Social support systems are a big part of our lives, and as you probably know, they’re important to our emotional health. Our emotional health affects how we feel, think, and deal with challenges and problems. Some people have trustworthy and broad social support networks that include:
- extended family
- community members
- community organizations
- local churches
Others are more isolated.
Sometimes even the best support system is not enough to keep us on the positive and we feel sad, hopeless, unimportant, and unable to cope with daily activities and stresses. This may be depression. Depression and anxiety can affect everything in your life, making it hard to:
- make decisions
- relate to other people
- keep up with your job and family
- handle stress
Depression is a big health risk among Latinos:
- Overall, the Latino community does not talk about mental illness.
- Some Latinos do not seek treatment because they don't know the signs and symptoms of mental illness or know where to find help. And, there is little information about this topic.
- Some Latinos do not seek treatment for fear of being labeled as “locos” (crazy) or as having a mental illness because this may cause shame. (Citation)
And, did you know that smokers are more likely to have depression than non-smokers? Nobody knows exactly why‚ but one idea is that people who have depression might smoke to feel better. But smoking is only a temporary solution for handling stress, tension, or depression. While nicotine causes the release of dopamine (a brain chemical that gives positive feelings), over time, smoking tells the brain to switch off its own mechanism for making dopamine—making people want to smoke more. And e-cigarettes aren’t any better. Vaping may be a gateway to cigarette smoking. And, vaping has not been proven to help people quit smoking. You can find many free quit smoking resources on the web.
Screening yourself to see if you’re at risk for depression and anxiety is the first step to getting help and feeling better. It’s quick and easy—and will let you know if you need to do more to take care of your emotional health and well-being.
Decide to take care of your emotional health. Your emotional health affects your life and those you love so dearly. You’re worth it. Now, you’re ready to ACT.
ACT NOW →
- Office of Minority Health. (n.d.). Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov
- Latinx/Hispanic. (n.d.). Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.nami.org/Support-Education/Diverse-Communities/Latino-Mental-Health