Social Learning theory

For society to try to understand criminal behavior, there have been many theories of crime. These theories focus on the main question being,

why do criminals commit crime?

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There are quite a few of these theories, but the one I find myself in most agreeance with is the social learning theory.

The social learning theory was developed by a psychologist named Albert Bandura. The basis of this theory is that people learn and model what is observed around them. There are three key concepts to the social learning theory. First one being observational learning, what is observed is modeled. Second concept is that the internal mental state plays an essential part. And lastly, that social learning theory recognizes that just because something has been observed and learned, doesn’t mean that behavior will change.  

The social learning theory is a mix between classical as well as operant conditioning. It involves what is called intrinsic reinforcement, which is a form of internal rewards. These rewards being things such as pride, self-accomplishment, and satisfaction.

The social learning theory helps researchers understand how things like violence and aggression may be observed and modeled behaviors. Researchers within this theory study things like media violence, and how observing such could possibly lead to modeling the same behaviors. The social learning theory can also be used for good. By spreading positive messages through popular platforms, there can be change in certain behaviors.

I believe that the social learning theory is the best reasoning for crime. To explain why I think this, I’m going to share details from the life of a childhood friend.

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This friend, (we’ll call him Ben), was the sweetest guy. He made perfect grades, was very intellectual, and he made everyone around him laugh. Ben looked like he had a great life, and a great family, but behind closed doors it was different. Ben had been around drugs his entire life. His parents got together because of drugs, and they stayed well involved with drugs and alcohol throughout all of Ben’s life. I remember Ben telling me that when he was about five years old, he was taken into a drug house with his father, and he watched a guy get stabbed to death right in front of him.

By the time Ben was a teenager, his mother used him as a connection for pills and meth. This became a gateway for Ben into a dangerous lifestyle, before even turning seventeen years old. The years that followed Ben were filled with crime. He spent time in juvenile detention centers, rehabs, halfway houses, jails, and prisons. He did AA, and NA, he tried therapy at times. Nothing ever seemed to help him, and he tossed his life away, never seeming to get it back. His petty crimes worsened as he went through the prison systems. He couldn’t live a normal life; he would always wind back in prison. The last time he was out on parole, he murdered two people for reasons still unknown.

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Now, I know that Ben deserves to take accountability for his actions. But I can reason with why he ended up in the shape he’s in. He has a sister that is less than two years younger than him that turned out he exact opposite of him. Perception and Ben’s internal mental state were the downfall to him. Due to the social learning theory, one could argue that Ben didn’t have a fighting chance for a life without crime. He was exposed to a dangerous lifestyle as soon as he was born. He does not remember a time in his life that he didn’t know what drugs were. He saw not only his parents partaking in the drugs and awful lifestyle, but everyone around him. As he grew older, he started hanging around the same type of people that he had observed his entire life. This progressively made him a criminal. Then, while doing prison time, he was exposed to even more criminals. This had to of played a role in the development of the monster he now is labeled. It just goes to show me that you can take the sweetest, most pure soul, and being around the wrong people in the wrong environment can change everything about a person.

I believe that the social learning theory helps define why crime happens. So often we see people repeat the lives of their parents. And if not their parents, the people around them. TV shows, movies, music, everything we involve ourselves in plays a role in who we are as people. Our mentality, moral values, and personal lifestyles all make up who we are.

What theory of crime do you agree with?

Mental Health in America: A fight for humanity

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Since the documented beginning of human life, mental health has been stigmatized and is often left misunderstood. To understand mental health, one must understand the term. “The term mental health represents a variety of human aspirations: rehabilitation of the mentally disturbed, prevention of mental disorder, reduction of tension in a stressful world, and attainment of a state of well-being in which the individual functions at a level consistent with his or her mental potential.” (“Mental Hygiene”). Defining what mental health truly is helps us understand the whole aspect of what it includes. The Britannica Encyclopedia also defines mental hygiene: “the science of maintaining mental health and preventing the development of psychosis, neurosis, or other mental disorders.” (“Mental Hygiene”). Clear progression can be seen in how mental health is now thought of and cared for. But unfortunately, there are still many changes to be made within our systems. America has an underlying responsibility to achieve a successful understanding of mental health. More needs to be done within our mental health studies, and all people living with mental illness should have access to beneficial living environments.

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Since the beginning, there has been a sort of fear associated with mental illness.  This usually led to condemning those suffering with mental illness as possessed by demons or involved with witchcraft. This reaction caused maltreatment and abuse to those suffering. As far back as the 18th century, there is documented evidence of inhumane treatment. For example: restraining patients to chairs, brain surgeries, and cruel living environments. Families would disassociate with their loved ones, abandoning them to harsh living environments. Dorothea Dix was a schoolteacher from Maine. She discovered that those with mental illness were being kept in the jail/prison systems. She found that these people were kept in awful living environments. They were shackled to the walls, abused, and malnourished. This sparked a fire in Dorothea Dix, who made it her own personal duty to achieve change within the 1840’s. (“The Life of Dorothea Dix”). Although she did create awareness to this awful situation, it seemed to push those with mental illness to more hospital like settings. These places were usually far away from families of the mentally unwell.  

A main issue that I have with modern day mental health, is that society still does not know what to do with our Americans who suffer with mental health issues. In the scholarly journal, “Jails: America’s Biggest Mental Health Facilities.” (2018). Catia Sharp tells of a mentally ill man named James Boyd. James grew up abused in foster care and was eventually left homeless on the streets. Sharp tells about how the government failed Boyd by continuing to incarcerate him, instead of having facilities suitable for people with mental illness. She used James as an example to push her opinion on how the government should have care set up for these mentally unwell people. She wants to see places structured for people that need help with mental health, instead of pushing them into our jails and prisons. I cannot agree more with Sharp. It deeply saddens me to think about someone who is alone and mentally suffering, with nowhere to go. In Sharp’s article she goes on to talk about how certain police have stated that they arrest some homeless mentally unwell people to help them. That the police feel as though, at least in jail they will have access to some mental health care. There are limited places for the mentally unwell to be housed and taken care of. Insurance also plays a part in the downfall of our mental health systems. Most health facilities require a patient to have medical insurance to receive much of any care.

Mental hospitals were not as “exposed” as the jails and prison systems. Being somewhat isolated only lead to more types of abuse, malnourishment, neglect, and maltreatment. In the 1960’s there was a shift within the mental health system. Professionals brought in the idea of a social psychological perspective. It was believed that psychiatrists needed to work together to develop more of an understanding. Rather than by themselves, doctors would work alongside one another to diagnose, treat, and care for patients under their care. But, within the 1970s biological psychology and psychopharmacology expanded its grounds. With these fields and practices expanding, individualism became reinstated in caring for mental health. (Smith). These fields of practice tend to focus on the individual, rather than a generalized group. And with the shift of changes, some original practices (like individualism) were restored.

Perhaps if people were required to take the time to learn about mental health, it could be impactful to America. In “Urgent Need for Improved Mental Health Care and a More Collaborative Model of Care” (2017)., the authors provide excellent insight to many statistics of mental illness. They also include information on issues with the mental health crisis. More people need to be aware of this information. Americans should be taught how this affects our country, our people, and our lives. In this same journal article, the authors go on to talk about treatment options within mental health, from psychotherapeutic techniques to electroconvulsive therapy. Although I support the ideas of treatment, when necessary, I respect that these authors included some of the bad affects of treatment options. People who are already suffering with a mental illness/disease, take the risk of these bad effects just to have a sense of relief. A person in enough desperation to try treatments that can make them ill, possibly worsen their symptoms, or even the chance of death. Lake and Turner provided information within their journal article that just proved that there is a dire need for more research and development in mental health.

Stigma associated to mental health can be seen as an overpowering force of negativity. To this day, there is still a lingering mental health stigma that society cannot seem to dissolve. This negative social response has created even more trouble within America. With such a burdening stigma, complications arise. Suicide rates are high, as many do not seek mental health care. Fear of being judged and put down for a mental illness can further the fear of social rejection. The fear of being socially rejected can affect an individual’s coping strategies. Studies conducted with autopsied suicide victims showed 90% were found to have psychiatric disorders. Stigma can cause individuals to hide their illnesses in fear of rejection or mockery. This can lead to feelings of hopelessness and suicidal ideation. (Oexle, et al).

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Sadly, our society has not made sure that every human has mental health care. Sixty percent of our youth who suffer with depression, do not receive any mental health treatment. 10.8 percent of Americans suffering with a mental illness are uninsured. (“Mental Health America”). This is a critical situation that needs more attention directed toward it. We need more researchers working on different ways to help those in need. Everyone should have access to mental health care, not just the ones who live in places with easy access. Studies have been conducted to show that socioeconomic status (SES) plays a key role in who seeks treatment, as well as who has clearer access to mental health care. Those who live in a lower SES receive a lower rate of treatment vs. those who live in a higher SES. (Evans-Lacko, S., et al.,). There should be systems set up for all people, from all levels of SES. I would even go as far as to say, I believe that insurance should not play any type of role within our mental health care. Every American should have the right to free mental health care.

The statistics surrounding mental health and mental illnesses are alarming. I would think that in modern day America, society’s outlook on mental health would be better than where it originated. I would also think that society would have an insane number of advancements within treatments and care plans for those who need help in mental health. But sadly, America is still not where it needs to be. More research needs to be implicated in order to further understand mental health. Although I wish the government would get a handle on how to properly care for those suffering, I do not have much faith that this is on the top of their priority lists. Therefore, I wish the basis of society here in America would come together to make these changes happen. If humans can stand together and push for change, the possibilities are endless. And what better way to end the mental health stigma, than to stand by one another in hopes to build better representations of what mental health is. “People need other people.” -To Write Love on her Arms (Nonprofit Movement.)

Works Cited

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopedia. “Mental hygiene”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 28 Feb. 2020, https://www.britannica.com/science/mental-hygiene. Accessed 18 July 2021

Evans-Lacko, S., et al. “Socio-Economic Variations in the Mental Health Treatment Gap for People with Anxiety, Mood, and Substance use Disorders: Results from the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys.” Psychological Medicine, vol. 48, no. 9, 2018, pp. 1560-1571. ProQuest, https://www.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/socio-economic-variations-mental-health-treatment/docview/2052744165/se-2?accountid=40159, doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0033291717003336.

Lake, James, and Mason Spain Turner. “Urgent Need for Improved Mental Health Care and a More Collaborative Model of Care.” The Permanente journal vol. 21 (2017): 17-024. doi:10.7812/TPP/17-024

”Mental Health America”, 2021, mhanational.org/issues/state-mental-health-america

Oexle, N et al. “Mental illness stigma, secrecy and suicidal ideation.” Epidemiology and psychiatric sciences vol. 26,1 (2017): 53-60. doi:10.1017/S2045796015001018

Smith, Matthew. “A Fine Balance: Individualism, Society and the Prevention of Mental Illness in the United States, 1945–1968.” Palgrave Communications, vol. 2, no. 1, 2016. ProQuest, https://www.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/fine-balance-individualism-society-prevention/docview/2090645181/se-2?accountid=40159, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/palcomms.2016.24.

“VOICE FOR THE MAD: A LIFE OF DOROTHEA DIX.” Kirkus Reviews, no. 8, 1995. ProQuest, https://www.proquest.com/trade-journals/voice-mad/docview/917202915/se-2?accountid=40159.

Mental health Mindfulness

Mental Health in America: A fight for humanity

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My journey with Mental Health (the young & negative years)

My dad’s mother was a bipolar drug addict/alcoholic that developed schizophrenia in her later years. She died in her 50’s.

My dads sister also developed schizophrenia, and she was the scariest sight of my childhood.

My mother had amazingly, loving parents. Both were older when they had her, and my grandpa died in his 70’s when I was 8 and a half. He was my best friend in life.

My parents were awesome, but they were very strict due to my mother’s religious raising, and my fathers awful childhood.

One of my dearest friends committed suicide at 12 years old. I was 14.

A few months after her Suicide, we found out our small school was shutting down. the place where my grandparents went in the early 1900’s, both my parents went, and where I called Home.

I suffered through the transition and starting failing my classes on purpose. I was supposed to graduate a year early at my old school. But my new school didn’t accept those extra credits. I hated it there. My anxiety heightened.

By 15, my parents let me homeschool until I was able to get my GED.

This was also the year that I started having an insane pulsing in my stomach. I couldn’t eat much, I couldn’t sleep right. Laying on my back or my stomach was uncomfortable. My thoughts were constantly racing, I was without a doubt depressed and worrisome.

My mother took me to the doctor and just by feeling my stomach, the doctor knew I was experiencing an anxiety disorder. She asked questions, I answered when I could- my mom answered when I was too busy crying.

She explained to my mother and I that the pulsing I was experiencing was the main artery in my stomach. It was overworking itself due to anxiety/constant worry. She told my mother that medicine was something we needed to strongly consider because this issue could lead to a heart attack or stroke. It could lead to seizures in some cases.

My mother was crying, and we started my journey with antidepressants.

This was kept a secret from my father for a few years. He was against medication, and due to his raising- he dismissed mental illnesses all together. Looking back, I know now it’s because it terrified him.

My mom would have to sleep with me and hold me through the night at times. I couldn’t breathe. The anxiety attacks felt never ending.

I didn’t know who I was. I was too busy worrying about anything and everything, I didn’t spend time developing as a teen should. I was stunted.

I had a job steadily since 15. Started really dating at 16.

I was always against any type of drug or alcohol because of my dads family. I mean, I knew what meth was since the time I was 5 just by looking at my grandmother.

But a few weeks before 17, I started smoking pot. And even a bit before that, my cousin and I were stealing beer from my dads cooler and stashing it for the weekends.

By 17 I was spending my time trying to drown out any emotion, any anxiety or depression.

Since I had gotten my GED at 16, my mom was pretty adamant about me jumping in to college and making something of myself. So I signed up for nursing at 17. By the end of the 1st semester I was over it, and switched my major to child development. But I was too busy goofing off and being stupid, that I eventually dropped.

By 19, I was living with a boyfriend that I eventually ended things with while he was off working, hours away. When I told my parents that I was going to move back home, they were sure I was losing my mind and requested that I try therapy.

Therapy wasn’t helpful. My therapist tried making me lists of things I couldn’t bring myself to do, in hopes that I’d battle my anxiety disorders. I couldn’t order my own food through a drive thru, or even pump my own gas because of my social anxiety and my paranoia. There were times I’d have to stop on the side of the road to breathe because the panic attacks were too intense. Her lists just annoyed me so I stopped going.

I fought with my parents because I was mentally ill. By that time I had been through so many trials of antidepressants that I never thought I’d ever find one to actually help me. Most just made me worse. And since I wasn’t going to therapy, it was left up to doctors and nurse practitioners to prescribe me medication.

I moved away from home and was off meds. I lived with “friends” and we spent the majority of our time trying to score drugs. At that point in my life, I didn’t care what it was- I was probably doing it.

Things got pretty rough. The only times we were eating was when we were working at whatever restaurant at the time. Our money was blown by the time we got it, and the bills were piling up. We dispersed our friend group, I came back to my hometown.

Instead of being with my parents, (where I should’ve been) I went to another “friend” group. By this time I was pretty used to just living like a Gypsy and going with the flow. Sleeping on whatever couch, drinking all the time. Mixing the alcohol with whatever drugs we had.

Xanax became a big thing around town and I’d get most of my bars for free. The streets supplied my friends and my friends supplied me. There’s atleast a year of my life that’s nothing but a blur because of that member of the benzo family. To make matters worse, I was trying to better myself & had went to the doctor to try medicine again.

The drugs weren’t helping in the ways I needed. I could drown out the depression for a while, and get black out drunk to escape the anxiety- but the anxiety would always Be right back. It never really left me. It was a lingering stabbing pain in my whole body. So I reached out to the doctors. Ofcourse I didn’t share that I abused drugs at the time. At 20 years old, they prescribed me Xanax, buspar, and ambien.

The buspar made me dizzy. I took the ambien twice and had awful experiences both times before I flushed the bottle. But the Xanax was where I was already suffering. Xanax was the one thing I have ever felt actually addicted to. It got so bad that I eventually moved back home to cry out to my dad for help. I had never been suicidal in my life, but at this point I was desperate. My dad held me and flushed the rest of my pills. After a few weeks, I was okay- and I never touched Xanax, or even another benzo again.

This chapter of my life ended here. I was in the very start of my 20’s, I’m now in my later 20’s. So much growth has blessed my life since my younger days.

Given, this is just a bit of my life. There are stories to be told in between these time frames and after. But this gives you an insight to the life I have lived.

I do believe my life would’ve been different if I would’ve had control of my mental state. For so long I struggled with who I was. I defined myself as my mental illnesses. But through life I found my own growth. I went through these experiences and I learned to take what I had been through and transform myself into someone worth being. There were years that I suffered. I suffered and suffered until I finally had enough. I told myself I wouldn’t suffer anymore and I did all I could to ensure a better mental state for myself.

So I share with you these details, to give you background. In order for you to take my blog seriously, it’s important that I establish who I have been and who I am now. How I have suffered, and how I broke through it. How life has struck me, and I learned to strike back.

Stay tuned for more ❤️

Covid 19 killed my son’s grandmother. How can we cope?

It was really weird that I hadn’t heard from Wylder’s grandmother in close to a week. I knew that her husband was also in the hospital, and that they both had been taken in for low O2 levels. I texted G to check up on her and Pa, after an hour or so she replied back to me. She said that they were still in the hospital and that she was sure missing our little guy.

A few days passed and they released Pa from the hospital. He had fluid still in his lungs, but his o2 levels were back to acceptable. And due to overcrowding of covid patients- he had to be sent home to heal the rest of the way.

After another week of not hearing from G, I sent her a video of Wylie telling her he loved her. She messaged back the next day that she loved him so much and that video of him was the best medicine.

Yet another week passes and we’re all desperately missing G. For almost 4 years now, G and my own mother are the only people that have ever kept Wylie. I don’t trust people with my children, and it has taken a lot of working together for G and I to establish such a comfortable routine with Wylie. Wylder is missing his grandmother so much. It’s been weeks since he got to see her and he has asked me so many times, “Mommy, elmo get better yet?”

I texted G last Wednesday and never got a response.

Wylie’s father called me crying on Sunday saying that G was in a coma and it wasn’t looking good for her.

We prayed. We all prayed hard.

By Tuesday, G had a heart attack while in her coma. The doctors said she wasn’t going to make it. The family made plans to all travel in town to say their goodbyes Wednesday morning. But during the night of Tuesday- G passed away.

How can you tell a 3 & a half year old that their loving grandmother is gone?

He can’t even be with that part of the family because they are all getting over Covid, and we are unsure about spreading. I’m terrified and heartbroken that we can’t be with them in these times of need. We cannot even grieve all together.

This amazing woman has been a part of everything Wylder has ever done. Birthday parties, holidays, fairs, games, you name it.

She has also been a huge safety net for me. Without her, I couldn’t have just let Wylie’s father have him for days at a time. He has spurts of irresponsibilities and emotional outbursts. & G knew where I stood on situations. We had established a perfect routine, where we were all comfortable and happy.

He’s not even 4, so what can he really understand?

The research I’ve done on the subject of grieving in children, says to just tell him. To bluntly tell him.

  • Don’t hold back information (clearly tell the child that their grandparent is dead.)
  • Don’t sugarcoat anything
  • And don’t hold off on telling your child about the death.

I know I need to keep the information short, because Wylie doesn’t need to hear everything. He just needs to know that even though Pa got better and is home- G didn’t get better and she’s not here anymore.

So here we are. I’ve called my mom for help telling him, because it’s hard to stop crying. My heart breaks for my child.

He sat on his swing set and my mom sat in a lawn chair. I kneeled beside him.

We explained that Pa was home, and that Elmo wasn’t. That she got more sick, and she died. He seemed like he was trying to process the information we gave him, but there was a cluelessness in his eyes.

He kept asking “Why?” And we kept trying to explain. We told him that his Elmo loved him very very much and that we will make sure to keep her memory alive. He didn’t cry, he did seem a bit confused. But after we talked, he went right back inside to play with his little brother.

After talking to G’s youngest daughter, Wylie’s aunt, my heart broke more. She told me that one of the last things her mom told her is that she didn’t want her grand babies to forget her and she loved her baby (Wylder) so much. This makes me cry everytime I think about it.

Knowing that this 58 year old woman laid there for weeks, knowing she was going to die. She was suffering, completely isolated away from her family- and so out of breath she could barely talk on the phone most times.

And during the times of her suffering, she’s worried about her grand babies remembering her.

I never would’ve thought about losing G this young. I figured she’d make it to see Wylie grow up and maybe even see her great grand babies. She was still so young with so much life left in her.

Now there’s the worry that Wylie could possibly not even remember the woman who dedicated herself to loving him. The love they have shared, the memories they had made. It’s all fragile times for my sons growth.

We live with my 90 year old grandmother. Wylder has been blessed with having both sets of amazing, loving grandparents and one living great grandmother. I have been so proud for Wylie to have been so blessed with so many loving supporters in his life. Now the system that I’ve loved so much has a chink in the chain.

I have to completely change things in life because of the loss of this amazing woman. And so does all of her family members, who solely relied on her. So many people hurt because of this awful tragedy.

Get your vaccines, play it safe.

G and Pa did not get their vaccines. Apparently there’s more of a stigma related to the vaccine than the actual virus itself.

I have a 46 year old father with COPD, congestive heart failure and diabetes. A brother with lung issues, a mother whose trying to quit smoking cigarettes, a grandmother that’s 90 and feeble. I have 2 small children and a husband to think of. These people of my formal family are everything to me. And if I hadn’t of got the vaccine I would’ve felt pretty selfish.

I’ve only got the one shot, but I’m staying isolated- waiting for my 2cd one. We barely get out of the house. Walmart comes in pretty clutch with grocery pick up.

Times are insane and the more unvaccinated people walking around, the more this covid is thought to develop. The variants seem to get progressively worse, affecting more in the destructive pathways.

I live in the south. This is where the most unvaccinated people live and this is where covid is HOT right now. All of our hospitals are overflowing, and people are dying left and right.

Wear the mask, get the shot. Stop feeling so “rights entitled” that you selfishly putting yourself and others at risk. Make a stand.

You want to talk about a toll on mental health? We are losing our loved ones so quickly. So many are isolated without their families. Take the time to consider others in these dark days.

We have to stand together to make changes. And we need one another.

So tell me:

  • Have you been vaccinated?
  • Have you lost loved ones to this virus?
  • How did you cope?
  • How did you tell your children?
  • How has all of this affected your mental health?
  • How do you feel toward Covid 19?

Welcome to my personal mental health blog!

Welcome 🤗 #1st blog post!

It’s my first post, so go easy on me.

Purpose & Inclusions:

  • To share my personal struggles with mental health, as well as others.
  • My coping strategies
  • Parenting and Mental Health
  • Setting out to help those who may feel alone.
  • To embrace self-love by welcoming exploration of my life.
  • To help YOU embrace self-love
  • Mental health tips & tricks
  • Poetry
  • Facts
  • Statistics
  • Opinion
  • Stories
  • EVERYTHING INVOLVING MENTAL HEALTH

I’m in love with my collarbone tattoo 🥰

This was right after I got my “Empathy” tattoo, so it looks a little messy.

Defining my blog name:

Empathy: “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.”

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empathy

Speak: “To express thoughts or feelings to convey information in speech or writing.”

https://www.thefreedictionary.com/speak

What would YOU like to see in a blog post?

Reach out & let me know!