Guest Speaker Spotlight- Makenzie Peterson



Makenzie Peterson, the Wellness Program Director for the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. Kenai, Alaska is where Makenzie was born and raised. She received her Master of Science in Health Promotion and Education with an emphasis in International health. Makenzie presented on Addressing Mental Health in Public Health in our special topics course.

Mental illness has a long history of being connected to institutionalization and systemic violence. Asylums have a dark history of immoral treatment of their patient’s and being a place to send patients who needed to be locked away from society. This history introduced a lot of perceptions about mental illness that can still be seen now. “Sixty percent of adults who suffer from mental illness do not receive any mental health services”(Peterson, 2019) which can be seen due to various barriers. These barriers that she discussed are stigma, limited mental health providers, cost, centralization of resources, lack of insurance, etc.  Each barrier plays an important part in why one may not seek out services when struggling with mental illness, even if it will would improve their well-being. Through lecture and discussion with Makenzie our class was able to learn the dark, deep-rooted history of mental illness and how it still effects society years later.

Written by: Paige Priest

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