Latino USA

Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Deena and Jay: Living with Depression

Ever since she was a young girl, Deena realized that something wasn’t right – that she never felt happy or comfortable in her own skin. She suffered from depression. But in the South Texas, Mexican-American family she grew up with, there was a stigma around mental illness that prevented her and her family from seeking treatment.

In college, Deena met Jay. They got married, had kids. After each birth, Deena suffered really bad post-partum depression. After she miscarried her third child, things fell apart. Deena’s depression was getting worse. On top of it, her marriage to Jay began to unravel. She decided to try getting on medication.

The doctor prescribed her Lamitrogine (also known as Lamictal), an epilepsy drug with a secondary use of treating manic-depressives. A week later, she developed flu-like symptoms, then irritation in her eyes and throat. She didn’t realize it at first, but these symptoms were the beginnings of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a life-threatening condition that often happens as the result of an immune reaction to medication.

With Stevens-Johnson, cell death causes the outer layer of the skin to separate from the body and die, including the the epidermis inside your body and internal organs. Deena has to be airlifted to a military hospital, where doctors saved her life by oxygenating her blood outside of her body for almost a month while she was in a medical coma.

Deena survived. But with various medical complications ranging from damaged eyes to a scarred throat, life is full of new challenges that impact her mental health. While she was under, her husband Jay had to make the decision to put her on the machines that saved her life. Deena says that sometimes she wished he had let her die.

Now they have to figure out how to pick up the pieces of their life and marriage, and raise their kids. Nothing about it is easy.

 

You crazy? Latinos and Mental Health

Growing up can be an emotional rollercoaster. Where do Latino youth caught up between culture and universal challenges to emotional well-being go for support? We hear from three young Latinos and how they cope with anxiety, depression, peer pressure and relationships. We also speak to Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, a professor and founding director of the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities.

Image courtesy of Nicole Plata.
Andrew Stelzer, Pauline Bartolone, and Jon Kalish contributed to this report.


Click here to download this week’s show.

View our panel featuring these guests and more resources.

sergioDr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola is a Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine, the Founding Director of the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities (CRHD), the Director of the Community Engagement Program of the UC Davis Clinical Translational Science Center (CTSC), and Co-Director of the National Institute of Aging (NIA) funded Latino Aging Research and Resource Center (LARRC).

claudiaClaudia Mendez is a 22 years old student at San Francisco State University. She was born and raised in the Mission District of San Francisco, CA, and was placed in foster care at the age of 16 because of family abuse. After realizing that there were many gaps in the foster care system, Claudia decided that she wanted to be an advocate for her community and help change different systems to better the lives of other young people. She is proudly a San Francisco State University Guardian Scholar pursuing a Bachelors degree in Comparative World Literature and plans to attend law school to become a dependency lawyer. She is also a member of Honoring Emancipated Youth and trainer at Transitional Youth Initiative. Besides school, some of Claudia’s hobbies are photography, soccer with friends and family, and scrapbooking.

nikkoNikko Reynoso is a Chicano trans* activist committed to social justice, gender equity, and anti-racist advocacy. From East Side San Jose, he speaks on issues relating to the intersections of identity, including sexuality, race, gender, and class. He is also a 3rd year UC Davis student studying Women and Gender studies, Chicana/o studies and Sociology.

nicoleNicole Plata is the Youth Initiatives Coordinator for the Mental Health Association of San Francisco. She is a passionate and uncompromising advocate for Transitional Aged Youth (TAY) in the mental health system. Her passion is rooted in her own experience with trauma and is inspired by the investment of her mentors and her faith in God.
She is a native of East Side San Jose, and identifies as a Mixed-Race Latina of Panamanian and Puerto Rican descent. Having overcome a variety of challenges in her youth, from abuse and community violence to involvement in the criminal justice system and a traumatic brain surgery, Nicole offers a well-informed perspective to those she works with. She seeks to use her perspective and experience to advocate and inform services for the diverse youth of California. She does this through her work for the Mental Health Association of San Francisco and her involvement on various Transition Age Youth advocacy groups within San Francisco County and statewide. In her free time, Nicole is an artist and muralist who loves to awaken her roots through salsa dancing.

The Psychology of Breast Cancer

Half of Latina breast cancer survivors suffer from depression. These rates are much higher than the average among other survivors. Dr. Kimlin Tam Ashing-Giwa at City of Hope in Los Angeles shares her research on the psychological aspects of recovery for women of color with our host Maria Hinojosa. She discusses the role of spirituality, family and beliefs about women’s responsibilities in helping or hindering detection, treatment and recovery.


Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of World News, Inc. (Flickr/Creative Commons).

 

Dr. Kimlin Tam Ashing-Giwa is professor and director of the Center of Community Alliance for Research and Education at City of Hope.  She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Colorado-Boulder.  She serves on the Executive council of Los Angeles American Cancer Society (ACS) and The Intercultural Council on Cancer (ICC).

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