Training in musical improvisation may teach your brain to think differently

Skilled improvisers were better than musicians with limited improvisational experience at distinguishing between chords that can be used interchangeably in a piece of music and those that cannot, a new study finds. The results suggest that musical improvisation, like so many other skills, improves with practice as the brain learns to categorize musical structures in a new way.

Get Help with Living Expenses

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Need help paying bills and covering basic living expenses?

If you have a low income or are experiencing financial hardship, there are several federal government benefit programs that may be able to help you pay for food, housing, healthcare, and other expenses. Understanding which benefits you qualify for can be a challenge.

USAGov provides information to help you go through the process. Use this infographic to learn about the eligibility requirements and the application process for programs like food stamps, welfare, and Medicaid. This resource can also help you avoid common scams related to government grants and loans.

Visit USA.gov to learn more about government benefits, grants, and loans.

Recognize The Signs of Suicide and Find Help

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Suicide is the second leading cause of death in people between the ages of 15 to 34 in the United States, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The report revealed an increase in suicides in nearly every state from 1999 through 2016. Suicide is a serious public health issue that affects families and communities across the nation.

Its causes can be complex and involve many factors, from mental illness and abuse, to social isolation and depression, but relationship problems and substance misuse are also frequent reasons.

Immediate Help

If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or through chat available 24/7. You can also text a professional for help with the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

If you believe someone is in immediate danger, do not leave the person alone and call 911. Know and share these resources–it could save a life.

Find help 24/7 in Spanish at 1-888-628-9454.

Be Aware; Listen

Every 13 minutes, someone commits suicide in the U.S. There are ways to identify signs and make an approach if you suspect a friend or loved one is considering suicide

Service Members and Veterans

  • Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support.
  • Find support and help for military members before, during, or after service.  
  • Take the Self-Check Quiz to learn whether stress and depression might be affecting you.

Preventing Addiction: Share Your Story

National Prevention Week 2018 Hashtag Dear Future Me.

Between the endless chores, the demanding boss, and your children’s activities, you’re super busy and sometimes a little stressed out. It can be hard to remain strong for your family and get through the tough days without relying on alcohol or drugs to cope. The conscious choices you make now can help protect you and your family from substance abuse in the future.  

During National Prevention Week, May 13-19, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) encourages families to take action today for a healthier tomorrow.

Start a Discussion on Drugs With a Family Project

One way to take action and begin a discussion with your kids is to create a family project. Encourage them to write letters, draw pictures, or create videos telling their future selves about the things they’re doing now that will help them be healthier in the years to come. In turn, share stories with them of when you were younger and the lessons you learned from good or bad decisions that taught you about alcohol or drugs. You and your kids can join the movement and share your stories on social media during National Prevention Week using the hashtags #DearFutureMe and #NPW2018. As an added bonus, the letters or videos of those stories can become part of your family history to be shared with future generations.

By beginning the discussion today, you can help your family stay safe and make smart choices about their tomorrow.

Find Help for Yourself or a Loved One

If you or someone you care about is struggling with alcohol or drugs, USA.gov’s collection of hotlines and local support groups and treatment centers can help whenever you or they are ready.

Protect Yourself and Your Money Every Day

0:00 [Music]

00:02 You are in the middle of your day and you

00:04 receive an email. A company or

00:06 organization asking you to go to a

00:08 website to enter your personal

00:10 information to verify your account. 

00:13 It seems legitimate, but you wonder… is it a

00:15 scam? While some scams seem obvious

00:18 others can be confusing to anyone

00:20 without the proper information. Having

00:23 that trusted official information on the

00:25 latest scams and how to report them is

00:27 one of the best ways to protect your

00:29 hard-earned money and safeguard your

00:31 private information. The Consumer Action

00:34 Handbook is a free guide that provides

00:37 general tips resources and advice to

00:40 protect your consumer rights. The

00:42 handbook has information to help you

00:44 file a complaint about a purchase and

00:46 even includes a sample complaint letter

00:48 among many other resources. Order or

00:53 download a free copy for yourself, a

00:55 family member or a local organization at

00:58 USA.gov forward slash handbook

01:00  You can also subscribe to us a USAGov free

01:03 email alerts to stay informed on the

01:05 latest consumer information scams

01:08 product recalls and more at connect

01:11 USA.gov forward slash subscribe