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.  


Is Drinking Worth it?


By: William Dong

Copy edited by: Sean Cotnam and Brett Levenstein

Research Edited by: Brett Levenstein

Format edited by: Arthur Carlton-Jones

Should the U.S. government raise the drinking age?

One of the most debated topics within the current society is what the legal drinking age limit in the U.S. should be. Adolescent drinking is considered to have both positive and negative effects by various groups. Both teenagers and adults support that it possesses only negative effects on a person, but many may also support the other extreme. Drinking is used as a social lubricant and teenagers support lowering the age limit because they tend to rebel and experiment, but what they don’t know is the details of the effects alcohol can have on a person and those around them. In the worst-case scenario, alcohol could lead to traffic accidents, health problems, and even death. Should the drinking age be lowered? Or in fact be raised?

Why Should the Drinking Age Be Higher?

Teenagers tend to make questionable decisions since their brains are not fully developed. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, the rationale part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until she is 25 years old or so, which makes young adults vulnerable to irreversible mistakes while under the influence. [1]

The irresponsibility of young adults with such a dangerous substance can lead to both short term and long term health issues.[2] Alcohol can result in addiction, brain damage, diseases, and even death.[3] Binge Drinking is extremely common within teenagers. The CDC states that alcohol can cause immediate effects like injuries due violence and accidents, as well as miscarriages and still births. The long-term effects of drinking include high blood pressure, learning and memory problems, depression and anxiety.[4] The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration establishes that “underage drinking is linked to 189,000 emergency room visits by people under the age of 21.”[5]

Irresponsible adolescent drinking can lead to traffic accidents and fatalities. Alcohol can cause confusion and a loss of coordination and alertness. This makes driving an extremely dangerous task. [4] During the summer going into my senior year at Wootton High School, the quarterback at our school who I knew personally was in a car with 3 other kids after they had been drinking at a typical high school party. They were speeding and swerved off the road, killing two of the teens in the car instantly while the driver and one other passenger survived. Drinking and driving ruins lives and is not something that should be taken lightly.

Why Not?

There are of course many arguments that support the drinking age to stay the same or be lowered. Teenagers tend to go through a phase of rebellion, where grey matter in the brain which processes thought and memory is not fully developed, so they end up making decisions that a regular adult would not.[6] Lowering the drinking age could help teens drink more responsibly under the supervision of adults and decrease the amount of tragedies.

Many argue that teens under the age of 18 should have the right to drink since teens older than 18 are responsible enough to vote, join the military, and even purchase tobacco products. People advocate that if the government views 18 year olds as being capable of fighting for their country and deciding their country’s leadership, they should be able to responsibly consume alcohol. Tobacco products are also considered just as addictive and harmful to a person as alcohol. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States which is one in every five deaths. [7] Furthermore, even though tobacco is just as addictive as alcohol, the CDC establishes that it causes more deaths each year than alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, HIV, and firearm-related incidents combined.[6] In theory, if tobacco is considered more dangerous than alcohol, then it would not make sense for the drinking age to be higher.

The Bottom Line:

Lowering or keeping the same drinking age could account for more teens drinking responsibly, but also could lead to more tragedies and health problems. If the U.S. government wanted to make the country a safer environment, the drinking age should be raised. Adolescents will then be older and more responsible, as their brains become more fully developed and aware of the risks of abusing alcohol.

Required Info graphic Citation:



Drinking With Age


By: Jared Bernhardt

Copy Edit 1: Lizbeth Yorio

Research Edited by: Jared Bernhardt

Format edited by: Arthur Carlton-Jones

The issue of keeping the minimum drinking age at 21 or lowering the minimum drinking age may not be in the front headlines but, it is most definitely still a talked about issue. One side believes congress should lower the minimum drinking age to 18 because you are now at adulthood, you can start learning to be responsible, and the age of 21 has not helped in any way. Now on the other hand, studies have shown the drinking age is saving countless lives all the way from traffic crashes to preserving health and diminishing the chance of receiving long term effects.


As I discussed before there are many people for lowering the minimum drinking. At the age of 18 you are technically considered an adult meaning you can vote, buy cigarettes, drive, enter the military and marry. In the article “Raising the Drinking Age to 21 Has Been a Disastrous 30-Year Experiment” argues how the drinking age should be 18 because it shares many of the same qualities as a “mature” 21 year old except they can’t buy alcoholic beverages. S. Georgia Nugent, a PhD, and an interim president of Wooster college stated, “By outlawing moderate use of alcohol in appropriate social contexts and with adult oversight, we have driven more drinking underground, where it has taken the very dangerous form of “pre-gaming.”[1] He shares this to show people that lowering the drinking age for teens and young adults can improve responsibility and focus them on drinking in safe, controlled environments. According to John M. McCardell Jr. founder and president of Choose Responsibility, an organization dedicated to informing the public about the presence of alcohol in American culture and why the minimum drinking age should be 18 says, “Ninety-five percent of those who will be alcohol consumers in their lifetime take their first drink before age 21.”[2] His reasoning is to show how lowering the drinking age can be useful in teaching responsibility when consuming alcohol so we can protect the youth from the consequences following boozing. Another group which shockingly supports lowering the minimum drinking age to 18 is a group of about 135 universities who signed the Amethyst Initiative (initiative believes the age should be lowered to 18) because they believe the minimum drinking age of 21 is not doing a good job of stopping people who can’t drink from drinking and protecting them physically and mentally.[3]

Now, some reasons for maintaining the same minimum drinking age would include saving lives, preserving health, and lowering the chances of alcoholism later in life. A statistic showing how the minimum drinking age of 21 provides safety for those legally and illegally able to consume alcohol from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has saved more than 17,000 lives on the highway.[4] This does not take into account the Alcohol Justice organization’s recording arguing how the minimum drinking age has saved 1,000 lives per year including more than 800 of those being youth and young adults.[5] Now, on a health standard, if we lower the minimum drinking age for young adults who are in the transitioning stage from childhood to adulthood they may damage themselves mentally in the long run. According to the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse which researches alcohol use disorder “Exposing the brain to alcohol during this period may interrupt key processes of brain development, possibly leading to mild cognitive impairment as well as to further escalation of drinking.”[6] By keeping the minimum age the same we can lower the chances of young adults developing alcohol dependence because alcohol will be harder to get a hold of and limit the possibilities of wanting more and more.

Bottom Line

I believe we need to keep the minimum drinking age at 21 for several reasons. One, I think our research has prevailed in proving how the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 has decreased traffic accidents saving lives in the process.  Second, I believe a very key component in health contributes to the issue of keeping the age of 21 allowing youth to develop mentally so they will not be affected as much in the long term as they would be if the drinking age were lower. Lastly, I think it is very important we do not put adolescents in a bad position to think they need alcohol at all times. Alcohol dependence can develop at an early age leading youth to make poor decisions in life.

Divorce’s Effect on Children

By: Brian Garchitorena

Copy edited by: Amanda Hirsch and Stefon Wynter

Research edited by: Jared Bernhardt

Format edited by: Arthur Carlton-Jones

I hope they will work it out.

Almost half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. Most parents want to know how their children will be affected if they get divorced; they are not alone. There are endless possible effects on a child’s development such as psychological distress and emotional scars that can last into adulthood. What many of these children are unaware of is how greatly these traumatic effects will impact their own marriage later on in life. It has been largely debated whether or not children of divorce are more likely to get divorced themselves. If you are thinking about getting divorced, it will have a huge impact on your child’s development.

Divorce is almost always a difficult time for all parties involved, especially the children. They know first-hand how rough life can be for a family suffering this fate. It tears families apart and forever leaves the children wishing for everything to go back to normal. Divorce can be terribly traumatic for kids; enough so that they may never want to put anyone else through the same suffering. Divorce does not only make children have more empathy, and it was also discovered that it makes them more independent. A study done in 1974 by two social workers stated that “divorce could ‘liberate children’ by making them less dependent on their parents.”[1] It allows children to grow up quicker and discover who they are.  

If the children have been part of a divorce, they will be more prepared and less anxious to get a divorce as an adult. People react differently to divorce, but generally humans are creatures of habit. They stick to what they are familiar with. Children only have one childhood; in their minds, divorce is part of growing up. Being a child when your parents are going through a divorce can cause you to remember that time as a familiarity. Generally, there is a sense of nostalgia that people have about their childhood, so if a parent’s divorce takes place during their kid’s childhood, their kid is more likely to be misattribute their positive feeling to divorce making it seem more acceptable to them. People tend to be far more scared of the anticipation of things than they are of the things themselves. The same concept applies to divorce.

Bottom Line

I believe children of divorce are more open to getting divorced. As one of those children, I am telling you that your marriage and divorce attributes greatly to your children’s perception of what a relationship is like. A 36 year old woman named Janet whose parents divorced when she was ten said, “I never had an example of how to be successfully married,’ she says. ‘All I had was an example of how to be successfully single.” It is much more difficult for children of divorce to stay married when their sole example was unable to. We take after our parents; if they get divorced, we know nothing else. You should teach your children that “divorce is not inevitable, it is a result of human error.”[2]

There is an overwhelmingly negative stigma about divorce, but it’s actually a positive alternative. Divorce has harmful effects on your children, but it’s a remarkable improvement over raising a child in a toxic environment. “Many experts contend that many couples in troubled marriages should divorce rather than raise children in a household permeated with anger and tension.”[3] If the only reason you’re staying together is for the kids, don’t stay together. It could do more harm than good.