Reads of the Week: Lockdowns Damaging Child Mental Health, Anti-Housing Environmentalists, and Postal Service Reforms - America's Future

March 19, 2021

Professional Development

Reads of the Week: Lockdowns Damaging Child Mental Health, Anti-Housing Environmentalists, and Postal Service Reforms

By: AF Editors

Each week, we’ll be featuring opinion pieces from the alumni and current participants of AF’s Writing Fellows Program. A few highlights from the past week are below. Do you dream of having bylines like these? Learn more about how the Writing Fellows Program can help boost your writing career!

Child Suicide is Becoming an ‘International Epidemic’ Amid Restricted Pandemic Life, Doctors Warn by Brad Polumbo (Summer 2018) in FEE

Billions of people across the globe continue to live under COVID-19 lockdowns or heavily-restricted life. And for almost all of us, life amid the pandemic in 2020 was an isolating and difficult year. Yet doctors are warning that children in particular are experiencing grave mental health consequences as a result of the lockdowns—leading to an “international epidemic” of child suicide. 

The Associated Press interviewed Dr. David Greenhorn on the subject, who works in the emergency department at England’s Bradford Royal Infirmary. The number of mental health crises he has seen, such as suicide attempts, has gone from a couple per week pre-pandemic to now several per day…

Editor’s Note: Brad recently testified before the Senate on this subject. You can read and watch his full testimony here.

How Californians Are Weaponizing Environmental Law by Nolan Gray (Fall 2015) in The Atlantic

By any reasonable metric, the empty lot on the corner of First and Lorena Street in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles is a natural place to build housing. With a bus stop next door and an Expo Line light-rail station less than a quarter mile away, residents would enjoy an easy 30-minute commute to one of the densest business districts in North America. They could walk to daily necessities such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and restaurants, making car ownership mostly optional. And thanks to the energy efficiencies of multifamily living, folks moving in from the sprawl that otherwise defines L.A. would see their environmental impact plummet.

Yet when a local nonprofit developer proposed several years ago to build a 49-unit apartment building on the lot—with 24 homes set aside for disabled veterans experiencing homelessness—it was slammed with an environmental lawsuit…

USPS Fairness Act not fair to retirees, taxpayers by Jen Sidorova (Spring 2019) in the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

The United States Postal Service has been struggling to pay its retiree healthcare benefit bill for years. And now, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is proposing a new approach to “fixing” USPS, one that includes postal-rate increases and significant changes to retiree healthcare.

USPS currently has over $120 billion in unfunded pension and other post-employment benefits. In an attempt to lower USPS’s short-term costs associated with saving for retirees’ benefits, DeJoy is working with lawmakers on legislation that would eliminate the current prefunding requirement for retirement benefits. His plan would also place USPS current and future retirees in Medicare rather than fund the private healthcare benefits retirees currently enjoy…