Pushing to break the stigma around men’s mental health
LAREDO, TX. (KGNS) – Just last month, the nation observed Men’s Health Awareness Month, a time to shed light on all aspects of a man’s healthy start and with greater emphasis Recently put on mental health, experts open up about some of the challenges some face in our community as it relates to their mental health.
According to a checkupMore than 42 million Americans suffer from a mental illness each year, but when it comes to men, only one in ten is likely to seek treatment.
John Pomar, a Laredoan alum, believes there is a mental health problem in the world as mental health is still a taboo subject for many people.
According American Health Ranking in 2020, 17.7% of adults in Texas have been told by a medical professional that they have a depressive disorder, one of these individuals is John Pomar.
When John was in his late teens and early twenties, he had a lot of depressive thoughts and even contemplated suicide at some point in his life.
After going through a lot of mental trauma, John decided to contact the Border Region Behavioral Center and was diagnosed with Bipolarity (BPD).
John is a former Laredoan who now spends his days playing music in Austin, but before stepping into the spotlight he had a series of dark days.
John says: ‘I didn’t even have the energy to get out of bed on some days it was hard to honestly keep going and trying to push those positive thoughts through my mind it all seemed like a waste of time time.
While John is one person who has been able to learn to channel his condition in a positive way, health experts say there are a large number of people, especially men, who do not seek treatment.
Jacqueline Lopez is the director of the children’s unit at Border Region Behavioral Health Center; it is one of four local centers that provide counseling and therapy for people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or any other mental health condition that requires treatment.
Lopez also believes that stigma is always linked to mental health, especially when it comes to men, because it shows a sign of vulnerability or weakness.
While the border region averages about 4,500 people a year, Lopez believes the need for assistance continues to grow in our community and people should seek help before it escalates into a crisis.
Lopez says: “It’s very important to come forward, the only thing that happens is things get held inside and they escalate, and they escalate to the point where the person could possibly explode, c That’s when tragedies could happen.”
Lopez and John believe that when it comes to mental health, more people need to seek help instead of suffering in silence.
Lopez encourages men, women and children if they think they may be suffering from depression or anxiety to contact the border region or a local doctor.
John says: “People need to talk, I know it scares me to try to come out and say hey I have these issues, it’s hard to talk about it, that was for me personally, but if you can talk about it, I think we need to talk about it more.”
Now border region is just one of four local health centers that provide mental health services, they also serve four counties in our area.
For more information on the services they provide, you can call (956) 794-3000they also have a crisis line at 1-800-643-1102.
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