The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down 13 & 14

    The Lees take Lia home after she has been declared brain dead. I was shocked by Dave Schneider, who took over Lia’s care. He mentioned that when he heard Lia was coming back to MCMC “basically brain-dead” his “heart sank” but shockingly it was not at Lia’s state but at the Lee’s return because he had heard they were difficult patients (Fadiman 172). His treatment of the Lees was lackluster but Peggy stepped up and allowed the Lees to perform ceremonies and traditions in the hospital, because she believed Lia was close to death. Lia’s parents took her off medication to take her home because they believed it was the medication that was killing her (Fadiman 176). Her parents found the hospital staff offensive because they believed it was bad luck to say someone was going to die and they kept hearing that over and over (Fadiman 177). For this reason, they took Lia home as soon as they could.

   The subsequent chapter discussed refugees’ introduction to the United States and their migration to states like California due to welfare policy. Many Hmongs could not find employment and as they had been made a promise by the CIA that Americans would aid them after the war for their help but instead they found themselves condemned by Americans for “eating welfare” (Fadiman 201). This chapter discussed the poor mental health and hopelessness among Hmong refugees, worsened by attempts to assimilate them to American culture.

    I found the Melting Pot chapter to be particularly interest because it reminded me of our class discussions about mental health and disparities in mental health by race. A tad similar to the situation of African Americans in the United States, Hmongs had depressive symptoms but did not consider themselves to be afflicted with mental health issues, and often cited a broken liver as the source of their problems (Fadiman 204). I did research on mental health related to race my freshman year and still find the results very interesting. There is a correlation between symptoms of mental health disorders and people of color, but I am curious about the factors involved in a lack of diagnosis.

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