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Monday, May 2, 2016

Call for Action: Get Talking About Mental Health

By Silvia Alvarez de Davila — Extension Educator

There is not health without mental health. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well being. Mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and addiction are real, common and treatable. But not all of us think about our mental health enough, and Latinos are not different when it comes to prevalence of mental health conditions.

We all experience emotional ups and downs caused by different events in our lives. However, mental health conditions go beyond these emotional reactions. Mental disorders are medical conditions that change the way we think and feel. They also can alter our lives and make it hard to relate to others and function the way we are used to.

Mental health conditions, such as depression, are diseases and often have biological causes. These conditions are not caused by personal weakness or lack of willpower, and they are not contagious. Even more than in American culture as a whole, there is a stigma attached to mental health conditions in Latino culture that makes people ashamed to talk about mental health issues with relatives and friends. The problem is that mental health conditions will often worsen and become disabling without treatment.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month — an ideal time to break the silence and talk to friends and family about mental health conditions. Please answer this call to action and identify symptoms and seek treatment and quality care for mental health conditions that you or loved ones may be experiencing. Doing so will strengthen Latino families now and in the future.

For more information
  • Contact the Crisis Connection to get immediate help by calling or texting 1-866-379-6363.
  • Participate in our free online workshop, "Getting Good Professional Help," available at
  • Find tips on controlling the stress that accompanies mental health conditions on the Controlling Stress web page.

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