Why Selena Gomez Announcing Treatment For Depression & Anxiety Is Important

Source: WikiCommons, Lunchbox LP Flickr stream

Source: WikiCommons, Lunchbox LP Flickr stream

She has over 101 million Instagram followers, is an accomplished singer and actress and is one of the most popular celebs in pop-culture. But at the end of the day, Selena Gomez is just a regular person dealing with something that many Latinas don’t have the courage to open up about.When Selena Gomez went into rehab this past August for depression, panic attacks and anxiety (side effects from a Lupus diagnosis), it was an important spotlight for the stigmatized illness and eye-opener for those who suffer.

Why?

Because the number of Latinas who are suffering from depression is appallingly high. Furthermore, the suicide rates among college-age Latinas are just as bad.

Source: WikiCommons

Source: WikiCommons

Depression is a hard thing to truly understand. Many brush it off as periods of sadness, and well, everyone gets sad so what’s the big deal? It is also brushed off as something that one can overcome by ‘just thinking positively’. It can be difficult for someone who suffers to admit their problems or even seek help for fear that it is seen as selfish. I mean, come on, there are real problems in the world. What are you so sad about?

In some cultures, depression can be romanticized. For example, the long suffering artist who creates works of genius when under bouts of depression. This is extremely harmful, as it promotes not seeking treatment, for risk of losing creativity. In the Latino community, depression is often seen as weak or 'not a real thing'.  It's not talked about. We don't go to therapy. That's what 'rich, white people do.' Needless to say, this is extremely harmful as well. 

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Depression doesn’t care if you’re a world famous celebrity who has the world by the hands or a stay-at-home mom who spends her day changing diapers. When you are overcome with depression, there is an insurmountable heaviness that takes over your body, mind and spirit. It tricks you into thinking that your current outlook is reality and there is no other alternative. It can be hard to get out of bed, it can be hard to love yourself and those closest to you. Small problems seem feel like life-threatening obstacles and, conversely, it can be difficult to find joy in life’s happy moments. It can be hard to focus on anything, let along seeking help from a professional.

Whether an illness affects your heart, your leg or brain, it’s still an illness and there should be no distinction.
— Michelle Obama

Only one in eleven Latinos with a mental health disorder will contact a mental health provider for treatment and care. As a community, we need to band together to help. If you or someone you know suffers from depression, anxiety or panic attacks, please know that getting help is such an important first step. From there, life does get better. The sun will shine again. Your current situation is just a bookmark, not a place of permanence. 

For help, talk to your doctor, talk to your best friend, talk to your mom or dad, just talk. Also check out these other helpful resources.  

copy by: gabriela garcia

images courtesy of: wikicommons Lunchbox LP Flickr stream & Berkantcaliskan