Is there still a stigma attached to Mental Health in childcare?

Corrie - posted on 05/05/2011 ( 62 moms have responded )

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I found myself perusing a 'Working Moms' community, and noticed a post by a mother asking whether or not she should hire a nanny who had Bi-Polar Disorder.
The answers were varied and different, and i was thoroughly suprised by the sheer amount of "NO" answers, with no attached reasons or opinions.
I wondered if many mothers would/wouldn't leave their child in the care of someone with a known disability or disorder.
There are lots of different types of childcare out there, and obviously SAHMoms, but it's hard to imagine that within the numerous amounts of day care centre, kindergarden, nursery staff and nannys, there isn't a single one with some form of mental health history or current problem.
Where is the line between Disability and Disorder/Disease? Should every parent be informed if a creche worker or support staff member has clinical, medical or just Time of the Month issues?
Just wondered what you thought....
I have personal reasons for asking, but as of this moment i don't have a specific view to voice.

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Carolyn - posted on 05/06/2011

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unless you work in your local ER or have access to psychiatric records and medical records, anyone can tell you anything and you would be none the wiser until an actual problem occured.



You would be AMAZED at the number of individuals you trust with your life, personal information, safety, financials and your children that have mental health issues. I wonder how many doctors out there, surgeons, emts, etc, live with mental health issues of varying degrees ? I wonder how many school/ city bus drivers live with depression, OCD, bipolar etc ?



mental illness does not make you unemployable, otherwise, a much larger population of the world would be unemployed.



Mental illness also doesnt make you stupid either, typically, those who are sypmtomatic or chronic to the point where they are unable to care for children, generally know that as well and wouldnt enter the feild.



Do you disclose your mental illness history in your resume when looking for a job ? you could actually sue someone for asking you questions pertaining to such information in an interview.



There are also some people without mental health issues who have no business looking after children...



basically my point is, mental illness is everywhere, whether you know or see it or not. Its there. People of all responsibilities, jobs, etc live with, cope with and manage to live healthy productive lives.



Id like to add as well, that any "sane" non - mentally ill person can just snap. You dont have to have a diagnosed disorder, people have psychotic breaks with no prior history of mental illness.



So are you also going to pry into every aspect of someones personal life to determine the level of stress they may be under which could lead to a psychotic break or loss of contact with reality ?



but yeah that lady with a clean criminal record, nice demeaner and who doesnt have bipolar could very well be molesting your children when you leave for work as well.

[deleted account]

There's people out there without any diagnosed mental health illness who are crap at there job in the childcare area.



I would trust in there ability to care for my children.As they would not be in the area if they were not.

To me there personal health issues do not come into question.Many mothers have mental health issues and are fantastic mothers& also many who work in childcare do a great job, they might have mental health issues but there not going to be cleared if the doctors feel there not stable to work with children.



If i was happy with the care they were giving my children, thats all that matters to me.Here were i live and i am a qualified childcare worker.(out of work now)You have to be cleared by a doctor and by the police to work with children.



I think its ignorance that makes people say things about mental health issues.When we don't understand things we make rude and presumptuous comments.We need to be educated about mental health issues.So many are affected by this.We need to be open minded and have compassion about the subject.IMHO

[deleted account]

For me, it would depend a lot on the disability/disorder, AND the amount of supervision the person was under with my child.

If I were leaving him in a group daycare setting with multiple teachers and an administrative staff, I do not think I would be terribly concerned if one of the caretakers had a history of mental disorder, but I would want to make sure the disorder was under control and had been for at least some time, maybe a year or so.

If I were leaving him in a situation where the caretaker was watching him by herself, then I would probably not leave him with someone who has a history of mental illness.

I would trust the administration and other caretakers to be aware of the condition and know how to spot signs of a laps and what action they need to take to protect my son, whereas, if the caretaker were alone, there would be no one to notice the signs and protect him.

My sister has a history, and I love her very much, and I love letting her have a relationship with my son, but I cannot trust her to take him on her own. She has Borderline Personality and I have seen her "snap" after years free of incident. She could easily kill him or permanently damage him in one of these "episodes" as we like to call them. BPD is often misdiagnosed as Bi-Polar Disorder early on, and my fear would be leaving him with someone who thinks they have Bi-Polar disorder and has it under control, who actually has BPD and snaps while they are caring for my son (BPD is usually set off by stressful situations, so caring for a child would be a likely switch).

Katie - posted on 05/06/2011

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I grew up with a father who suffered from severe manic depression. He was unmedicated for a great majority of the time that he was actively in my life. Due to to the chemical imbalance, along with a host of other physical issues, addictions and whatnot he now lives in a home at 53 and has been diagnosed with the late stages of early onset alzheimer's, although I strongly believe that he suffers from vascular dementia. Anyways, growing up with him was not easy. As he was unwilling to undergo treatment, be it therapy or medication my family dealt (poorly) with the intense mood swings, violence, lack of judgment and mania that accompanied his particular disorder.



As someone who suffers with some "minor" (they don't feel minor to me sometimes lol) mental health issues (hypochondriasis, GAD, post traumatic stress syndrome) I have struggled in my adult life with the stereotypes that surround mental illness and it hasn't been an easy thing.



If someone had their condition under control and had proven to be a competent caretaker then I don't think I would have an issue letting them care for my son. It is difficult for me having had far more experience with people who not only do not have their condition under control, but won't even admit or recognize that they have a condition.



It is a difficult thing to say whether I think that parents should be informed if their child's caretaker has a mental disorder/disability. The rational logical part of me says that anyone can snap, or have a bad day. The crazy overprotective mommy part of me would like to know everything about every one who is around my child from the important to the downright unimportant. I guess that the decision to tell parents about a mental health issue should be based entirely on the particular situation as there seems to be a heck of a lot more grey area than black and white.

Corrie - posted on 05/06/2011

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Thanks for the replies ladies.
It' interesting that a lot of you either have yourself, have children with, or have experience of Mental Disorders.
I've heard the words "Everyone get's depressed" and "You're jut an attention seeker" since i was 8 years old and since becoming pregnant with my 1st child i've gained over 15 qualification in various areas of childcare, to the degree that, though i'm heading towards a PGCE to teach at a high school level, i've considered working in a day care centre during my children's younger years and my training.
I'm terrified now that i wouldn't be able to work in that capacity. Or many other capacities.
Watching programmes on the stigma attached to facial disfigurment and the discriminations surrounding employment of those with physical problems, it makes me think, just because you can see a problem doesn't mean it isn't there but NOT everyone is ASKED!! It's hypocrititcal.
I have ADHD, OCD, Minor ODD and Bi_polar. Which as it was pointed out (and i'm now scared of!!) Can lead to BPD.
I WAS medicated, except during my pregnancies. I'm currently 4 days from my due date with my second child, and as you can imagine, the stress and strain of my pregnancy and my disorder, not to mention the countless problems in my life in general, are not making me the most stable person. But i turn to my child and my work as a comfort and stabaliser.
I wonder if anyone would say i shouldn't have children....
I know there is a difference between your own child and other peoples. And there is a huge difference between being with children in a private and professional capacity.
It just confuses me to no end how people with no information on certain problems can just dismiss them without a second glance.
I am NOT bi-polar. I am CORRIE. I have bi-polar and it does not rule my life.

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[deleted account]

i would think that there are many professionals out ther with mental health probloems, some of whom are working with childen. i don't think that parents should be informed of that because i am assuming that if they are working they are on medication and being treated. that being said, my mom is bipolar and even though she takes her pills, it doesn';t completely rid her of her symptoms and she has times where her symptoms flare up even with taking the pills. i would not knowingly have my child spend 5 days a week, all day with a person with a serious mental health problem because i was raised by someone with one and know that she has done some really horrible things even while being treated

Shelley - posted on 06/07/2011

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I came across this question on my way to bed, so I havent read any replies yet. Just wanted to mention that I have bipolar. I don't have it so bad that I have ever been hospitalised (although there may have been times that I should have :) ). I can truly say that I don't know. I think that it depends on whether the person is medicated, handling their situation and what the person has - but I would still be uncomfortable as I know that people with mental disabilities can go off the deep end without warning, and I do not want my child to be anywhere near someone who is - me included. In my home life I trust that if I start acting out in any way my husband will step in and handle the situation in whatever way is necessary to protect my kids from even seeing me in a bad state. At a day care hopefully there are always enough adults around to also pick up signs that something is wrong - with a nanny no-one else is around to intervene if necessary, and that I wouldn't be comfortable with. As small a chance as it is that something could happen, it is still there. So, no for a nanny. Will come back and read the other responses as it is an interesting question.

JuLeah - posted on 06/07/2011

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Some disorders/disabilities, yes. Bi-polar, no.
This is crazy making for the people that live with it and around it.

Becky - posted on 06/07/2011

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If it was someone I knew and trusted, or someone with previous experience and good references, then it would not matter to me if they had a mental health diagnosis. But, would I want to hire the kid up the street who's never babysat before and has just been diagnosed with schizophrenia? No, probably not! Although, I probably wouldn't hire that kid without the schizophrenia diagnosis either, I'm really paranoid about who I let babysit my kids.

Lisa - posted on 06/07/2011

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There has always been and will always be a stigma attached to mental disorders. Sadly not everyone has the capacity to understand or believe in the diagnoses of mental disorders. This includes the medical field. My primary physician does not believe in mental illness and says my bipolar disorder is in my head (umm.. hello that would be why it is a mental disorder..lol) thank god my insurance allows me to see a psychologist.



Mental Disorders are more common than most people think. Sadly most people with mental disorders go undiagnosed because of insurance loop holes, social stigmas and the fact that the mental illness has affected their way of living to the point where they are helpless (example: homeless). Studies have shown that 50% of addicts have a dual diagnosis of mental disorders; they become addicts because they are self medicating due to their mental disorders.



It is sad that there is such a stigma attach to a mental disorder because one cannot help the fact they have it and everyone in the world is effect by it. (Whether one has it themselves or not, chances are someone they know has some form of a mental disorder).



I believe I read and posted on the same post you are referencing and I was just as shocked at the number of no’s and total lack of empathy or understanding of this mental disorder.

Corrie - posted on 05/06/2011

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I was asked to provide drugs tests when i got pregnant again because of a history, a loooong time ago, of alochol and drugs. various people i saw said it was because of my prescription medication for my disorders, i found out it wasn't eventually.
It might seem strange but i know that every professional who meets me instantly see's the word RISK tattooed on my forhead because of the severity of some case of BPD and so on. I'm branded with the worst type until they know better.
So i can't imagine members of the public feeling any different.
My friends all agreed when i told them about being diagnosed that it didn't matter. I was who i was, and they liked me regardless. I don't like to use my problem as an excuse. But sometimes it is a reason.

Shannintipton - posted on 05/06/2011

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For me, telling people up front (face to face) is not an option. Way too many snap judgements. I wait until I get to know them for a while. They think I am a little goofy but harmless. When I screw up major, that is when I ususally have to explain my situtation, but by then they already love me. JK. But it will clear things up for them and they have a light bulb go on in their head like OK thats why she is so . . . .But they usually stick around too.

It was different for me on CoM. I told anybody and everybody and still do. Not seeing the faces makes somewhat easier. Thanks I feel sooooo much better. {:+)

Constance - posted on 05/06/2011

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I wish I could say the stigma was only with people who don't know anything except what they have heard. It unfortntely it is in the medical community as well. When you have any mental ilness there is alsways a stereo type attached. With me I multiple physical medical issues as well as bi-polar. I am epiliptic, migraines, back injures, carpel tunnel in both my hands, anemia, thyroid problems, as one ofmyspecialist puts it I am just a very complicated messof a patient. It has taken me years to find the right doctors that don't automatically assume that I am a drug addict. I have had multiple different treatments and just haven't had success except the treatments I am on now. I am monitored very closely and I see an addiction specialist as well as my regular shrink. Every six monthes I detox off all m meds in the hospital. I go two times a month for blood work to make everything is functioning properally.
But heaven forbid something happening while I am on vacation you would think I was this completely evil demon. I have to carry my medical records everywhere I go. Along with the afte hours numbers for all my doctors. I f I don't have them I can't even get treatment or strep troat.
I have am open mind about everyone. I don't think because someone has a medical/mental issue that they automaticcally are horriable people, maybe misunderstood but not bad. I base my decision on them once I get to know them but even then I don't judge. There are just things I don't allow in my life and drug addicts is one of them. Certain convictions in the law is another one.

Corrie - posted on 05/06/2011

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And he isn't Jennifer. And it takes a long time living with them sometimes to become comfortable with that. Coming to terms with who you are is about self confidence and maturity of spirit irrespective of mental 'problems'.
I tell everyone i have a problem. Which is part of the problem...... They instantly make judgements based on their knowledge and experience.
Which isn't necessarily the best way to go about it.
But if i didn;t tell them, would they make a judgement about me in a negative fashion because they didn't realise i had a problem?
I think your brother needs to be who he is and take thing as they come.
He'll find a happy medium.

Jenni - posted on 05/06/2011

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My brother suffers from bi-polar disorder, skitzophrenia, CD. He confides in me about how horrible it is to carry the stigma of mental illness. He's 21 and is on the dating scene. He really wants a relationship but he doesn't know whether or not to tell girls upfront about his disorders. On one hand he wants to let them know what they are getting into and on the other hand when he does, more often than not, it scares them away. I don't know what advice to give him. He feels if he doesn't tell them he's deceiving them and when they eventually find out they wont want to be with him. He doesn't want to *waste* their time, so to speak. I don't know what to tell him. :(



For him, he feels he IS his disorders because that's how everyone sees him.

[deleted account]

You're very right Jane. No one knows I have BPD except the people I choose to tell which are few and far between. I know people think I'm a little eccentric and sometimes moody but nothing serious. That's because I expend all the energy I can on NOT letting them see.

Jane - posted on 05/05/2011

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Quite frankly, if someone with Bipolar Disorder takes their meds and gets the right amount of sleep you might never be able to tell they are Bipolar. However, anyone who is going to spend time with my kids when I am not around is going to be thoroughly checked before I hire them, more for how they have acted in similar circumstances in the past. I would want good references for certain.

The only people I have known who were mentally ill enough that they did not have control in spite of their meds were two schizophrenics who were friends of mine. They would be the first ones to tell that they had no business in childcare.

OTOH, I have found that the absolute best coaches my son has had have been severely ADHD and unmedicated. They were better able to cope with my son than the vast majority of "normal" folks.

And then there is another kind of person: the "normal" person who says that either "children do not suffer from mental illness" or that "the only disabilities I believe in are those I can see." These are direct quotes from two public school principals who had my son (ADHD, ODD and Bipolar) under their supervision.

A nice and caring person with mental illness trumps a "normal" person who is just plain mean or misinformed.

Lacye - posted on 05/05/2011

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It would depend on some factors. What kind of disorder does the person have? Are they taking medication? Are they current with their medication? How does the medication affect them?

[deleted account]

Yes, there absolutely is a stigma against mental health. I have stopped telling ER staff that I have BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) because I am immediately treated differently. My mother was told that I was only crying in pain because I had it. People look at you differently and assume you must be out of control.

or

If you are fairly well together (most days), the opposite comes around. Inevitably someone will tell you that you'renot reallyl mentally ill, whatever you have is just what the doctors are telling EVERYONE nowadays. They dismiss you might be ill with my favorite line, "everyone gets depressed Jen, you just want to be different."

It's not my business if someone has an illness. I'm sorry but it's not. I've seen people go wacko when their blood sugar drops with screaming fits and rages. We need more more more support for the mentally ill. Finally in the last few years, with health care reform it's being treated as a real illness by insurers and MH practioners are now equal (benefit wise) as a otolarynologist.

Then of course, I get from my psychiatrist that I'm not quite 'sick enough' because I haven't attempted suicide. Well, I'll think of that next time (heavy sarcasm).

Constance - posted on 05/05/2011

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But she is probally going to need another MRI in the next two weeks to mae sue her brain is functioning properally.

Constance - posted on 05/05/2011

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You are helping. You are listening and it helps keep me from freaking out and crying.

Constance - posted on 05/05/2011

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They also found a shadow on her spine that has nothing to do with the Chari. So now we have to watch hat as well. The fluid can end up being so bad that she culd actuallt end up with temporally me paralized until they relieve the pressure

Constance - posted on 05/05/2011

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It also depends on her headaches when they are goingto go in and fix it.

Constance - posted on 05/05/2011

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We ae hoping to postpone for ayear but it will depend on the level of fluid on her brain and in her spine.

Shannintipton - posted on 05/05/2011

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I am soo sorry. I wish there was something I could do or say. That just sucks.

Constance - posted on 05/05/2011

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They way we found out that smething was wrong is he Genetics doctor order a CT scan of her skelital systems to measure her bones.

Constance - posted on 05/05/2011

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She has to much fluid on her bain and in her spine. Because the cerrubellum is falling into the space with the spinal cod itdoesn't allow the fluid to pass freely back and forth. So he has to put shunts in her head and spine to release the extra fluid. She also gets very severe headaches that start out of no where. She is fine one minute and starts screaming the next because her head hurts that bad. Seizures that she stops breathing during them. I don't know what to do sometimes she is so little andf has so many problems.

Rosie - posted on 05/05/2011

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no i would not leave my child in the care of a person i did not know with bi-polar disorder. my sister has it, but i know her, i know what she is capable of, and trusted her with my kids.
leaving your kids with someone else is scary enough without having to worry about whether or not they'll have a moment where they could lose control.
like kelly if there was more than one person there, and just one of them had a mental disorder like that i wouldn't be so paranoid.

Shannintipton - posted on 05/05/2011

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I would be scared to death too. I had no idea it was so serious. How did you know something was wrong in the first place.

Shannintipton - posted on 05/05/2011

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Oh wow. So this could be something they could put off for a year?

Constance - posted on 05/05/2011

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Oh yeah I am scared to death I am so worried that something will go wrong during the surgery.

Shannintipton - posted on 05/05/2011

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We are sort of going off topic here. I am still trying to find you. But I still have so much to learn about this place.

Constance - posted on 05/05/2011

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Basically Chari Malformation 1 is at the base of the skull were the spinal column goes through to meet up with the brain. Your cerubellum sits on the very back side of the bse of the skull. With her her cerabellum is falling down in the space where the spinal column comes through.

Constance - posted on 05/05/2011

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My daughter is going to have to have surgery but hopefully we can postpone it for another year. that is what the Neurosurgeon wants to do, but it will be determined by the Neurologist next week.

Shannintipton - posted on 05/05/2011

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Crap, I dont remember. I think I did about another bikini wax LOL {:+)

Constance - posted on 05/05/2011

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Shannin I am here. Isaw everything you posted on this page did you send me a private message too?

Shannintipton - posted on 05/05/2011

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@ Constance
Are you there? I sent you a message. Just wondering if you got it? {:+)

Shannintipton - posted on 05/05/2011

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@ Constance - Wow, you are harsh too. Go get her! LOL I love your perspective. I am having a guilt trip put on me right now for spending so much time on CoM. Before CoM I would just play monopoly on my computer all day. I did nothing then and I do nothing now. And I must say I do it very well. So I think his problem is. . . I dont know what his problem is. He does so much I think he is just tired, I know I would be.



Anyway about your daughter. Are they going to do brain surgery? I dont know what chari malformation 1 is. I had an AVM - Arterial Vessel Malformation. Actually two. In my frontal lobes. One burst which started the problem and when they went in they found the other one. Plus I got a fancy hair cut. lol

Please keep me informed. This is an area I am all too familar with. I dont have the answers just some experiences. Scary stuff. Try and find me if you want to talk. Or be insulted. LOL {:+)

Shannintipton - posted on 05/05/2011

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Constance - I just got threw the first part of your post re: Is it only me? She was harsh. I didnt get to your response yet. Hubby is home and he wants me to look at him for a while. LOL
I will be back in a little bit to read your post and talk with you re: your daughter. Sounds serious. Hopefully you will still be here when I get back. {:+)

Constance - posted on 05/05/2011

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Shannin I almost forgot to update you on my daugther. Her neurosurgeon diagnosed her with chari malformation 1 and it is severe enough that he wants to go in next week to start repairing it. But neurology is on Monday so I will find out if they are going to do another MRI next week. So they can see the full functioning of her brain.

Shannintipton - posted on 05/05/2011

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Contance, I am on my way to go take a look. I cant wait. LOL {:+)

Constance - posted on 05/05/2011

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Shannin this woman acused me of bing and uncaring and rude mother and wife. Because I exspect my husband to help me around the house and with the kids. I blew up.

Shannintipton - posted on 05/05/2011

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Ok and I think I will stay out of Debating Communities. I will just observe from now on . . . yeah right LOL {:+)

Constance - posted on 05/05/2011

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Hey Shannin, I you really want to see how I am when I a pissed off go look at my posting Is it only me? Now that is were I I am pissed off. Read the post directly below my last post. That is what I am like when I get angry.

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