A few days ago, Raspberry Pi mentioned that they would have an announcement today, Leap Day. For those who don’t know, Raspberry Pi (wiki article) is a teensy tiny inexpensive computer intended to help stimulate the teaching and learning of computer sciences and programming. The low low price of the models (£22 ($35), and eventually a cheaper model at £16 ($25)) is to basically put it in the pocket money range; it’s a bit of kit kids can afford and won’t feel so guilty if they break while they’re learning.
Oh yes, so the announcement – they’re on sale finally! Of course, you still have to buy the peripherals – the mouse, the keyboard, the monitor, but still! It’s a complete little computer, and that’s just neat. I fully intend to get my hands on one and give it a whirl. I like that the end customer is to be children, to help encourage a love of technology. I might have been one naturally, as was my husband, but then I think about people like my sister, who a decade ago couldn’t even hook up a PC (even though they’re oh… color coded. Seriously. And I thought that different pin counts was easy enough to savvy!)). Access to this sort of bare bones kit is a great way for children to learn, and hopefully, encourage them to reach beyond the bounds of techno comfort. Not enough to get electrocuted though, hee hee.
On a less positive ‘I knew it’ note, I saw this yesterday:
Mentally ill ‘at high risk of being victim of violence’
The popular stereotype is that us who are mentally ill are all raging stabby psychopaths one breath away from going on a murderous spree. Everybody ‘knows’ this, which is why so many of my friends disguise the fact that they are bipolar or have a personality disorder, or whatever. They don’t want to be treated differently to anyone else, of course, so better to sit on it… right? I disagree, obviously; the only reason I wasn’t upfront in the past is because I did not know for sure what was wrong with me. Now that I know, I’ll own the crap out of it.
Here’s an especially telling quote from the article:
‘The underlying reasons are complex, but people with mental illnesses can be more likely to struggle with personal relationships, and have a greater likelihood of substance abuse, homelessness, being imprisoned or living in poverty, each of which raises the risk of being the victim of violence.’
Diagnosed or not, those of us with mental illnesses are fighting, fighting to have a semblance of a normal life. When the way we relate to people is different from the norm, it can put normal people off; I think it is incredibly difficult for someone who does not have a mental illness to understand this. And even if they do, they are still predisposed to expect a certain reaction in a certain range, which when not received, triggers a response that is potentially negative. This is damaging to the psyche of the mentally unwell, which leads to drug use and other bad lifestyle choices as a way to get by. As the article states, this leaves a person even more vulnerable; it is an incredibly vicious cycle that is incredibly difficult to break, especially keeping in mind the stigma and abuse that being mentally ill seems to invite!
The nice thing is that people are on the whole getting more honest about their mental states. It’s harder to hide when we’re all wound up so tight that it becomes impossible to claim that everything is okay. I don’t know how it is elsewhere, but I will give minor props to the government here for putting more money into mental health care for children, and for running adverts trying to help remove the stigma of mental illness. It would be fantastic in my lifetime to see an end to it – I’m not counting on it, but at least they are steps in the right direction. And really, it boils down to that one thing I’ll beat on and on about forever – be excellent to each other. 😉