Growing up with “depression” was a taboo subject. If I mentioned the word, my grandmother or mother would immediately tell me I needed Jesus, laid hands on me, prayed and then sent me to church. Other common Hispanic rituals of alleviating depression, anxiety or “nervios” (“nerve problems”) are to a go to a curandero, light candles or roll eggs on our bodies then place the egg in a bowl under our bed while you slept to rid of the negative energy. Often in the Hispanic culture if we exhibit any depressive symptoms or “nerve problems” we were just told to “get over it…you will be okay.” Not knowing that there is a clinical diagnosis for this and having thoughts of being different has often led to treating these feelings with alcohol and drugs causing the depression and anxiety to worsen.
If anyone did attempt to get help, “that is the gringo way.” (Whites are 60% more likely to receive mental health treatment than the Hispanic culture). Then, there is the label or the stigma of getting involved in treatment and being stereotyped. “Ella esta loca.” This Stigma often delays or causes minorities to avoid seeking professional help for any mental health symptoms. Other reasons for avoiding treatment are because Hispanics feel they have to resolve their issues on their own or do not want to be a burden. After I graduated in 1991 with my Bachelors in Social Work I got my first professional position at the local mental health authority clinic. Por Stephanie Shamloo This is when I fell in love with the mental health field. My knowledge and education has grown since working with this population for over 27 years. Since then I have referred many of my family members. They have finally got the treatment that they should have received many years ago. My only regret is that I did not learn about it earlier so that I could get the help for my Grandmother that has passed on since then. Don’t wait. There is treatment and relief for your extreme feelings of sadness and “ansios”.