Mental illnesses are colorblind, but the barriers to treatment aren’t. Previously, I wrote about some of the ways that immigrant communities were disproportionately affected by mental illnesses, which made me interested in our undocumented population in the United States. Roughly 10 million strong, they live in perpetual fear and anxiety, often without any sustainable way of getting professional help. Most conversations thus far have been focused on how to eliminate overt barriers to healthcare, but for this community’s sake, more needs to be said about eliminating the underlying psychosocial barriers.
According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), ethnic and racial minorities often bear a disproportionately high burden of disability resulting from mental disorders. Yet, by 2044, models show more than half of all Americans will belong to a minority group. Taken altogether, this seems to indicate troubled waters on our horizons, and it should speak to the importance of cultural sensitivity in mental health training.
I went into counseling not knowing what I would get out of it or how it could really benefit me. This might sound naïve, but it’s easy to convince ourselves that we’ve thought through everything and don’t need anyone else to explain what’s going on. In reality, just about everyone can benefit from therapy, even in a totally stress-free life.
How is it possible to feel alone in a crowd? Among 50,000 other students, I thought I’d arrive on campus and surely find my place shortly thereafter. How could I not with such a massive pool of students and clubs? I had seen cliques form as early as Preview. A few months in, and it still hadn’t happened to me.
As exam season peaks its head around the corner, I think it’s important to talk about ways to maintain a healthy mental state while going through the rigors of midterms and finals. I’m not sure about everyone else, but for me the first thing to go during times of stress is always food. During a packed day, it just feels inconvenient to have to cook or go out. Although, I think anyone can tell this is a bad habit to keep. Food is the fuel your body will use when you study and eventually rock those exams, so it’s important to be mindful of what you use. Here I’ll recommend some foods that have helped me stay sharp during tests.
Take a moment and imagine a world where spraining an ankle is a taboo subject. Where someone with a fever is too embarrassed to see a doctor about it. Now, pull back and see that this is the world we live in, not with physical illnesses, but mental ones.
When you picture an asylum, what comes to mind? For many people, it’ll be a prison-like building with white walls and barred windows. Maybe even a “Shutter Island”-esque ocean lockup filled with unknown or unspeakable horrors. I think it’s telling that just googling ‘psychiatric asylum’ brings up images meant to invoke fear: walls with writing scratched into them and patients confined to straitjackets. But is this really the way we should be depicting mental illness, something that 1 in 5 adults will struggle with yearly?
Arriving in Gainesville from Miami left me with a massive culture shock. As a freshman, I was overwhelmed by the feeling I had sacrificed so much of what defined my life until then. From a Cuban coffee in the morning to a shared “buen provecho” at dinner, a lifetime of Hispanic and Latinx traditions were lost to me. There was a comfortable sense of familiarity in hearing Spanish regularly and visiting my local panadería every other day — a routine I never realized the significance of until it was gone. In its place was a town that I first characterized as unfamiliar and unwelcoming.
From a marketing perspective, I think that exercise has been criminally mismanaged. If there were a drug that could do for human health everything that exercise can, it would likely be the most valuable pharmaceutical ever developed. The problem comes from the idea that exercise must be really taxing and time-consuming to be effective. While I’m not suggesting that you’ll be an Olympian by doing 30 minutes of exercise every other day, I think most people would be surprised by just how beneficial a few movements can be, not just physically but mentally.