Alleviating Mental Health Stigma

By: Matthew Quach

Copy Edited By: Amanda Hirsch and Maggie McPherson

Research Edited by: Sean Cotnam

Format Edited By: Arthur Carlton-Jones


General Psychiatric Stigma

Mental illness has always been an issue that is kept into a hushed regulation. Don’t see, don’t tell. In individuals, the main stake is embarrassment, a negative outlook on admitting that they have this mental illness.[1] This embarrassment is coined as self-stigma. In addition to this, poor mental health, and the inability to admit having it also results in poor self-esteem, recovery, and general lack of self worth.[2] Issues within a localized community also cause what is known as cultural-stigma. Unlike self-stigma, cultural-stigma is much less easily remedied. This is due to the lack of change in a cultural phenomena and attitudes towards mental illness from which stigma had cultivated. Such outlooks are unlikely to shift.

Cultural/Health Factors in Relation

In Hispanic communities, intervention and religions means are commonplace substitutes for more scientific and medical means of care. However, the prominence of education concerning mental health issues in schools is breaking such traditional treatments in favor of more modern and effective treatment options. Though education in these modern techniques is being injected into these communities, college educated folk will still find themselves falling back onto the more primal forms of intervention, showing that cultural practices are indeed ingrained.[3] Cultural practices will always take precedent, for they are the comfortable home remedy. Though these practices mean well, they are most usually ineffective.

Within the San Diego area, Women claimed to have experienced more stigma than that of their male counterparts. Males on the other hand, take a less positive stance in tackling the issue at hand. In both genders, the younger the individual, the increased likelihood of being discriminated against.[4]  Age is the most definitive factor. On the opposite end of the age spectrum, the elderly are the most susceptible to poor mental health. In a research effort conducted in an urban area, and one of rural environment, both groups showed similar outlooks when concerning seeking out help.[5]It is expected that more populous, urban communities would more likely be tolerant and accepting, an effect of modern progression of idealism and thought. However, with this study, it appears that such a polarization is nonexistent. Instead, it is bound to an individualistic approach. Those who need help, will generally come out to seek it at more advanced ages.   

Attempts in Change

Though advancements in the treatment and identification of mental health are seemingly adequate, there could always be an improvement. In an extensive stunt by several psychologists, they called for pediatricians to increase their reach in discovering mental illness.[6] Involvement, the want to often mitigates proper care. Services must be wholly accepted to make an substantial effect. Thus, a preventative movement from medical clinics and facilities would alleviate much of this. Along the topic of mental facilities and their care, a modern critique of the mental health system as is, calls for a more quantitative approach. Agencies would need to take an active duty in diverting mental health stigma, a change which incites a positive change of the global health agenda.

It is believed that contact with those afflicted with mental health issues and other unaffected members of society is pivotal in empathy. Governments in the United States have thus, launched nationwide campaigns to project this message into the public.[7] To eliminate archaic thoughts and relical assumptions of mental health and dissipate negative stereotypes, it is necessary to create a commotion within the public, as education within the school system is not enough to compound the agenda into relevance.   

Conclusive Thoughts

Mental health is the illness that is hidden. It is not always eminent and thus, is a difficult problem to postulate and draw out properly, if the affected population does not make attempts to better themselves and seek help. Thus, the blocking of this seeking is blamed onto the negative view of poor mental health: Stigma. Stigmatic relations within a community will cause the general public to be ashamed of their state and not seek out help because of their disposition. In the modern era, mental health is not so much a taboo in the United States and medication is offered readily. In minority groups, there is a deficit in care for mental health. It is not a populous issue, because it has been galvanized into obscurity, and will not be attended to effectively. Eventually, it is likely to become a matter that is comfortable, as indicated by the progression of its understanding.  


Should stem cells continue to be researched?

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By: Alyssa Larsen

Copy edited by: Matthew Quach and Maggie McPherson

Research edited by: Jared Bernhardt

Format edited by: Arthur Carlton-Jones

The original discovery of the many applications of stem cells in 1998 was a huge innovation in medicine.[1] These cells are in the most primitive form and have no set function. Therefore, they are able to easily adapt to a new environment of specialized cells (such as muscle, blood, or brain cells). This finding provided a way to possibly regenerate, heal, or replace any cells damaged by a multitude of illnesses. Stem cell research affects an extremely widespread population of patients due to its possible ability to treat such a wide range of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and many other degenerative conditions.

Why do people support this research?

Most members of the scientific community favor researching stem cells due to their immense potential to revolutionize the ways we can treat illnesses. For example, stem cells can be used to regenerate damaged cells caused by radiation treatment for cancer. They also have been used in transplant medicine to completely construct a new, simple organ that is readily able to replace the damaged one.[2] ESCs and iPSCs are favored because they are so primal and therefore can adapt much more effectively than regular adult stem cells. This is not to say, however, that stem cell scientists support destroying embryos. The general opinion of the science community is that these embryos used for research deserve a special respect for their contribution to medicine.[3] In fact, some supporters even say that embryos left over from in-vitro fertilization or legal abortions should be allowed to be obtained for research purposes instead of being discarded.[4]

Other supporters may have a strong personal connection to this research if they themselves or their loved ones suffer from a disease that can possibly be treated through stem cell therapy. From a medical perspective, stem cell research truly seems to be beneficial for the majority of the population. Although this treatment may seem like a perfect solution on paper, many ethical issues arise from it. One type of stem cell is derived from the blastocyst form of embryos (comprised of about 8-10 cells) that people donate for research.[5] Although these cells are effective in their medical use, there is a question of whether or not destroying these early-stage embryos is considered murder.

In attempt to resolve this problem, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) were created in 2006.[6] iPSCs are virtually identical to the embryonic stem cells (ESCs) in terms of structure and function. However, they are derived from adult cells and are then genetically manipulated. Now there are no ethical issues with this research, right? Wrong. Those against stem cell research continued their arguments by claiming things like iPSCs too closely resembled ESCs.

Why not?

Some people are extremely concerned with the apparent ethical wrongdoings involved with this research since the use of ESCs involves the destruction of the embryo. Although the embryos used are only miniscule bundles of cells, some feel that this still constitutes the destruction of a human life.

In politics, “pro-life” vs. “pro-choice” is a huge discord, and these viewpoints are associated with the opinions on stem cell research. Critics fall largely under the “pro-life” category for ethical and/or religious reasons and see ESC research as a violation of their beliefs. Although iPSCs were created to resolve this issue, people still oppose their use due to their resemblance to human embryos, and also because of the possibility of human cloning.

The bottom line:

So many diseases are in this uncured standstill, and we seem to just accept that they will remain that way until some scientist comes up with the answer. Stem cells could very well be that answer we are looking for, but how will we ever know if the research doesn’t continue to be funded? Unfortunately, the many societal questions and doubts of such research limit the ability of these stem cells to be utilized to their full extent.

This topic is extremely controversial, but a balance between both the medical benefits and societal concerns would allow stem cell research to be more effective and beneficial in all aspects. iPSCs were specifically developed in order to diminish the main ethical opposition against using embryos, so they at least should be able to be used without further constraint.

Is the Fracking Business Really Worth It?

Operating oil and gas well profiled on sunset sky

Hodalis Gaytan

Copy edited by: Brett Levenstein and Kevin Qiao

Research edited by: Jared Bernhardt

Format edited by: Arthur Carlton-Jones

Throughout society and history, we have seen a range of topics and concepts that have been called into question by an assortment of individuals and groups. These individuals and groups debate about specific topics and how their effects are either “wrong” or “right” for society.  For instance, we have seen how the privacy and ethical rights of women are debated for the topic of abortion, the relationship between second amendment rights and gun control, and many other similar debates. To this day, there continues to be a various amount of topics that cause for much deliberation among different groups and parties. But there is one debate in particular that is starting to take rise; the debate of fracking. Both sides of the argument have been debating about the ethical and economic issues that come along the process of hydraulic fracturing.[1] Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is a new technology that is used to extract natural gases from the earth with a drilling technique that, “has made it possible to retrieve deposits of methane gas trapped in formations of shale rock thousands of feet below ground, fossil fuels that had heretofore been considered inaccessible.”[2] The whole idea behind the process of fracking is that it provides the world with cheaper oil and fossil fuel. Although this incredible innovation has surprised the world and given us a large amount of job opportunities and cheap oil, it has unleashed a large amount of controversy due to the many issues, such as groundwater contamination, environmental hazards, air pollution, and many more factors. But of lately, I have been asking myself about the economic impact that fracking and all its factors have on today’s society. How exactly does fracking affect our country’s wallet and its users? And as a society, should we be more concerned about the economic issues that fracking has on our pockets? I strongly believe that fracking should not take place because it causes more harm than good. Not only are the large amounts of released toxins affecting the environment but they are also contaminating our drinking water.[3] Water alone is such an important asset for not just us, human beings, but also for other living things. If we continue to contaminate the few things that we need to survive, then how will the world continue on without this element of survival? Also the economically effects of fracking have caused for so much money to be given to “clean-up” projects that take place after the process of fracking. Fracking waste adds weight to transport trucks and causes roads to become damaged and unusable. Because of this, the government must take our money to repair these damaged roads. I strongly believe that the positive outcomes of fracking do not outweigh the negative ones. As a society, we need to realize that the effects of fracking do not only affect our planet but it also can effect with our way of survival.