The presentations are over!! WOOHOO!! Everyone did such a great job and I’m so proud of everyone’s effort and research. I thought all of the topics were interesting and summed up what we have been learning for the past two weeks pretty well.

The first group to go was Kayla, Mary, Abbie, and Courtney’s group, which covered mental health services. This group did a complete overhaul of their topic, which used to be related to politics. I thought this was impressive and executed well. Though I had a basic understanding of the material being presented, there were still some things that stuck out to me. One of the biggest was that GPs are able to and often prescribe psychiatric medication before a patient ever goes to talk therapy. To go to talk therapy, you must have a GP referral and it takes 18 weeks to receive care. This often can result in side effects that make the patients’ condition worse. I remember close to the beginning of the trip, I was in a lift with Beckie, Lucinda, and David Childs. He shared his experience with this exact scenario, and the result was that he was misdiagnosed and was not given the best care for his situation.

Something that they brought up that I had not considered was the impact of COVID on mental health. We all know that people have been greatly effected by COVID over the past 2 years now, but seeing the impact put onto a graph and presenting the upward trend put into perspective how far the pandemic pushed us back, and how much we are going to have to rebuild and adjust.

This group also mentioned how mental health is mitigated in schools. In the US, we have guidance counselors. The one’s in my school operated as academic advisors rather than talk therapists since there were 2 for every 550 students. In the UK, the addition of social workers in schools are on the rise, and have been proven to be effective in improving student outcomes.

Another factor that shocked me was the disparities in relation to suicide rates. In the UK, men are 2-3x more likely to commit suicide in every age group, with ages 45-49 having the highest rate. Contrasting this against the US, the rates for men are similar, but ages 65+ has the highest rate. The difference is most likely attributed to societal factors and feelings about age.

The next group to go was Beckie, Audrey, Quincy, and Lindsey’s group which discussed the treatment of Immigrants in the UK with a focus on language. Outcomes for migrants, particularly migrant children, are worse than their non-immigrant counterparts. 32% of all foreign born kids are living in poverty. In schools, the outlook is very eurocentric, and focuses on teaching English as quickly as possible so that they can take their standardized tests. In fact, there are NO standardized testing accommodations for non-english speaking students. Students who do not speak English are often misdiagnosed and labelled as needed special education accommodations, when in reality they are being put at a disadvantage since the diagnostic tests are in English.

The last group to go was Alec and Connor, who covered sexism in nursing and education. It was nice to see this topic acknowledged by men entering the field. 74% of educators are women and 88% of nurses are female. Despite this, female nurses miss out on approximately $150k over a lifetime. Though women are making up the vast majority of these fields, they are still being paid less then their male counterparts even if they are more qualified and experienced.

From the education standpoint, young boys and girls show differences in achievement because of societal sexism. Boys largely perform worse on standardized tests then their female peers. They are also make up far less of college admittances, with about 60% being female. For faculty, the ration is 1:5 for males to females. Though there’s a lack of men in nursing and education, there are high volumes of men oversaturating leadership position. 62% of superintendents are men, and 2300/3700 academies are headed by men. Women are often held down in these professions and feel discouraged from aspiring to these positions.

Going back to mental health, this presentation again mentioned male suicide rates. They also mentioned that men tend to choose a more violent option, while women have a higher likelihood of surviving an attempt. This comes from societal discrimination that is upheld to this day. “Macho culture” and “strength in silence” is causing men to access healthcare less in the UK and has lead to them dying from treatable illnesses such as Melanoma.

I have learned a great deal from doing these presentation, and I’d like to thank Vina and Claire for giving us to much information, engaging with our topics, and answering any questions we’ve had over the past week. Peace out BCU!

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