Forum aims to raise mental health awarness - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Forum aims to raise mental health awarness

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Posted: Monday, April 15, 2013 10:33 pm

The Student Health Services-Campus Suicide Prevention Program at the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College aims to bring awareness to mental health illnesses through a forum today on de-stigmatizing mental health.

Maria Alejandra Mazariegos, a counseling intern at the UTB Student Health Services, said officials hope the discussion will help people realize that suffering from depression and anxiety is common and that it is OK to seek help.

“The reason we are doing it is because there’s so much stigma surrounding mental health,” Mazariegos said. “A lot of people experience depression and anxiety, but a lot of people don’t talk about it because they feel if they go and get help they’ll seem sick and crazy.”

Mazariegos said all forms of mental health can affect someone’s life, and seeking help is the first step to improving their lives.

“These are normal emotions that all of us as human beings will experience at one time or another,” she said.

The forum will include discussion on depression, anxiety, suicide and suicide prevention, Mazariegos said.

“It’s more of a question and answer type of format,” she said. “Whoever goes (should) feel free to ask us anything about mental health.”

The discussion is open to everyone, she said. There’s also a community clinic that gives people in the community sessions for free, she said.

“I’m hoping people will leave knowing it’s OK to reach out for help,” Mazariegos said. “Just because you reach out for help, it doesn’t make you a weak person. It’s OK to say, ‘I’m struggling with this.’ People shouldn’t have to be living with that burden. People should strive to live their happiest lives possible.”

If you go

  • What: De-stigmatizing Mental Health Illness
  • Where: UTB SETB 3rd Floor Conference Room
  • When: Today
  • Time: 12 noon

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