AFH Photo // Aijanah Sanford
Americans who encounter the enduring realities of a Trump presidency may experience symptoms of Trump-trauma. According to Peter Ward, a paleontologist and professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, “the average level of stress in America is rapidly increasing.”
Michelle Lee, a medical student studying at Harvard Medical School, said that “national policies can absolutely have ramifications that could potentially cause trauma.” She added, “The more traumatic events you have, the more deleterious the effects may be.” 
Lee feels the wrath of Trump “as a woman, as a daughter of immigrants, and as a future healthcare provider.” 
Ironically, at a time when the state of our mental health is threatened, the current administration is severing our public health resources. 
Trump has proposed slashing the National Institute of Health (NIH)’s budget by $6 billion. As an organization that works to develop new treatments that will be used to prevent disease, “it would be devastating,” Lee said. 
As of today, Trump’s budget has not yet been approved by Congress. However, his presidency is already having a distinct impact on the public’s psyche. 
Fatima Eddahbi, 15, a Moroccan-born Muslimah, feels the trauma-like effects of Trump. “Considering I’m a Muslim women of color, it’s really hard to feel accepted in a country that seems so against you,” she said. “It makes me feel that I’m not a part of a community that I once was a part of.” 
In Eddahbi’s view, Trump-trauma could certainly be a real phenomenon. “In the families that he’s really affecting and really hurting, I feel like someone could experience PTSD, especially those who have gone through deportation in their families,”  she said.
Aviana Sullivan, a 15-year-old from East Boston, affirms that stress levels have risen during this administration. With grandparents that were born in Brazil, she fears they will lose their citizenship. Sullivan claims Trump, “stresses everyone out” and that she “empathizes” with the minorities targeted by Trump. “We’re screwed,” Sullivan said. 
Unfortunately, Trump-trauma is only just getting started, as the President has yet to complete his first year in office.
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AFH Photo // Delia Fleming
He’s prescribed a pill a day for his knee pain. He sneaks a second one after dinner, because he sleeps more easily after taking the prescribed muscle relaxer. He takes one in the morning, one before his train ride home because sitting aches, and one before bed. Every day. Although his doctor prescribed only one pill with breakfast, it relieves his pain to take more, so he assumes his doctor won’t mind.
Roughly 21 to 29 percent of people prescribed chronic pain relievers abuse them, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Sadly, the hypothetical scenario above is very much a reality today. You may have heard of it: the opioid epidemic. NIDA defines the opioid epidemic as the “misuse of and addiction to opioids—including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.” 
In 2016, this epidemic was responsible for nearly 2,000 deaths in Massachusetts alone—over five times as deadly as it was in 2000, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Of these 2,000 victims, over 150 were younger than 25 years old.
Dr. Nicholas Chadi, Pediatric Addictions Fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital, works with adolescents who struggle with substance abuse, and agrees that the opioid epidemic is a rising issue among our youth. “We’re seeing these opioids become a lot more available on the streets,” he said.“We’re seeing severe cases and overdoses a lot more than we used to.” 
Teenagers access opioids in a multitude of ways, from their own prescribed medications to stealing family member’s pills to buying off the streets. The recreational use of opioids such as fentanyl and morphine is becoming common among teenagers because of the feelings and side effects they produce. Seventeen-year-old Josie D. from Dallas, Texas, has been prescribed many heavy opioids for chronic pain. While she did not become addicted, she realizes how dangerous they are. Josie compares the experience of taking biweekly morphine treatments to being high.“I didn’t like the feeling,” she said. “But I can understand why someone would like it because you’re not thinking about your life or your problems.”
For teenagers, that in itself is plenty reason to try opioids. They are easier to use than other drugs in terms of convenience and secrecy, and don’t leave behind any smell or mess. It’s much easier to slip a pill than it is to go out and obtain other drugs. 
“I’ve had situations where people have approached me at school, knowing my pain condition and assuming that I am on painkillers, and they’ll ask me if they can have some,” Josie said. “The opioid epidemic is definitely a pressing issue among our youth today. When something has reached such a level that you can’t walk down your school hallways without other kids mentioning it, you know it’s important to teenagers.”
Dr. Sarah Bagley, Medical Director of Boston Medical Center’s Catalyst Program, also agrees this pressing issue requires more attention from youth. She spends her days seeing patients and helping them with their addictions as well as researching ways to engage young adults after non-fatal overdoses. She has worked with patients as young as nine years old and believes that opioids are not only dangerous, but a gateway to other drugs. 
“Teenagers who are exposed to opioids and start using them regularly are really at more serious risk for developing addiction,” Dr. Bagley said. “Addiction is loss of control; it’s compulsion.” She works to prevent this by diagnosing patients with a moderate, mild, or severe opioid use disorder. To treat this, she and her team use alternative therapy approaches and even switch patients from opioids to other medications such as buprenorphine or methadone. “We are using medications to treat a disease instead of to get high,” she said. “These medications allow you to stay in school, get a job, and reduce the chance that you’ll get HIV.”
Dr. Navil Sethna, Medical Director of Boston Children’s Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Center, also works to wean his chronic pain patients off of opioids. His approach involves a slow wean off the opioids to allow the patient’s body to adjust and help with withdrawals. He prefers to try to prevent the problem before it occurs rather than fix it afterwards. To do this, he believes our society must focus on education. 
“We can educate the health care prescribers and providers in terms of dosing and appropriate prescription.” he said. “We need to inform parents and patients on the pill’s purpose, duration and side effects.”
Dr. Chadi agrees. “Education is the first step,” he said. “It starts with educating the prescribers, and then it has to go into the schools. Schools need to know when students start using; students need to know the risks of using.”
Josie also feels that society as a whole should combat the opioid epidemic. “As a society, we should work on denormalizing trends that are addictive,” she said. “We need to start shutting down the gateways.”
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AFH Photo // Esther Bobo
For decades, many black people have tried to make society embrace their natural hair. Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, black activists including the Black Panthers used their natural hair as a symbol of being politically aware, or “being woke.”
When I decided to go natural, I found out that the discrimination of kinky hair came from slave culture. Slave owners were seen as superior. Their skin color was the right skin color. Their hair was the right hair. Color has always been what divided African-Americans. Light skinned black people with “good” hair were in the house, while dark skin black people with “nappy” hair were outside. The term nappy was a derogatory term which separated our kinky hair from their straight hair. African-Americans were taught since the beginning of time that their hair was not good hair. 
Now, natural hair is making a comeback. Jessie Hutley, a Roxbury resident, says, “Natural hair is making a comeback, so I had to go back to my roots.” Black women are wearing their natural hair more than ever. Singer Solange Knowles cut her hair and went natural in 2009, making her one of the first prominent figures in the natural hair movement. Viola Davis, the only black woman to be nominated for three Academy Awards, wore her natural hair to the 2012 Academy Awards rather than a wig, which is usually the norm for any red carpet event.
According to the global market research firm Mintel, hair relaxer sales have decreased $206 million, or 26 percent in the past five years, and they are still decreasing. Even with fewer hair relaxers being bought, there are still people in the black community who use hot combs and other straightening products. 
With more people wearing their natural hair, there are more salons and events that specialize in natural hair. “Return to your Roots” is an annual event that advertises and admires natural hair, and in 2012, Boston hosted “Curls Gone Wild: Natural Hair and Health Expo” to feature natural hair care services and products. These events teach you how to maintain and love your natural hair. 
There are also lot of YouTubers who post videos on maintaining natural hair. There are videos from daily routines to wash-and-gos to haircutting and hair styling. There are also Facebook pages that promote natural hair products and include tutorials on daily moisturizing routines.
Yvonne Dunkley, a 17-year-old senior at John D. O’Bryant High School, says, “Even though going natural is a whole process, you have to do a lot of moisturizing and protein treatments. It's really a lot, but at the end of the day my natural hair is bomb, and as a black female I need to embrace my hair in its natural state.”
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One Year Later, Franklin Park Zoo’s “Nature’s Neighborhoods” Prove Their Value
AFH Photo // Gilford Murphy
In September 2016, the Franklin Park Zoo opened its renovated children’s zoo titled “Nature’s Neighborhoods.” A year later, the exhibit is still widely advertised and flooded with visitors. And it is easy to see why. 
As a modern exhibit, the enclosures appear more natural than other parts of the zoo, which feature unnatural chain link fences and a somewhat mundane appearance. In the new exhibit, enclosures are built to fit the needs of the animals in terms of space and surroundings. The animals are simulated to believe that they are in the wild because of how their enclosures are constructed. This is an observation made by casual zoogoer Alison Hackett, who thinks the zoo’s other exhibits could be better designed for both the animals and the visitors
Those who look down on zoos and see them as prisons may be surprised to see the improvement in the exhibit design. The animals, which include red pandas, prairie dogs, muntjacs, and a variety of birds, seem more at home here. This is due to the more natural-looking environments that allow the animals to be more active.
There are also some activities for young children, such as a miniature playground and a maze. Kids can also learn about conservation of animals in terms they can understand. 
Visitor Corey Bushong thinks encouraging kids to take better care of the world is a great idea, and that the children’s zoo puts more effort in explaining it than other exhibits. There is no small part in conservation, and it starts here.
Brooke Wardrop, Director of Marketing and Communications at Zoo New England, stated that “the children's zoo was designed specifically for all of the species that reside in this place.” The designers took great pains to make sure every animal would be comfortable. Wardrop is satisfied with how the exhibit turned out, showing the employee’s true passion for what they do.
On the whole, you will not want to miss “Nature’s Neighborhoods.” It has natural-looking and inventive enclosures and great activities for kids. It is certainly a welcome addition to the zoo’s collection.
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When I was a young child in school, it was tough. Every time I was in class, I wasn’t able to pay attention. I would easily get distracted and doze off. I had a moderate stutter. It was difficult to express my feelings, which lead up to me misbehaving. I would start throwing things, have emotional outbursts and curse. I didn’t have emotional guidance until I went to middle school. 
Sixth grade was a very traumatic year for me. My class wasn’t the best learning environment for me. I was getting bullied really badly by students who would tease me about my stutter, physical appearance, or my learning disability. I remember the first day of school, I was in a group of students. As soon as I spoke, I was stuttering, and they laughed at me and called me names. The class pace was too fast for me, from one assignment to another. If I didn’t do the classwork on time, that was it. My grade would go down. I tried my very best. I wanted to take my time completing assignments. The teachers weren’t able to give me enough guidance and assistance. I would often get frustrated.  There were times that I went out of class and cried. The bullying was out of control. The constant name-calling and plotting against me was painful. My grades were poor. 
The only special education teacher in the general education classes was Ms. Mook. She saw that I was struggling. With the academic and emotional help, it made school a little bit easier. She got me into her tutoring program after school and made a strategy chart for me. I still had difficulty managing to be in the class. My breaking point was when my emotions got the best of me due to bullying. I remember I was eating lunch in the cafeteria. A group of kids were cursing at me and discussing a fight that I was in. At that moment, I had enough. It was frustrating and draining to keep getting picked on. I yelled, cursed, threw things, and ran out the cafeteria crying hysterically. All I wanted was genuine people in my life to support me and love me. I was tired of people making fun of me. I told Ms. Mook, “It’s either I go to another class or another school.” Later on Ms. Mook took me to another class. We walked in together. It was a bigger class space with a smaller group of students. I saw a red-headed teacher I had seen in the hallway before. There were two other teachers sitting at a table. Then I noticed most of the students had severe and visible learning disabilities. Some of them were in wheelchairs or had behavior issues. I did a project with the class. I thought I was visiting. Little did I know that this was my new class. I felt comfortable in  Ms. Kersey’s class. Her class was safe, compassionate, and supportive.  As time went on, it was mandatory for me to be in her classroom. It was overwhelming for me at times. The students needed a lot more attention than I did and I had more experience and knowledge than they did. As a result, I was ashamed to be in that environment. Kids from the other class called me a “sped,” “retarded,” or “slow.” I didn’t let what people said about me get to me that much. I knew what I wanted out of my standard education. I wanted a supportive environment. Ms. Kersey and I built a strong professional relationship.  
When 7th grade came, I eventually got over that shame and felt comfortable. I still had times when I felt like I was left behind or not challenged enough. It was difficult balancing my education. I needed assignments that were appropriate for me. Ms. Kersey’s assignments were too easy. I got very frustrated. I remember the time when she gave me the easiest homework. I was upset. I told her in an  inappropriate way that I needed challenging work. I had a outburst. She talked to me about the appropriate way to address my needs and that I should be careful with how I say it. I agreed. I didn’t want the others to feel bad that their academic paces weren’t like mine. I got the point that Ms. Kersey was making. Just because something may be easy for you, that doesn’t mean it’s easy for others. I identified my strengths and weaknesses because we all have both. It doesn’t make me any different. My class setting accommodations worked out well. I needed a smaller group setting with high function assignments. I went to Ms Mook’s and Ms. Kersey’s class to create an educational setting that benefited my needs.
The first day of 8th grade came, and I was excited.  I moved up to advancing classes but was still in a smaller group most of the time.  I was sad because I wanted to stay with Ms. Kersey’s class, but I knew it was time to move on. I was in Mr. Patlan’s class and two other bigger class settings. At first, I didn’t feel comfortable in his class. I missed all of the emotional support I had from the other class. Then I told myself, “Seana, this is what you’ve been wanting for a long time. These new classes are getting you ready for high school. You can do it.”  There was one friend in particular that I helped a lot in class. She was in Mr. Patlan’s class. She had a physical disability and was very emotional.  I saw myself in her.  Instead of ignoring her and paying less attention to her, I helped her with her emotions by giving her guidance on how to deal with stressful situations. I showed what I was doing so she could learn from the strength that I had. I was mature and handled things like a young adult. I didn’t make small problems into big problems. I also identified what a good friend was vs. who weren’t my friends.  Then I knew what people’s true intentions were.  When 8th grade was over I was proud of myself. That is called GROWTH! I went from a frustrated girl that needed lots of support to a mature, ambitious young lady. It is okay to have a learning disability. You are not alone. Anything is possible. You can grow.  It takes time and effort. You have to put in dedication to anything you want to do in life. My specific learning disability doesn’t define me as a person.

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