Cristina Pérez and Sebastián Galván talking about Mental Health issues (WOAR and Consulate of Mexico in Philadelphia)

Shouts for help into the void July, Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Philadelphia, PA-   In at least this neighborhood of immigrants, we have spent many years in fearfulness and anxiety, but over the past 8 years a spectacular focus has fallen on undocumented immigrants receiving full attention, especially in times of election campaigns. Because of the immigration policies, this focus has remained in the political and media arena for the past 4 years, increasing the sense of persecution, including psychological problems as a result of exaggerated coverage in several mass tabloid media outlets.

I remember last year, the trucks from ICE driving around or parked in South Philly. Anytime I would find the trucks, a terrifying fear, as if I just arrived would scare me. The fear of being found by agents, and what would that represent.

Of course, there is nothing by chance or coincidental, it is true that this psychological persecution exists, is premeditated, calculated and disseminated, so that it will have the desired effect on the masses of voters, and it’s directed to generate anguish and anxiety in the immigrants who are depreciated and blamed for the misfortunes of the country.

For years, the emotional intelligence of our immigrant community has suffered, deteriorating due to the lack of desire to seek psychological help, as well as the lack of professionals who understand the needs and situations in their lives.

During the past four years anxiety and fear has gripped the immigrant mind, only one rumor was enough to trigger a collective psychosis of persecution. This situation is created and driven by the government itself creating an unbalanced mental health.

Psychologist Yami Vasquez in her weekly program Preventive Psychology on Philatinos Radio

How many Mexicans and other undocumented immigrants, including those legally established, went through the process of legally assigning a custodian for their sons and daughters under the pressure of the eminent threat of being deported. Just imagine the pain, fear, anxiety and desolation of those parents. On the other hand, the inhumane decisions of the migration system, which the media put before our eyes, with images of children in cages, or caravans of migrants, which intensified those extreme positions of society and the government by eradicating the presence of criminals by the simple fact that you are not legally in the country, and that they were called even animals.

Day after day, emotional instability grows, immigrants with more than 30 years without hope of immigration reform, who stranded in a country where day by day they are living squatted, hopeless, losing the faith of revisiting their country.

At least two generations of young people listed as DACA, DREAMERS, TPS, are living in fear of losing their immigration status. Most of them refuse to define themselves this way; they are and will simply be young men, men and women who see this country as their own, and who wait for more, for much they have given.

In addition, hundreds of thousands of children that are American citizens, are living in fear and anxiety, because, either parent or both, can be deported.

2020 is increasing our fears and anxieties with the pandemic that doesn’t end and the economical crisis that envelops us and threatens us to let go at any moment. I wonder what will be the long-term consequences of our mental health.

A relief that exists locally is a movement of «Community Resilience» promoted mainly by the Mexican Psychologist Cristina Pérez, who by more than 10 years has gradually managed to influence the emotional, mental and behavioral change of the community.

Young Latinos from South Philadelphia and South New Jersey talking about the problems that affect them.

For 7 years «Philatinos» has included information from Latin psychologists such as César Galvis, Yami Vázquez, Patricia Peregrina among others, to express, share and propose a change in mental health, facing the challenges we face today.

July was designated as, «Minority Mental Health Awareness Month», to promote these changes in the specific causes faced by underrepresented groups in relation to mental illness and its treatment in the United States.

Will the system be ready to face it? Will we be aware of what we need?  We must accept psychological help. What do you think?

This is the reality, not only in South Philly, but in a country with a population full of startles, anxiety and despair.


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