Unnatural Causes: Becoming American

I thought this movie was fascinating. The documentary follows Amador Bernal and his family as they adapt to American life. Amador and his wife work at a mushroom farm in Pennsylvania and his children excel in school and also work. Amador has been in the US for twenty years and has never been to the doctor. His family recently joined him in America from Mexico. The documentary used the Bernal family as an example to look at how the stress of living in America can harm health and how immigrants are shielded from this stress. The Bernal family is very healthy and have no major chronic illnesses when they came to America. While most American families suffer from many chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The Bernal’s shield themselves from this stress because of a strong family base and community support. The documentary explained that the strong family bond and bond to the community helps them avoid focusing on stress and is an outlet for the everyday stresses the family faces. The Bernal’s slowly become more American as they live longer in the US causing them to be more susceptible to stress and health issues. The documentary explains that immigrants that come to the US are healthy. As immigrants stay longer in the US their health gets worse, they develop different chronic illness, depression, and succumb to the stress of living in the US. I thought this was really interesting how much immigrants are first protected but as they live longer in the US, the stress breaks down their protective shield. Growing up in the US I feel like I have great support systems, but I feel like if I had to immigrate to another country where I don’t speak the language, I would feel isolated and feel a loss of support.  I also thought it was interesting how important the support the Bernal’s receive from their family and community is to their health. Social support is so vital to not only our mental health but also our physical health. We need to have more support not only from our families and friends but also our communities to help combat the stresses we face in the US.

The documentary also brought up how the in the US the sense of isolation can be detrimental to our health. This sense of isolation and the loss of social support can lead to not only mental health issues but also physical issues. The documentary also mentioned that America is becoming more isolated and people are losing a sense of community leading to worse health. I thought the point about isolation was fascinating. It makes sense that we are becoming more isolated because we are working more hours and spending less time with friends and family. I thought this was really interesting because we seem to be isolating ourselves more and more which causes our health to decline which can lead to more isolation. This becomes a circle problem that we need to avoid to stay healthy.

Published by

One thought on “Unnatural Causes: Becoming American

  1. I also found the point about isolation really interesting. My first true experience being in a predominantly white environment was high school and I remember feeling incredibly isolated to the point where my health did deteriorate a lot in the first two years. It was through relationships and networks that I created with the help of clubs such as the Latino Student Association, that I finally felt less isolated. I feel that organizations like these can be implemented on a wider scale in order to help with this problem of isolation which is why I really liked the ending point in the video about merging American and immigrant culture in order to create protective social networks.

Comments are closed.