In terms of seeking treatment, Gray said the biggest barrier was not insurance like he thought but rather stigma surrounding getting help for mental health problems.
Langenecker said different than most health issues, what’s unique to mental health advocacy is it often has to come from others besides the person experiencing the issues.
“Most mental health conditions affect people’s self-esteem and whether or not they believe that they actually deserve to get better treatments,” he said. “That means that we don’t get the best source of advocacy. Often, lots of people who struggle with mental health problems struggle in silence.”
One contributing factor to mental health is stress. Paula Williams, associate professor of psychology, studies individual differences in stress regulation, specifically how different personality factors have potential associations with stress.
Through her origins in studying genetics, Williams grew an interest in studying individual differences.
While she studies stress, she said stress as a concept is actually quite hard to define.
“One of the things that I’ve really been interested in is finding more refined ways to measure it,” she said. “So my approach, following some other stress researchers in the field, is to break it up into its parts.”
One of those parts is stress exposure, or essentially how often people experience daily hassles or major life events. Another part of particular interest to Williams is resiliency, or how quickly people can return to their baseline level of stress.
Williams also studies openness, a willingness to experience new things. She found that those with high levels of openness actually seemed to be more resilient to stress.
“We found that openness predicted a unique profile in our laboratory stress study such that even though high open people reported negative emotions and feeling stress, they also engaged with the process in a positive way in some ways,” she said.
Another important personality factor in stress regulation is aesthetics, or the tendency to be engaged with art, nature and beauty.
“That’s one of those factors we find is actually related to stress resilience in various ways, including growth orientation, that is kind of finding ways to engage with stress or you learn from it,” Williams said.
While Williams is more of a mechanism …….