Mental Health in a Latino Household
November 13, 2018
Living in a Latino household, we are taught many things, such as learning how to flip a tortilla without getting your hands burnt or how to properly sweep and mop the floors. However, we are never taught how to properly express our feelings.
When you are met with troubles of your own, your parents just retell their “When I was younger” story for the millionth time. The issue is that most of these stories are just an attempt to make yourself feel more guilty for having these feelings rather than helping you through the situation. I’m sure most children of immigrant parents understand that it was difficult when they were younger but how does this help with how their child is currently feeling?
Depression and anxiety are the most common types of mental illnesses students struggle with. What most foreign parents don’t understand is that they are real. A child doesn’t feel this way just because they want to. Believe me, if we had a choice, we would constantly be happy and stress-free. Rather than actually seeing a therapist, children are met with “It’s because you’re constantly on that phone,” or “Get up and do something. I’m tired of seeing you like that.”
Due to this, children aren’t able to confide in their parents, creating a gap between them. Obviously, this isn’t healthy, worsening their state of mind.
I think parents, especially Latino parents, should stop dismissing these issues and handle it more seriously by seeking out help. There is nothing wrong or weak about looking for a therapist that can help save your child’s life in the future. Mental illness isn’t something you can wipe off with Vicks VapoRub, sorry parents, it doesn’t work for everything. There’s no rush to jump straight into a therapy session; rather than flooding us with guilt or more stress, a simple “Hey, is everything alright, mija/o?” is the perfect first step.