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Diversity in gaming

Times are changing, and with so many titles being so influential to the growing audience, it’s an opportunity that can’t be missed in the goal for equality and diversity, and with the ability to change so quickly, gaming could certainly be a leading player.

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The social climate has been changing in recent years, inclusion is the hot topic and it is being seen absolutely everywhere as all forms of media are starting to show this – from popular culture in movies and TV to music, one area that has been a little slow to respond however is within gaming as little change had been seen – until now, as upcoming and existing titles are starting to be much more inclusive for different audiences.

The most recognizable has certainly been from the newest project set to release from studio CD Projekt Red in Cyberpunk 2077 – the title set to release later this year has been very open around how players are able to identify their character and how these choices will impact the story throughout. 

Upon creation, the usual gender selection option won’t be available as players will leave that up to their own choice and will be able to style their character or avatar however they choose without gender restrictions being present, the developers had also mentioned that the romance system within the game would also be up to player interpretation as the promise of LGBTQ romance options has widespread – the huge number of romancible characters will be available to any player and that the approach toward gender for the games protagonist, V, is a huge reason behind the flexibility here.

Image from PCgamer.com

Other more established names have started to enter this space too – one of the biggest games in the world in World of Warcraft has been a long established title, capturing millions of players since its initial launch in 2004 and something that is very influential for many – and yet once again another title that is looking to reach out and include others with the growing support by introducing a character in the story that supports the LGBTQ movement as provides those within the game a sense of representation – whilst it may be a small first step, it could lead to something bigger within a game that already has so much reach. 

It won’t be long before many others get on board too with increasing calls for representation wherever possible – mobile gaming may be the next big target as it has started to capture a growing audience and is the biggest gaming market in the world, particularly across certain genres where character representations can make up a big part of the game without directly influencing the gameplay itself – online casinos have been one of these as character representation is often a big part of the sell and have been one of the fastest growing genres despite changes to regulation, those found at Maximum Casinos have started to cater to the wider audience and may amongst the next in line to start offering a more diverse approach.

It’s certainly changing times, and with so many titles being so influential to the growing audience, it’s an opportunity that can’t be missed in the goal for equality and diversity, and with the ability to change so quickly, gaming could certainly be a leading player.

Health & Wellness

Experiencing police violence worsens mental health in distinct ways

Simply put, the experience of police violence puts Black, Latino, Indigenous, and sexual minority communities at higher risk of distinct mental health problems, in addition to greater risk of death at the hands of police.

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The experience of police violence is associated with mental and emotional trauma distinct from that caused by other kinds of violence, creating a public health crisis for communities most affected.

Simply put, the experience of police violence puts Black, Latino, Indigenous, and sexual minority communities at higher risk of distinct mental health problems, in addition to greater risk of death at the hands of police, according to the paper.

The study is authored by a group of researchers at several universities, including UC Riverside, who have been examining the mental health effects of police violence at the population level for several years.

“It’s a public health issue because police violence is not experienced equally in our society but instead has a disproportionate effect on the mental health of racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities,” said Bruce Link, a UC Riverside distinguished professor of sociology and public policy. “The point of our paper is to indicate why the experience of police violence is uniquely stressful and therefore particularly impactful.”

People who have experienced police violence have few options for redress. They must report incidents to the same police departments that abused them in the first place.

Psychologists agree that trauma spurs biological or psychological changes that manifest over time as psychiatric symptoms, particularly when the trauma is sexually or physically violent. Research on stressful life events, especially uncontrollable events, has attempted to provide a broader framework for how stress may affect a person’s usual activities, goals, and values, but until recently this approach has not been applied to police violence.

Link, along with Jordan DeVylder of Fordham University and Lisa Fedina of the University of Michigan, reviewed numerous studies of the effects of police violence on mental health in a paper called “Impact of police violence on mental health: a theoretical framework,” and identified eight factors distinct to police violence.

Police violence is state sanctioned

Unlike most other forms of violence, police violence is embedded in a history of state-enforced practices that permitted cruel, unusual, and dehumanizing punishment of individuals deemed to be from so-called “dangerous classes,” particularly Blacks. Communities of color and LGBTQ communities have been historically subjected to discriminatory laws, such as Jim Crow laws and sodomy laws, which permitted harassment and excessive and fatal force against individuals from these communities.

The police are a pervasive presence

Police are everywhere, especially in low-income communities of color. People who have experienced violent or stressful encounters with police have no way to avoid being around constant reminders of these painful experiences, or the fear of future encounters.

There are limited options for recourse

People who have experienced police violence have few options for redress. They must report incidents to the same police departments that abused them in the first place. Police are authorized to use force in a wide variety of situations and survivors have to prove that the violence was not legitimate. Because they have few options for reporting an incident, for legal recourse, or for advocacy services and referrals to mental health treatment, any mental health symptoms they have may worsen over time.

Police culture deters internal accountability

Violence committed through institutions, rather than interpersonal relationships, is supported by organizational cultures that condone it. Police often maintain a code of silence around violence and therefore often fail to hold each other accountable. This amounts to gaslighting survivors who do report incidents, potentially worsening mental health symptoms.

Police violence alters deeply held beliefs

Many are taught that police protect them and their communities from various dangers and help in emergencies. A single violent encounter can shatter this belief for an individual, but when police violence is the norm, instead of an isolated incident, the community at large loses trust in the police as an institution and, often correctly, comes to regard them as part of the problem.

Racial and economic disparities in exposure

Police violence is disproportionately directed at people of color, especially Blacks and Latinos, potentially leading to diminished feelings of self-worth and value within American society.

Police violence is stigmatizing

Because police are allowed to use force in many situations, survivors of police violence are often blamed for the encounter. Their actions are heavily scrutinized and faulted to justify the officers’ actions, especially by members of groups that benefit from the social order policing upholds. Moreover, many people have friends and relatives who work as police officers, making it feel like a betrayal to report incidents of police violence.

Police are typically armed

Unlike police in many countries, American police carry firearms and police departments have become heavily militarized. Police are given broad latitude to determine when and how to deploy force. Every interaction with police holds the possibility of violence, and for communities subjected to routine overpolicing, this threat brings additional challenges for mental health.

The researchers call for a framework to examine the mental health consequences of police violence that takes into account these points. However, implicit in their analysis are solutions for the public health crisis caused by police violence, such as demilitarizing police, holding police accountable when untoward events occur, ending the overpolicing of communities of color, providing better reporting options and support for survivors of police violence, and policies that build mutual trust between police and the communities they are meant to serve.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Online merch store solutions in 2020

From creating custom t-shirts, warm hoodies, high-quality face masks, and posters to send to your audience, these websites provide the most popular merchandise in 2020. Without further delay, these are the best merch websites to join.

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Having a merch store to please your audience and to generate some revenue is one of the popular techniques to make money online. In fact, to display modern merch as a YouTuber, as a streamer, or as an online business is essential to improve your offline marketing strategy and elevate your brand.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the best modern merch suppliers you need to know about. From the best merch websites to the best merch stores for streamers and YouTubers, we’ve got you covered.

From creating custom t-shirts, warm hoodies, high-quality face masks, and posters to send to your audience, these websites provide the most popular merchandise in 2020. Without further delay, these are the best merch websites to join.

Amazon Merch 

Amazon Merch is one of the best merch websites in the e-commerce world. In fact, with the speedy turnaround and professional graphic artists, you will be assured quality designs trickle in as fast as your customers purchase them. One of the greatest benefits of using Amazon Merch is that you can sell your products with an affiliate link and get paid on each sale you make. This will be a great way to get started earning while enjoying your home-based business.

In addition, it is definitely one of the best merch companies for YouTubers and it’s easy. If you are new to online selling, Amazon Merch is an easy way to make your first sale without having to invest a lot of money. With a little research and the right tools, anyone can become a successful online entrepreneur. 

With so many choices and a wide range of products, there is certainly something you can sell. Use Amazon Merch to get started and enjoy the fruits of your hard work in making a profit from your audience while pleasing them.

Find Your Merch Here : https://www.gemnote.com/lookbook

Amplifier

Amplifier is another one of the best merch stores for streamers and YouTubers to make money online while advertising their brand online and offline. For a reasonable amount, you can design high-quality and appealing products. 

The shipping cost is an important thing to consider and this can affect the total selling price of the product. With the help of Online Merch Store Solutions like Amplifier, it will be possible to avoid shipping costs and will also increase the profit margin for the retailer.

Amplifier is also easy to use which is very convenient when you’re a busy streamer or businessman. From hoodies, posters, hats, and even face masks, you’ll be able to design any product you can think of and generate revenue out of the affiliate links on your social media.

Printify

Printify provides a print on demand service so you won’t need to worry about keeping your stock around and definitely not to worry about losing money. Needless to say, that’s exactly what you’re looking for in the best merch websites.

In addition, you’ll have the option to create a free account. If you are thinking that you will only be using the Printify Website, then you should realize that you do not need a full version. If you are thinking that this will be used as a one-time marketing effort for your business, then you should realize that you will have to purchase the program in order to be able to use it. 

To conclude, you can design, produce, and sell custom products for a small price. For instance, t-shirts, hoodies, accessories, and even phone cases.

Bonfire

If you are looking for a way to increase sales with custom products, it’s never been easier. With Bonfire and a number of best merch websites now available, you can create an online store with high-quality products that will appeal to shoppers everywhere. 

You will be able to sell a wide range of items such as posters, t-shirts, hats, bags, wall art, clothing, and anything else you can think of. If you are interested in creating your own online store, there is an extensive range of items you can choose from, including many different styles and colors. Your choice of merchandise can range from an array of popular and high-quality items to items that reflect your favorite culture and the Bonfire lifestyle.

If you are looking for the best products to sell for your business, there are a number of things you should consider. For example, if you run a large business and you are looking to expand your reach to new areas, you’ll want to focus on products that are in demand. For this reason, Bonfire has everything you’re looking for.  

To sum up, Bonfire is one of the best merch stores for streamers and, of course, they provide the best selling merch items for your brand.

Spreadshop

Spreashop is one of the easiest and best merch stores for streamers, YouTubers, and content writers. If you are an owner of a Spreadshop Merch Store, you will know that you must constantly maintain your business in order to earn money. 

If you are new to this type of store, you are going to have to spend time learning how to market it. However, if you already have an established business of your own, and you know what works, then Spreadshop may be exactly what you’re looking for.

You will be able to create new products, sell them, and ultimately generate revenue for your brand. In addition to all of this, you are going to be saving a lot of time. In fact, Spreadshop is incredibly easy to use, and you won’t need to hire someone to help you with this unless you’re running out of time.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Things you need to know about Toughened Laminated Glass

Nowadays, normal uses include situations where human interference is needed to manage the possibility of glass shattering as this could cause mishappenings. Other applications also include situations in need of bullet-resistant glass, sound insulation glass, architecture designs, military helmets, and bullet-resistant shields.

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Toughened Laminated Glass is also known as Toughened Safety Glass or Tempered Toughened Glass. It is about four to five times stronger than the Normal Annealed Glass.

The manufacturing of this glass is complicated, it is thermally heat-treated (564° C to 620°C) and chemically balanced for better handling of the compressive and tensile stresses. Due to thermal heat treatment, it is better known as Tempered Toughened Glass. The tempering process subjected to intense heating of glass and then the glass is put in the chemical process for rapid cooling during manufacture.

It was invented by a French chemist Edouard Benedictus in 1903. Edouard invented this type of glass after being inspired by a car accident where the victim was injured by the shattering pieces of glass windshield.  In 1905, John Crewe Wood from the Swindon, England patented the use of Toughened Laminated Glass as windshields. But it took a long time for the automobile industry to accept it as a windshield option, as the cost was comparatively higher than the normal windshield used at that time. But in 1930, the British parliament passed a Road Traffic Act to make the Toughened Laminated Glass windshield compulsory for new cars.

With this, the windshield breaks but the glass doesn’t shatter in the car or on the driver. This is due to the bonding between several sheets of annealed panes of glass with the sheets of plastic interlayer in between them. Now, if there is an accident that causes the windshield to shatter, the windshield stays together with the glass only having web-like cracks. Glass is also not easy to break or cut if there is an accident and if passengers need to be rescued.

A typical Toughened Laminated Glass manufacturing is like a sandwich, where two or more layers o f glass are attached, and each glass is linked to the other layer with laminate interlayer [Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB), Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)]. The interlayer bonds the glass sheets, functioning even when the glass is broken. It also prevents the glass from being shattered into large, razor edge pieces. 

Nowadays, normal uses include situations where human interference is needed to manage the possibility of glass shattering as this could cause mishappenings. Other applications also include situations in need of bullet-resistant glass, sound insulation glass, architecture designs, military helmets, and bullet-resistant shields.

Properties of Toughened Laminated Glass:

  1. Radiation Reflective Index of 1.50
  2. Able to filter 99% of UV rays
  3. Specific Gravity of 1.07
  4. If glass layers shatter, then the pieces stay together

Applications of Toughened Laminated Glass:

  1. Making complex design, e.g. fighter planes cockpit windshield
  2. Noise reduction window and door
  3. Security and safety glasses, e.g. for banks and jewelry shops
  4. Provides insulation against radiation, noise and fire (withstand high temperature up to 250° C).
  5. UV protection, particularly when used for space missions/International Space  Station
  6. For architecture designs, e.g. Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge
  7. Provides blast protection
  8. Bullet-resistant glass for windshield, first used during World War II for soldiers’ helmets
  9. For display and exhibition areas
  10. Frameless glass doors, furniture, glass shelves and glass table tops
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Health & Wellness

Lesbian, gay and bisexual people more likely to suffer migraines; discrimination may be to blame

Many members of sexual minority groups experience prejudice, stigma, and discrimination termed sexual minority stress, which could trigger or exacerbate migraine. Furthermore, members of sexual minority groups may encounter barriers to health care and experience greater physical and mental health problems, which could contribute to migraine.

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Members of the LGBTQIA community may have migraines at a higher rate than their straight counterparts, according to a study that suggested that this may be due to sexual minority stress brought about by prejudice, stigma and discrimination.

The study – “Disparities Across Sexual Orientation in Migraine Among US Adults” – was published in the journal JAMA.

Dr. Jason Nagata, lead author of the study, told Insider that the study was actually not able to evaluate why sexual minorities might experience migraines at a higher rate than straight people. However, “lesbian, gay and bisexual people may experience prejudice and discrimination which can lead to stress and trigger a migraine… They may also face barriers to accessing health care which can lead to worsened health,” he was quoted as saying.

For this study, the sample consisted of 9,894 adults, with a mean age of 37.33 years, of whom 51.0% (n = 5705) were women and 49.0% men (n = 4189). Participants identified as exclusively heterosexual (n = 8426 [85.8%]), mostly heterosexual (n = 1062 [10.0%]), or lesbian, gay, or bisexual (n = 406 [4.2%]).

Migraine was measured based on self-report in response to the interview question, “Have you ever had five or more headaches that were at least four hours long; one-sided, pulsating, intense, or worsened by activity; and associated with nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light or sound?”. This was consistent with the International Classification of Headache Disorders, third edition diagnostic criteria for migraine without aura.

Sexual orientation was categorized into three categories: exclusively heterosexual; mostly heterosexual but somewhat attracted to people of one’s own sex; or lesbian, gay, or bisexual, as has been previously categorized.

Logistic regression analysis was conducted using Stata version 15.1 (StataCorp) with sexual orientation as the independent variable and migraine as the dependent variable, adjusting for sex, race/ethnicity, age, education, income, smoking, and alcohol use1 and incorporating national sample weighting.

The study noted that prevalence of migraine was higher among individuals who reported being mostly heterosexual (n = 327 [30.3%]) and lesbian, gay, or bisexual (n = 112 [30.7%]) compared with those who reported being exclusively heterosexual (n = 1631 [19.4%]).

In its analysis, the researchers noted that “many members of sexual minority groups experience prejudice, stigma, and discrimination termed sexual minority stress, which could trigger or exacerbate migraine. Furthermore, members of sexual minority groups may encounter barriers to health care and experience greater physical and mental health problems, which could contribute to migraine.”

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Lifestyle & Culture

The potential benefits of cannabis use

There are many benefits that come with the use of cannabis, but it should nonetheless be used with caution and in line with local laws and regulations. Cannabis is being legalized all over the country and the world at the moment though, so now is a good time to gain a better understanding of its benefits.

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If you’re thinking of using cannabis, whether as for medical use or recreational use after your local area has legalized the substance, it’s a good idea to first understand the benefits associated with it. Like any drug, the effects will differ from person to person, but there is a range of benefits you can expect when it comes to using the substance.

IMAGE SOURCE: PIXABAY.COM

You can find out more about these below, so keep reading.

Encouraging Better Sleep

Insomnia and other sleep-related problems can massively damage a person’s quality of life. If it’s something that you’ve experienced, you’ll know exactly how frustrating these kinds of problems can be. And cannabis is one of the things that people often used to correct their sleeping problems and start getting to sleep a little easier.

Combating Inflammation Problems

For many people, the reason for taking cannabis is inflammation issues. Cannabis is known for being one of the best drugs for combating inflammation, and it’s a problem that many people deal with. There are certain foods that help to reduce inflammation-related issues as well, but none or better at doing this job than cannabis, and that’s why so many use it.

Reduce Pain Problems

Chronic pain is very often treated with cannabis. That’s because the properties present in cannabis helped to reduce the feeling of pain and the causes behind it. If you’re dealing with chronic pain and none of the other forms of treatment have helped improve the situation, this might be an option for you to explore. 

Reducing Symptoms Linked to Certain Conditions and Treatments

For people who have specific medical conditions, marijuana has long been used as a way of treating the symptoms. People who are going through harsh treatments such as chemotherapy often use cannabis to reduce the symptoms. And there’s a range of other conditions and treatments that have their symptoms reduced. You can visit a Harvest HOC for more on these benefits.

Circulation and Blood Sugar Benefits

Some people find that their diabetes can be improved with the help of cannabis. That’s because cannabis helps to stabilize your blood sugar level, making it easier to keep it consistent, which is one of the toughest things for many diabetics to achieve. Cannabis can also help with circulation issues, which many diabetics also suffer from. With those two things combined, it’s not so surprising why so many people with diabetes turn to cannabis to help them.

There are many benefits that come with the use of cannabis, but it should nonetheless be used with caution and in line with local laws and regulations. Cannabis is being legalized all over the country and the world at the moment though, so now is a good time to gain a better understanding of its benefits.

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Health & Wellness

With childhood sexual abuse, mental and physical after-effects closely linked

The key takeaway from this study is that one-sided treatment – one that addresses just the psychological after-effects or just the physical trauma – is inadequate. There is a need to follow a combined approach to treatment that doesn’t view these issues as separate.

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A Canadian study reveals that the psychological and physical effects of childhood sexual abuse are closely tied. The finding could help healthcare professionals develop more effective interventions and ultimately improve mental and physical health outcomes for survivors of abuse in childhood.

Authored by Pascale Vézina-Gagnon, a PhD candidate at Université de Montréal’s Department of Psychology, under the supervision of Professor Isabelle Daigneault, the study is published today in Health Psychology.

Twice as many diagnoses

The long-term consequences of childhood sexual abuse on survivors’ health have only been recognized recently.

An initial study of 1,764 children and adolescents, published in 2018, showed that girls who survived substantiated cases of sexual abuse received 2.1 times as many diagnoses of urinary health issues and 1.4 times as many diagnoses of genital health issues than girls in the general population.

This finding prompted a subsequent study to determine why and how sexual-abuse survivors suffered from genitourinary problems more often than their peers in the general population.

Specifically, the second study aimed to gain a better understanding of this phenomenon by testing the theory that increased psychological distress is partly responsible for the higher incidence of genitourinary issues – such as urinary tract infections, vaginitis and pain during sex or menstruation – among childhood sexual-abuse survivors.

‘A combined approach to treatment’

“The key takeaway from this study is that one-sided treatment – one that addresses just the psychological after-effects or just the physical trauma – is inadequate,” said Vézina-Gagnon. “We need to follow a combined approach to treatment that doesn’t view these issues as separate.”

She added: “Interdisciplinary care is increasingly becoming the standard, and that’s the message we hope our research sends to general practitioners, pediatricians, urologists, gynecologists, psychologists and psychiatrists so that they can help children recover as much as possible.”

This is the first study to look at the relationship between genitourinary and psychological issues over such a long period of time – more than a decade – in such a large sample of child survivors of substantiated sexual abuse versus a comparison group.

1,322 girls studied

The researchers used medical data provided by Quebec’s public health insurance agency, the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec, and the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services. The study involved 661 girls between the ages of 1 and 17 who survived one or more instances of substantiated sexual abuse and a comparison group of 661 girls from the general population.

The researchers had access to anonymized data on genitourinary and mental health diagnoses received following medical consultations or hospital stays the girls went through between 1996 and 2013. Several variables were taken into account, such as socioeconomic status, the number of years of access to medical data, and individual predispositions to genitourinary health problems before the sexual abuse occurred.

Childhood sexual abuse includes fondling and petting, oral sex, actual or attempted penetration, voyeurism, indecent exposure, inducement to engage in sexual activity and sexual exploitation (prostitution).

‘A wider range of psychiatric issues’

“The results show that girls who were sexually abused were more likely to see a health professional for a wider range of psychiatric issues–anxiety, mood disorders, schizophrenia or substance abuse–than girls in the comparison group,” said Vézina-Gagnon. “These consultations were also associated with more frequent medical appointments or hospitalizations for genital and urinary issues in the years after the sexual abuse was reported.”

The researchers also found that the more girls consulted their doctors or were hospitalized for multiple psychiatric issues (so-called comorbid psychiatric disorders) after experiencing abuse, the more importantly this explained subsequent genital health issues (62%) and urinary health issues (23%). This difference observed between genital and urinary health (62% vs. 23%) may be explained by factors not included in this study, said Vézina-Gagnon.

The key takeaway from this study is that one-sided treatment – one that addresses just the psychological after-effects or just the physical trauma – is inadequate. There is a need to follow a combined approach to treatment that doesn’t view these issues as separate.

“Additional studies are needed to investigate this difference and determine whether other important variables – ones that we didn’t have information on, such as the severity, length and frequency of the abuse -could be associated with more severe genitourinary health outcomes,” she said.

Two hypotheses offered

“On an emotional and behavioural level, two hypotheses can be formulated to explain these findings,” said Vézina-Gagnon. The first is that the association is due to a hypervigilant response. Survivors of sexual abuse who are affected by several mental health issues – such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder – may become hypervigilant or more likely to notice symptoms related to their genital or urinary health, which would lead them to see their doctor more frequently.

“In contrast,” she continued, “the second hypothesis is that the association is caused by avoidant behaviour. Survivors may put off or avoid asking for help or seeing a doctor for genitourinary issues, thereby increasing the risk that such problems deteriorate or become chronic conditions. Gynecological care may trigger memories of past abuse (due to the imbalance of power between patients and doctors, the removal of clothing, feelings of vulnerability and physical pain) and it may therefore be especially difficult for these girls.”

Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels.com

Toward a holistic approach

The study’s findings align with the scientific literature on health psychology and abuse, and once again highlight how important it is to consider the relationship between physical and mental health,” said Vézina-Gagnon. A holistic approach (body-mind approach) is therefore needed to help girls recover from sexual trauma, she maintains.

“In light of these findings, healthcare practitioners should assess the level of psychological distress experienced by survivors of childhood sexual abuse who report genitourinary issues and direct them to the right mental health resources” Vézina-Gagnon said.

“The researchers behind this study believe that early and targeted intervention to reduce psychological distress among survivors may be helpful in preventing genitourinary issues from deteriorating or turning into chronic conditions.”

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