Thursday, October 15, 2015

Olivia's Blog #1

There are so many topics critically important issues one could focus on involving women's human rights. As I am very passionate about so many, I found it very difficult to just choose one. First I narrowed my focus down to three areas: STEM education for young women in elementary schools, mental health of impoverished women, and sexual assault on college campuses. From here, with guiding help from mentors in the program and the previous fellows, I was able to narrow my focus down even more and arrive at my focus of mental health of impoverished women! Focusing my topic down to a particular issue in women's mental health has proved to be a bit harder because the data suggests that almost every mental health issue affects women more than men. My next step in my research is to obtain more data regarding which mental health issue is most effecting impoverished women in North Carolina. I am waiting for this data from a researcher who is part of Wellness at Penny Lane, my potential best practice model non-profit!

Mental health and the stigma associated with it has always been a huge focus within my volunteer work and career goals. Similar to this, I have always been passionate about improving the lives of individuals who need professional mental healthcare help. While doing research, I was surprised to find that solely focusing on the mental healthcare of one gender was not all too common of a practice within the field. I found this interesting because women are impacted by psychopathology in many different ways and face many different problems than men because they are women and are commonly discriminated against. Because women are an "other" class, I wonder if much of the mental health care practices are developed with men in mind, particularly wealthy, white men, and fail to take into account the needs of women, particularly impoverished women of color? Because of this I feel that it is important to focus treatment, and this fellowship, on women's mental heath. I feel that this important because it will provide a more narrow focus to a field that has otherwise focused on a non-gendered approach. These questions above are currently leading my research and I look forward to post in the future with what I find!

- Olivia Horton


  1. I still remember the day 20 years ago when I found out women had not been included in the clinical trials for the effects of aspirin. Turns out it is the norm not to include women in drug trials. Pregnant, nursing women and mothers raising young children are regularly given medication for mental health. Is it safe? Find out!

  2. I haven't spoken to you much about your topic choice, but I like where you're headed. Do you plan on focusing more on the stigmas associated with women's mental health or the actual healthcare policies? I look forward to talking about these details with you at the workshop!

  3. Olivia - what a superb topic to focus on. I think the narrower topics you are considering, for example the effectiveness of mobile mental health clinics for women, or using trained laypersons for helping women, especially in rural areas where there are few resources, with depression, are powerful models. There's been some interesting research: And I have read about Mental Health First Aid, training laypeople to spot mental health concerns - do you know much about that model? Really looking forward to your research.