W2 Activity: Not Just a Paycheck

I got a 5 out of 10 on the Health Equity Quiz. I was most surprised by the fact that recent Latino American immigrants have better health than the average American, and that their health diminishes within a few years upon arrival into the United States. This was shocking because it really opened my eyes to how poor the average health in the United States is, especially when most people tend to view our country as technologically advanced, powerful, and wealthy.

In the video titled “Not Just a Paycheck”, the narrator describes the effects that plant closures, particularly in Greenville, MI, has on not only its prosperity and wealth, but the health of the people who lost their jobs due to the closure. The video emphasizes that the people working for these plants that are shutdown lose so much more than just a means to support themselves financially. As the employment rate skyrocketed, the health of those people who lost their jobs plummeted. More people went to health care clinics for a range of symptoms, many involving increased stress leading to negative health issues. Some people went to clinics just because they were unable to handle everyday life anymore and struggled to find the next step or steps to take. The video also described the differences in health between people of different economic classes. Health and economic status are shown to be positively related in that the higher the economic status of a person, the greater chance that person is to be healthy.

I believe that nearly none of the factors that lead to the health disparities shown are genetic factors and that the decrease in health is simply due to added stress on the people in the video from being unemployed and worrying about how to support themselves and their family. Although genetics can play a role in how certain people handle different stresses, unemployment is enough to make any person stressed to the point that it leads to some sort of detrimental health effect, whether it be as minor as increased headaches or migraines, to increased blood pressure leading to heart failure.

3 thoughts on “W2 Activity: Not Just a Paycheck

  1. Hi Jon! I agree with you that genetic factors did not play a role in these health disparities. Losing a job and therefore being unable to provide for yourself or your family can be so stressful that it 100% can lead to health problems. Of course, as you mentioned, economic class is a big determinant on how unemployment actually affects a person. If you are the breadwinner and you are solely supporting your family, losing that job can literally mean losing everything. Obviously that causes more stress on you than if there was someone else in the family with an income. In regards to the health disparities of people dealing with a situation like this, I think something similar to a recovery program might be useful. Sitting down and talking to people about these problems and seeing that they’re not alone, could be very helpful especially if the person is struggling with stress and anxiety leading to possible drug abuse or suicide. At these programs, there could be resources for learning about government assistance, whether it is food stamps or health care, postings for possible job openings to apply to, as well as being just a place where someone can go to relax and realize there is hope for the future. This is more of a political solution that I believe locals can begin. It might be a long shot, because I know that a lot of people don’t really like talking about their “feelings”, but at least for me, I know that I feel a lot more relaxed when I know I’m not the only person dealing with a certain situation. It’s also really nice to know that there are people out there that care, and that are willing to help.

  2. Jon,
    I enjoyed reading your post! The stress of not having a job or a steady financial income can be extremely detrimental to your health. It does not take only genetics to cause health problems, which is the case for the people in the video. I am not surprised that there was a spike in hospital visits after the plants in Greenville, MI were shut down. These people devoted their lives to their jobs and depended on them to help support themselves and their families. The stress and lack of finances affect your eating habits and your mental state takes a huge toll, and can lead to anxiety and depression. A possible political solution to this issue is that the government could set up an unemployment assistance program for the workers affected and anyone else in similar situations. Perhaps the program can assist them with finances and how to manage them, provide them with food stamps, and even temporary health benefits. Any guidance or counseling should be provided to help keep these people and their families on their feeti. A somewhat economic solution is that those who are being laid off should receive alternate jobs or at least be given help in finding another one.

  3. Hello Jon,
    I wish I would have watched this video because it seems very interesting. This is primarily because it hits so close to home. It is very important to think of ways to solve these major issues because they have such drastic effects on the people who have to experience them. A possible solution to stress, which causes illness, would be to obviously alleviate the stress that is causing the issue. There are a variety of ways to relieve stress, including talking about the issues at hand. There are even more medical based solutions which could include the use of prescription drugs. This issue could even be looked at in the view that the government could step in to help with the job losses like they seemed to do in the time after this footage was taken. These two solutions would involve a biological approach and an economical approach because that is the category that they primarily deal with. Everyone should be responsible for relieving this stress. If we all worked together towards a solution, we could accomplish so much more. When dealing with stress in this situation, all parties can do their part to take stress of the individual’s shoulders.

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