dont serve, dont serve, The National Center for Transgender Equality said in a written statement. This is an appalling attack on our service members; it is about bigotry rather than military readiness, reason or science. It is indefensible and cannot stand.

The Family Research Council praised Trumps action.

I applaud President Trump for keeping his promise to return to military priorities and not continue the social experimentation of the Obama era that has crippled our nations military, FRC President Tony Perkins said in a statement. The military can now focus its efforts on preparing to fight and win wars rather than being used to advance the Obama social agenda.

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said “we don’t need to be experimenting with the military. Plus there’s no reason to take on that kind of financial burden.”

But Trump himself tweeted during the campaign season that he would “fight” for the LGBTQ community while his opponent “Hillary (Clinton) brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.”

During his confirmation hearing in January, Mattis was asked whether he believed that allowing LGBT Americans to serve in the military or women in combat would undermine the militarys lethality.

Frankly, senator, Ive never cared much about two consenting adults and who they go to bed with, Mattis testified.

Abbie Goldberg, professor of psychology at Clark University who has researched and written about the LGBTQ community, told Fox News no one wins under Trumps plan.  

Some people will not serve, which is a loss to the military and the country, Goldberg said. Others will serve, but not openly, and thus they will be at risk for discharge or verbal, physical and sexual abuse.

The Pentagon has refused to release any data on the number of transgender troops currently serving. A RAND study found that there are between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender service members in the active-duty military, and another 1,500 to 4,000 in the reserves.

The study also found that allowing transgender people to serve in the military would have a “minimal impact” on the health care costs.

The Pentagon announced it would continue to work closely with the White House to address the new guidance provided by the commander in chief on transgender individuals serving in the military.

We will provide revised guidance to the Department in the near future, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said in statement.

Trumps announcement comes as lawmakers on Capitol Hill debate the current practice of requiring the Pentagon to pay for medical treatment for gender transition.

Missouri Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler offered an amendment that would prohibit the Pentagon from spending money on transition surgeries or hormone therapy. Her amendment was narrowly defeated earlier this month. 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called Trumps decision a cruel and arbitrary decision designed to humiliate transgender Americans.

On this very day in 1948, President Harry Truman signed the executive order desegregating the U.S. military. Sixty-nine years later, President Trump has chosen this day to unleash a vile and hateful agenda that will blindside thousands of patriotic Americans already serving with honor and bravery, she said.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.,slammed the sudden announcement and said anyone who is fit to serve in the military should be allowed to do so. 

The presidents tweet this morning regarding transgender Americans in the military is yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter, McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said.

Transgender service members have been able to serve openly in the military since last year, when former Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban. Since Oct. 1, transgender troops have been able to receive medical care and start formally changing their gender identifications in the Pentagon’s personnel system.

But Carter also gave the services until July 1 to develop policies to allow people already identifying as transgender to newly join the military, if they meet physical, medical and other standards, and have been stable in their identified genders for 18 months. 

“I continue to maintain that what matters in choosing those who serve is that they are best qualified,” Carter said in a statement. “To choose service members on other grounds than military qualifications is social policy and has no place in our military. There are already transgender individuals who are serving capably and honorably. This action would also send the wrong signal to a younger generation thinking about military service. 

Key concerns include whether currently enlisted troops have had medical or other issues that cause delays or problems with their ability to deploy or meet physical or other standards for their jobs. Military leaders also wanted to review how transgender troops are treated, if they’re discriminated against or if they have had disciplinary problems, the officials said. They were not authorized to discuss internal deliberations publicly, so spoke on condition of anonymity.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson, Christopher Carbone and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/07/26/trump-announces-ban-on-transgender-individuals-serving-in-military.html

‘Beer yoga’ is a real thing, now, because of course it is

Hmm, beer.
Image: bieryoga/facebook

Nothing like putting down an icy cold beer. Except, of course, achieving a higher state of being and eventual transcendence of the Self through the practice of yoga.

But what if you could do both, at the same time?

Yes: Beer yoga is here. After being enjoyed by Berlin hipsters, it’s now found its way to Australian shoresa land where beer’s most definitely a religious practice, at least as much as yoga. And not in the best way.

Germany’s BierYoga A.K.A BeerYoga bills itself as the “marriage of two great lovesbeer and yoga. Both are centuries-old therapies for mind, body and soul,” according to its website.

And if you think they’re just being cute, think again.

Image: bieryoga/facebook

“BeerYoga is fun but it’s no joke,” founder and yogi Jhula writes. “We take the philosophies of yoga and pair it with the pleasure of beer-drinking to reach your highest level of consciousness.”

But even Jhula wasn’t the first person to promote enlightenment through yoga under the influence of alcohol. The instructor told Ex Berliner they first saw it done at (American culture festival/desert apocalypse party shitshow) Burning Man.

But wherever it came from, it’s definitely now a thing, and a thing being marketed unironically Down Under.

Two special sessions of beer meets asana will take place in Sydney this weekend, where students can learn yoga poses involving “beer salutations” and balancing beer bottles on one’s headjust watch out for bottle smashes.

The event page assures would-be attendees that no yoga experience is necessary. Just an “open mind and a love of beer.”

And if you think that all this does nothing to curb binge-drinking and/or cheapens a legitimate and sadly oft-perverted spiritual practice, then you can just Namaste away.

[h/t Broadsheet]

BONUS: NBD, just a massive alligator out for a stroll

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/01/17/beer-yoga-comes-to-australia-of-course/

Surviving The Last Two Years Without My Mom

You are stronger, braver and more resilient than you ever thought possible. You just dont know it yet.

It was a cold Friday night in January and I was curled up on my couch after a long day at work, bowl of ice-cream in one hand and TV remote in the other. The night was ordinary just like many others before it. I never expected that it would be the worst night of my entire 25-year-old existence.

I was just about to unhook my bra, slip into my oversized pajama shirt and call it a night when my phone flashed and moms husbands name, Dale, appeared on the screen. I considered letting my phone ring and going MIA for the night, possibly polishing off the last bit of ice-cream and falling into a deep sugar coma. But for some reason I couldnt shake the feeling that it could be something important, so I answered.

Jessica, your mom’s in the hospital said the empty voice in the speaker You need to get in a cab right now.

My mom had always been in good health. At the young age of 51, shed never been struck by illness besides the odd flu or cold. So when I heard that she was in the hospital, the severity of the situation didnt immediately register – until Dale said this: Shes bleeding in her brain and it doesnt look good.

What happened after was a complete blur; the tear filled cab ride alone, the sea of hugs and tears when I arrived at the hospital, and the look on my 17-year-old sisters face when the doctor told us our mom was brain-dead almost instantly after an aneurysm burst in her brain.

What wasnt a blur was a moment I will remember for the rest of my life, the last time I held my mothers hand. She was lying on the hospital bed looking exactly like my mom always looked, bright colored lipstick, freshly colored and straightened blonde hair and dressed to the nines. At the same time, she looked nothing like my mom. There was no color in her cheeks or warmth in her eyes. I knew that she was gone.

I looked down at her hands and cradled them in my own, memorizing every inch of them. I was very aware that this would be the last time I would hold them. In this moment I realized her hands were exactly like mine, maybe a bit bigger and stronger, but identical in every other way. I suddenly had an overwhelming feeling – with my moms death a part of me would die too.

Id never lost anyone close to me before. I had never experienced grief like this – so raw and so deep. It completely consumed me. I was scared that it would destroy me and the life I had just begun to build for myself. I wanted to just get through it, and perhaps heal from it unscarred like a bump or a bruise.

Almost 2 years later I now realize that grief will always be a part of my life and many other important lessons for coping with the loss of my mom.

I remember feeling like my moms death would be that one life event that would push me to my breaking point. Maybe I would disappear on a drug binge, or quit my job. I joked with my family a lot about moving deep into the woods and living off the land, foraging for berries and making friends with the squirrels.

This was my way of telling them I was scared. Terrified even. What would losing the woman who gave birth to me do to my life? Who would I become?

I hear grief is different for everyone and for me it was no cake walk. It took me a week to come out of the most excruciating emotional pain I had ever felt in my life. It took months after that not to come home every day and cry.

BUT! While its been extremely tough at times, my life didnt completely fall apart like I thought it would. Instead of becoming a shadow of my former self, I heard my moms voice repeat in my head be strong my baby. I knew she wouldnt want to see me fail; I knew she would want me to make her proud. So thats exactly what I did!
In the last few years I met the absolute love of my life, got my first car and moved into a bigger apartment. I left a job that wasnt making me happy and started a new one Im very proud of. I didnt just survive, I made my life better. And I owe it all to her – for always loving me to pieces and making sure I knew it every single day.
Your life will only fall apart if you let it. You are stronger, braver and more resilient than you ever thought possible. You just dont know it yet.

***

I would later find out that my mom was sitting down having a drink when it happened. She was in mid-conversation with her husband when she told him her head hurt. Less than a minute later she was unconscious, and less than 10 minutes after that she was in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. She was brain-dead before she arrived. Her deaths likelihood was 1 in 1 million; the chances of this ever happening to anyone were extremely rare.

How could this happen to her? One minute she was alive and well, the next she was gone. Just like that. This made me realize exactly how precious and fleeting life really is. Growing old is a privilege and a gift that not everyone gets to experience.

All the people we know will eventually pass away, and one day we will too. Its the only certainty in life that no one ever talks about. Your own mortality is a tough pill to swallow, but once you do, youll have a deeper appreciation for your own little life and the people in it.

If you have experienced great loss, chances are, youre one of the lucky few who truly understand the value of life and love. Youll spend more time with family and friends who matter most to you. Youll walk through life holding each and every second with them close to your heart. Youll make sure to say I love you at every chance you get. Youll enjoy all the little moments, because you know that they are numbered. Its a perspective that not everyone can grasp, but you will – and thats a true gift.

Have you seen the movie ? If youre in the mood for an emotional drama Id highly recommend it, it made me sob like a baby! I wont give too much away, but in it Keira Knightly plays love (the feeling) as a character. In response to a father getting angry at love for being so painful when his young daughter died, love said I was there in her laugh, but Im also here now in your pain. Those words really meant something to me, because its extremely true.

I know my mom lives within me. She lives in the love I feel for her when I smile at a happy memory, shes there in my tears when I miss her. Shes there in everything that I do because she was my mom and her love will always be part of me. Its comforting to know that whatever you believe in (reincarnation, god, heaven, or even nothing) that your loved one is never completely gone, theyre right there with you. Love never dies.

Im living my life for two now – mostly for me but a little bit for my mom too.

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/jessica-vestergaard/2017/08/surviving-the-last-two-years-without-my-mom/

Sarah Reed death: Mentally ill ‘should not be assessed in prison’ – BBC News

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Sarah Reed had a history of mental health problems following the death of her daughter

The mother of a woman who killed herself while she was in prison has said mentally ill people should not be assessed in prison.

Sarah Reed, 32, died in Holloway Prison, north London in February last year.

She was waiting to be assessed to see if she was mentally fit to plead after being charged with assaulting a nurse in a secure psychiatric unit.

The government said it took prisoners’ mental health “extremely seriously”.

Sarah’s mother Marilyn Reed said if people had done their jobs properly, she would still be alive.

The jury at Sarah Reed’s inquest recently concluded a narrative verdict.

It found that a series of failures such as not treating her in a timely manner, mismanagement of her care and monitoring, plus an unacceptable number of cancelled visits by staff all significantly contributed to her deterioration.

Ms Reed was waiting in prison for nine weeks for an assessment.

‘No food or water’

Her mother said: “It needs to stop, it needs to be investigated. We need to have things put in place that the mental health are dealt with in medical places. There’s no excuse and I want this to change, that no other family is torn apart or devastated.”

Image caption Marilyn Reed wants all mentally ill people to be assessed in hospitals, not prisons

“If they’d have said a secure unit, hospital, whatever, I’d have said fair enough. But prison? Remember she hadn’t been found guilty of anything, she’d been accused of a crime, she hadn’t been sentenced, yet she was placed in Holloway,” she added.

She said the inquest was painful for her and the family.

“The revelations such as her not being allowed to have baths or showers or being able to have food or water because they felt she was in such a psychotic state that she couldn’t be approached.

We thought that if she’d been a dog or a cat, kept under those conditions, someone would have been charged for animal cruelty.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Holloway prison closed last May after being described as “inadequate and antiquated”

She said her daughter had a history of mental health problems, which stemmed from her not recovering from the death of her baby daughter in 2003.

Last year 22 women died in prison. Holloway, which was western Europe’s biggest female-only prison, was closed last May after it was branded inadequate by inspectors.

In a statement, the government said: “We take the mental health of prisoners extremely seriously and are increasing the support available to vulnerable offenders.

“We are putting more funding into prison safety and have launched a suicide and self-harm reduction project to address the increase in self-inflicted deaths and self-harm in our prisons.”

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-40901814

Weekly Roundup: Travis Kalanick sued by Benchmark, Snap and Blue Apron sink after Q2 earnings

From Ubers former CEO Travis Kalanick getting sued by his companys lynchpin investors at Benchmark to Googles struggles with a recently fired employee over a gender diversity screed that went viral, its been a wild week in tech. Meanwhile, Snap and Blue Apron both reported disappointing earnings something we discuss in this weeks episode of the Equity podcast. From the boardroom to the trading floor, here are the stories that took Silicon Valley by storm this week.

This post exists primarily as the Weekly Roundup weekend newsletter. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox every Saturday.

1. Benchmark sues former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick

Benchmark, the Silicon Valley venture firm and early investor in Uber, has sued former CEO Travis Kalanick. The suit alleges that Kalanick committed fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. Both Kalanick and Benchmark hold Uber board seats. Benchmark accuses Kalanick of being selfish by packing Ubers board with loyal allies, and that the ousted CEO broke the law by trying to pave the way for his own return.If successful, the Benchmark lawsuit could kick Kalanick off the board of directors, makinghis return impossible.

2.Googles Sundar Pichai cancels internal meeting following firing of the employee behind gender diversity memo

After Google fired the employee behinda controversial memo on gender diversity that went viral within the tech industry,CEO Sundar Pichai cancelled a company town hall meeting where discussions about gender diversity were set to take place. Some employees fear that they may become harassment targets if they were to express unpopular opinions. In an email to employees, Pichai wrote, Googlers are writing in, concerned about their safety and worried they may be outed publicly for asking a question in the Town Hall.

3. Snap sinks as Q2 growth and revenue fall short

SnapsQ2 earningsreport was another failure on a long, downward path for the social media company as user growth slowed under the pressure of Instagram, reported TechCrunchs Josh Constine. It looks like Snaps cool factor may be wearing off, and the company will need a lot more than dancing AR hot dogs to fix its problems.

4. Blue Apron stock crashes after the companys first earnings report

Snap wasnt the only tech company having a really bad week. With Blue Apron, The problem quickly became getting customers to stick around and keep buying meals. This time around, the company was able to improve the health of its customer base as they are spending more money and buying slightly more meals, but it still has to show that it can grow that base even as it starts to pull back on marketing, writes TechCrunchs Matthew Lynley.

5. Coinbaseraises $100M led by IVP at $1.6B valuation

Bitcoin reached a record high valuation of $3,000 per coin to complete a rollercoaster week that began with the long-awaited split of the cryptocurrency. Now the most established wallet and exchange service, Coinbase announced a Series D funding round. The startup has been in the right place at the right time to capitalize on the excitement in the industry. In other cryptocurrency news,Filecoin, the much-anticipated cryptocurrency that will eventually power a distributed file storage system, opened its record-breaking ICO for accredited investors after raising $52 million from advisors.

6. SoftBanks Vision Fund backs Flipkart in record India tech investment

Flipkart confirmedthat SoftBank has invested in its business, viaits $100 billion Vision Fund, as part of anextension to the $1.4 billion financing roundannounced in April. The Vision Fund is buying a mix of primary and secondary sales, but the size of the investment is not disclosed. But we do know that the deal is the largest private investment in an India-based tech company, and it makes the Vision Fund one of the largest shareholders in Flipkart.

7. Toyota, Intel and others form a big data group for automotive tech

A collection of prominent names in the tech industry, including Denso, Ericsson, Intel and NTT Docomo, have teamed up with Toyota to work on developing big data systems to support self-driving cars and other future automotive advances. The companies have come together to tackle concerns around data usage in connected cars of the future,a critical component to making real-time mapping, driving assistance and other services go from theory to working in practice. Handling the huge volumes of data in a reliable and secure manner is critical, writes TechCrunchs Jon Russell.

Weekend reads

Breastfeeding mothers have a few options when it comes to next-generation breast pumps, but a lot of them are expensive and the market has not been claimed yet. There can be a lot of anxiety surrounding how much youre pumping and how much your baby is feeding. So what does the future look like for breast pumping tech? Read more in How high-tech breast pumps help new mothers reclaim their time.

Apple reported its earnings last week, and with a surprisingly positive report the shares spiked again as Apple signaled a potential huge iPhone release. The jump pushed Apples market cap to over$800 billion. If Apples promise plays out or exceeds what Wall Street hopes for the September quarter, we may soon be asking ourselves whether or not Apple really will fulfill the promise of a company that could hit a market cap of $1 trillion. Read on in How Apple could become a $1 trillion company.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/11/weekly-roundup-travis-kalanick-sued-by-benchmark-snap-and-blue-apron-sink-after-q2-earnings/

Congressmen: Our bipartisan plan for health care

(CNN)People are sick of politics and politicians. They have had it with the finger-pointing and blame games while the world is engulfed in chaos.

We are, too.
We’re freshman members of Congress from different political parties, but we know there is more that unites us than divides us. That’s why we’re part of the Problem Solvers Caucus: a group of more than 40 lawmakers, split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, committed to — you guessed it — solving problems.
    This month, after working together for weeks, the Problem Solvers Caucus announced a five-point proposal to begin the process of fixing our broken health care system. After years of attacks and counterattacks by both parties, we are resetting the conversation by outlining a set of principles aimed at stabilizing the health insurance markets and providing relief to individuals, families and small businesses.
    As it stands, the Affordable Care Act is unsustainable. For too many Americans, health care is still too expensive. Premiums are rising and people are scared. This is a life-and-death issue for many Americans. They deserve to know that when they get sick, or their child falls ill, that a system will be in place to ensure they have access to high-quality, affordable health coverage. That should be the goal for any lawmaker, regardless of party.
    We know that the Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect, but we need to keep what works and fix what doesn’t. The bottom line is: we need to stabilize the individual market right now — and that is what our proposal does.
    First, it would bring cost-sharing reduction payments under Congressional authority, but ensure they have mandatory funding. The President has threatened to withhold these funds, which would result in devastating premium increases and out-of-pocket costs for families.
    Second, we must stabilize the individual marketplace by creating a dedicated fund for states to use to bring down premiums and limit losses for providing coverage, especially for people with pre-existing conditions.
    Third, our plan calls for an adjustment to the employer mandate from businesses that have 50 employees to those with 500 employees. The current mandate puts too many burdens on small businesses, making it almost impossible to grow beyond 50 employees.
    Fourth, we must repeal the 2.3% Medical Device Tax, which we know is passed onto consumers and creates a bigger hole in their pocket.
    Finally, our proposal will provide technical changes and guidelines for states seeking to improve their exchanges and offer better coverage for consumers.
    This isn’t the silver bullet solution to our healthcare troubles, but it’s a start — and it’s the exact kind of common sense leadership that Americans are looking for. Instead of focusing on scoring political points, the Problem Solvers Caucus’ goal is simple: get things done.
    We both happen to have been trained as CPAs and lawyers. We’re both freshmen members from suburban districts. One is from Long Island and Queens in New York and the other from outside Philadelphia, but we are joined by other members from all over our nation with varying backgrounds and years of service.
    When we came to Congress earlier this year, each of us signed a freshman pledge to civility. That’s what being an elected official is about. We chose to set aside our petty differences, look at the big picture, and realize that we have a sacred duty to improve the lives of the people who have entrusted us with the responsibility of representing them — and our country — in Congress.
    We know that this is serious business. Ramming through legislation with support from only one party is not how the legislative branch of government was meant to operate, and as we’ve seen before and we’re seeing again now, it just doesn’t work.

    Join us on Twitter and Facebook

    We need leaders sobered by their responsibilities and individuals committed to stopping the nonsense that dominates our current national discourse and elevating the debate to the serious, responsible level our times demand.
    Instead of focusing on areas of disagreement, let’s focus on goodwill and compromise where we can find common ground. We believe our health care proposal is the start of many good bipartisan conversations. It is not only our duty, but our only hope.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/10/opinions/problem-solvers-caucus-opinion-souzzi-fitzpatrick/index.html

    Modern Fertility is offering a comprehensive fertility test for women who hope to be moms someday

    There are a number of ways to find out more about your fertility these days including from several at-home fertility test startups that have started to pop up in the last few years.Modern Fertility hopes to soon operate in much the same way, but with a more affordable option for testing 10 key hormones affecting womens fertility.

    Though Modern Fertilitys at-home test wont be available till later this year, you can pre-order it on their website for $149 though the price will go up after the pre-order at a yet-to-be determined date. Should you want to get started now, the startup also offers the comprehensive screening through a lab near you, though its not clear what the price is for that.

    The kit includes checking your hormone levels for:

    • Anti-mullerian hormone (AMH)

    • Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)

    • Estradiol (E2)

    • Luteinizing hormone (LH)

    • Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)

    • Free thyroxine (FT4)

    • Progesterone (P4)

    • Prolactin (PRL)

    • Free Testosterone (Free T)

    • Total Testosterone (T)

    Modern Fertility competitor Future Family, a startup offering financing optionsfor egg freezing and IVF procedures, also sells two separate fertility tests you can take at home. The first test kit goes for $300 and includes the three most key hormone tests: AMH, FSH and E2. Future Familys second test, Fertility Age Test Plus, includes testing for the first three hormones and three tests for thyroid dysfunctions TSH, TPO (thyroperoxidase) and T3/T4. (triiodothironine andthyroxine levels) for a similar price.

    Everlywell, a startup offering myriad home health tests, includes a similarly comprehensive fertility kitas Modern Fertility for $400, but with 11 hormone tests and not all of them are the same ones.

    Half the price for more hormone testing seems like a deal. However, theres a hot debate among these startups over just how many of these hormone tests, and which ones, are necessary. Everlywell, for instance, doesnt include AMH because they consider that only necessary if you are about to undergo IVF. Future Family told TechCrunch only the three key tests are necessary unless you need thyroid testing, because the other hormone tests are widely accepted by doctors as not being true indicators of fertility.

    How does each startup determine what is necessary? Everlywell and Future Family are staffed with a chief medical officer to guide them. Modern Fertility is currently in search of the same, but says it pulls its information from medical advisors and has held initial conversations with fertility doctors.

    Obviously, ask your doctor which kit is right for you (or if theres another they suggest). The overall goal for all three is the same empower women with knowledge about their fertility.

    Modern Fertilitys main target is young women who want a family someday, but not necessarily today.

    Were building a test that makes this info accessible to women early in their lives,co-founder Afton Vechery said. We believe that information is the first step.

    Vechery, who was a product lead at 23andMe before starting Modern Family, says she became interested in the space after doing some due diligence in the infertility space for a healthcare private equity firm earlier in her career.

    Thats when I learned the emotional aspect of infertility. Its crazy to me that infertility is not seen as a medical condition in the majority of the U.S. and that such a small percentage of women get the education and services they need to start a family, she said. Thats the part that stuck with me.

    She then went through some testing at a clinic to find out more about her own fertility. That was an impactful moment for her. That is, until she got the $1,500 bill in the mail.

    As I started talking to more women it was clear there was a lot of anxiety over fertility but no way to afford to test it, Vechery said. Every woman should have access to this information that is a better predictor than just our ages.

    Modern Fertility is currently in Y Combinators latest batch. You can catch them later this month at YC Demo Day.

    Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/09/modern-fertility-is-offering-a-comprehensive-fertility-test-for-women-who-hope-to-be-moms-someday/

    Scots alarm growing over Bovine TB case in Cumbria badger – BBC News

    Image copyright AFP
    Image caption Concern is growing among Scottish farmers about the discovery of a deadly cattle disease in a badger in Cumbria

    Concern appears to be growing among farmers in Scotland after Bovine TB was discovered in a badger in Cumbria.

    Although the discovery was made some distance away, there are fears about the impact a spread would have on Scotland’s Bovine TB-free status.

    Further tests are under way to establish whether the disease is isolated to a single badger or part of an outbreak.

    Experts urged farmers not to panic, but to exercise high levels of biosecurity.

    But NFU Scotland said it would be a disaster if Scotland was to lose its Bovine TB-free status.

    The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) discovered the disease in badgers for the first time in about 30 years while investigating 16 cases in cattle in east Cumbria.

    Restrictions on the movement of cattle are in place and further investigations are under way.

    TB-free status

    Professor Rowland Keo, a TB specialist from Glasgow University, said: “We have testing of cows both before they move in from England and also after they move into Scotland. Surveillance is what we need, not panic.”

    Although Scotland has officially been “TB free” since 2009, there are still cases. The designation requires less than a tenth of 1% of herds to have had the condition over the past six years.

    Image copyright Reuters/Rebecca Naden
    Image caption The last case of TB in badgers in Cumbria was in the 1980s

    Figures from Defra show 40 “new herd incidents” in Scotland in the 12 months to April 2017. In England there were 3,786.

    Restrictions on cattle movements and testing are the biggest defences but containment becomes more difficult once the disease spreads to wildlife.

    Scotland’s mountainous geography acts as a helpful barrier for stopping a spread and experts still believe cattle would be the most likely cause.

    TB-free

    The impact of Bovine TB can be devastating with positive tests resulting in an immediate lock-down for farmers.

    That happened in 2015 to Gordon McKilligan who farms near Banff in Aberdeenshire. He was given the all-clear three months later.

    He said: “That’s been the most difficult day I’ve had and knowing what it was going to mean for the whole year, and the knock-on effect it was going to have on everything else, it all went through my mind.

    “It was thoroughly difficult because it meant I was in standstill and couldn’t move anything or sell anything.”

    Being “TB-free” means animals only have to be tested every four years, unless they are being imported from high-risk areas. But the farming community sees a bigger benefit with Scotland trading on a reputation for high health and high welfare.

    NFU Scotland’s animal welfare policy manager, Penny Middleton, said: “It’s a really good thing for Scotland and we were really pleased when we managed to get it.

    “Particularly when we are facing Brexit and have to negotiate our own trade deals it’s going to be a really important thing that we can keep hold of because it could make a big difference for us in the future.”

    Badger culls

    Badgers have been culled in parts of England to control the spread and some are calling for the same in Cumbria.

    Even if there was an outbreak in Scotland, Eddie Palmer from Scottish Badgers thinks it is unlikely there would be culling here.

    He said: “I don’t think any sort of culling experiment or action would happen in Scotland for several reasons.

    “One is that it wouldn’t work, the second thing is it’s really expensive and I think there would be a public outcry about it.

    All of this is a long way off and farmers are hoping the Cumbrian badger proves to be an isolated case.

    Scotland’s chief vet declined to be interviewed about the concerns but the Scottish government said it was monitoring the situation in Cumbria.

    Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-40867854

    Trump at 200 days: Declining approval amid widespread mistrust

    (CNN)Six months into his presidency, Donald Trump’s overall approval rating stands at its lowest point in CNN polling, while three-quarters of Americans say they can’t trust most of what they hear from the White House.

    Overall, 38% say they approve of Trump’s handling of the presidency, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, with 56% saying they disapprove. Just one other newly-elected president has held an approval rating below 50% at this point in his presidency since modern polling began: Bill Clinton, whose approval rating stood at 44% at this point in 1993.
    Enthusiasm breaks against Trump by a 2-to-1 margin. Nearly half in the new poll say they strongly disapprove of Trump’s handling of the job (47%), while just a quarter say they feel strongly positive about Trump’s performance (24%).

      Those numbers have soured in recent months, particularly among Trump’s core supporters. Among Republicans, strong approval has dropped from 73% in February to 59% now. Among whites who do not have college degrees, a core component of Trump’s base, just 35% strongly approve, down 12 points since February. At the same time, strong disapproval among Democrats has held steady around 80%.
      On top issues, Trump’s approval ratings largely tilt negative. And perceptions of the President as someone who will bring change are fading. Just 43% say Trump can “bring the kind of change the country needs,” down from 48% in April, and the share who say he “can manage the government effectively” now stands at 39%, down from 44% in April.
      The poll finds widespread doubts about the veracity of information coming from the White House. Only a quarter of Americans (24%) say they trust all or most of what they hear in official communications from the White House, while more (30%) say they trust “nothing at all” that they hear from the President’s office. (Even among Republicans, only about half say they can trust most of what they hear from the White House.)

      Trump’s acumen as a manager and ability to bring change were the brightest spots for the President in polling conducted before he took office. But cracks in Trump’s base of support are evident in the results on those questions now.
      Among Republicans and independents who lean Republican, the share saying Trump can manage the government effectively has dipped 10 points since April’s CNN/ORC poll. Among whites without a college degree, just 50% see Trump as an effective manager. Those non-college whites are also less likely to see Trump as a change agent, 58% say so now, down from 64% in April.
      Still, these tepid ratings come even as most Americans feel things in the country are going well (53% say so), a number that’s held roughly steady since April.
      That positive feeling hasn’t boosted Trump’s ratings on the issues, however. He gets a mixed 48% approve to 47% disapprove rating on national security, and Americans are also divided on his handling of the economy (47% disapprove to 45% approve). On just about every other issue tested, majorities disapprove of Trump’s work, including on health care policy (62%), foreign affairs (61%), immigration (55%) and helping the middle class (54%). Nearly half (48%) disapprove of his handling of taxes while just 34% approve.
      Looking back over the first 200 days of Trump’s time in office, just 36% say they consider it a success, and 59% consider it a failure. Both Barack Obama and George W. Bush were viewed as successful at this stage of their presidency by most Americans (56% for Bush, 51% for Obama).
      Further, 62% overall say that Trump’s statements and actions since taking office have made them less confident in his ability to be president. Half of whites without college degrees share that view.
      The day-to-day operations of the executive branch appear to be chipping away at confidence in Trump and his management style. Most Americans (59%) say Trump hasn’t paid enough attention to the country’s most important problems. About the same number say his management style and the high rate of turnover in the West Wing hurts the administration’s ability to be effective (58%). Slightly more say Trump has done a poor job assembling a team of top advisers to work in the White House (62%, up from 56% saying so in April).
      Personal praise for the President is scarce, just 30% say they admire the President, and 34% say they are proud to have him as president. A majority (55%) say he has lowered the stature of the office of the president. Six in 10 don’t consider Trump honest and trustworthy.
      Looking more deeply at Trump’s tweets: About 7 in 10 agree with the President’s assessment that they allow him to communicate directly with his supporters without a media filter, but fewer see other positives in his use of the social media service.
      A majority (52%) say his tweets are not an effective way for him to share his views on important issues, and 72% say they do not send the right message to other world leaders.
      Seven in 10 say they too often seem to be in response to TV news the President may have seen, and 71% that they are a risky way for a president to communicate. Six in 10 say they are easy to misunderstand, 63% that they too often turn out to be misleading.
      Few Americans report having personally shared or responded to a tweet from Trump, just 10% say they’ve done that on Twitter or other social media platforms.
      The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS by telephone August 3 through 6 among a random national sample of 1,018 adults. The margin of sampling error for results among the full sample is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points, it is larger for subgroups.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/07/politics/poll-trump-approval-down-amid-distrust/index.html