I'm going to start with the disclaimer. Front and center. Screw the fine print.
What I'm about to say includes a very famous name of a man who committed suicide earlier this week and with the world being what it is, I'm going to tell you right now that Robin Williams was not a coward, that depression is real, and that it's high-fucking-time we realize we can't stop talking about suicide prevention and awareness when the headlines fade away.
Because eventually, they will. The aerial video of his home, the conjecture, the theories, and inflammatory (and triggering) comments made by those who refuse to open their eyes to the reality so many of us live with -- all of it will stop when the next Media It Topic of the Moment proves itself click-worthy and the herd lose interest in chasing a dead man's shadow. And when that happens, because it will, the world will keep spinning even when the conversation stops until the next celebrity loses their own battle with the personal demons their too tired to fight anymore.
Rinse, lather, repeat, and a spin around the mulberry bush for good measure.
Meanwhile, we continue to lose our friends and out family members -- current statistics show that one person dies every 14 minutes) to suicide. That's unacceptable. In the Latino community, the statistics are terrifying.
According to the NAMI Multicultural Action Center, Latinos are listed as a definitive high-risk group for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. This Nami FAQ also states that:
- Latinos are more likely to experience a major depressive episode with about 45 percent women and 19 percent of males affected
- The Common Wealth Fund Survey revealed that surveyed Latino and Asian American girls exhibited more depressive symptoms than the African American or Caucasian teen girls.
- And from a 1997 study, the rate of attempted suicide among Latino high school girls was about 1,5 times higher than that of their counterparts.
And yet, we don't talk. We don't reach out for help. Instead, we do as our cultural upbringings have taught us and that, my friends, is to pretend the bad things don't exist and sweep it all under the rug, lest we bring shame to ourselves and our families.
That shit needs to stop and for that to happen, that means we need to start talking -- and then not stop.
Tonight marks the premier #ChingonaFest Google + Hangout in just over an hour. (Shut up on the short notice thing. It's called Mexican Time and since I'm posting with over an hour to spare, you totally got an early invite.) Topic? Mental Health and the Latino Community. I'll be joined by Ane C. Romero, Sr. Legislative Assistant/ Mental Health Advisor at U.S. House of Representatives and Heiddi Zalamar, a licensed bilingual mental health therapist based in New York.
We may have a bit of a learning curve, but stick with me as I hit the ground running to take ChingonaFest to the next level. And stay tuned: If I can bribe The Husband into being my lackey, each livestream episode will be converted into a podcast the following week. For now, though, I'm concentrating on tonight. And lastly, due to the sentitive nature of this topic, I'd highly recommend anyone who may be triggered by the dicussion to take care of themselves first by watching The Travel Channel instead and, of course, by making sure the little ones are already chasing their dreams.
See ya soon!