Queens urged to drop stigma and take advantage of free mental health support programs

Queens urged to drop stigma and take advantage of free mental health support programs

The president of that county announced the investment of $2 million to increase support services, through 10 community organizations, which are ready to reach out

Talking about mental health and acknowledging that you have a condition, such as anxiety, depression, bipolarity, or suicidal ideas, has been a taboo within the Latino community, and at the same time one of the great obstacles that prevents those who need help from being able to deal better with their lives, look for it. And in the county of Queens, where almost 2.5 million people live, 28% of them Hispanic, that feeling is palpable.

This is how Marcela Martínez, 37, confesses it, who admits having spent many years immersed in a deep depression that ended her family and almost ended it, until she finally decided to cry out for “help” and put aside the stigma that asking for help was admitting that “I was crazy”. The Colombian woman says that she tried to take her own life three times, but after her last failed act, she sought psychological and psychiatric support, and with support groups, she learned to manage her mental condition. Today she declares herself a “born again” woman.

“We Latinos have the wrong idea of ​​sometimes believing that we are supermen, that we cannot allow ourselves to be vulnerable and recognize that things affect us and that it is okay to be wrong and it is okay to ask for help when we cannot handle certain things on our own,” says the immigrant. , a resident of Corona, who separated from her husband four years ago.

“One has in his head the idea that if he admits a mental illness, he is crazy, or believes that people will think he is dangerously insane. And it turns out it’s the opposite. If you don’t ask for help when you’re wrong, you become a danger to yourself and affect all relationships with others,” added the cleaning worker. “That’s why I learned that you have to ask for help, you have to leave behind the stigma and that way you can resume your life with more clarity and peace of mind. In addition, in this city there are many free support programs”.

According to the 2021 New York City Community Health Survey, provided by the NYC Department of Health, 11.9% of adults in Queens reported having symptoms of depression, an adjusted level similar to that of other counties such as Staten Island, which has 12.8%, the Bronx: 14.7% and Brooklyn 14.2%. Likewise, several of the 541 suicides reported in the Big Apple in 2019 occurred in Queens.

And recognizing that mental health is a major concern in New York, where the most recent figures from the City Health Department show that every 16 hours a person takes their own life in the Big Apple, the borough of Queens, which has neighborhoods with a large Hispanic presence such as Corona, Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, Woodside, Astoria and Long Island City, among others, are fighting for more people to receive help.

This was stated by the president of that county, Donovan Richards, who announced that through 10 community organizations, and an investment of $2 million dollars with the BetterHelp therapy platform, free mental health support services will be increased for those who They live in that part of New York.

Each organization, including Elmcor Youth & Adult Activities in Corona, Glow Community Center in Flushing, Jackson Heights Bangladeshi Business Association in Jackson Heights, LIFE Camp in Jamaica and Sunnyside Community Services in Sunnyside, will receive $175,000 in relief services mental.

“The past few years have been extremely difficult for all of us in Queens, and as we work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and crises related to housing, the economic downturn, food insecurity, racial injustice and more, I say that they don’t have to fight alone,” the Queens president said in making the announcement. “Now more than ever, we need to support each other. I couldn’t be more proud to partner with BetterHelp to bring their much-needed therapy expertise and services to Queens and the organizations that help so many families every day.”

Alon Matas, president and founder of BetterHelp, highlighted the importance of more people in the county being able to access support services in the fight against conditions that affect mental health.

“Our mission is to make therapy accessible to all, and this partnership is a huge step in that direction for the Queens community,” said the executive.

Judy Zangwill, executive director of the organization Sunnyside Community Services, which will receive part of the funds invested, and which works in a neighborhood with a large Latino and immigrant influx, said they are ready to work with the community on this challenge.

“COVID-19 has profoundly affected the mental health well-being of people in our communities and this is an important step in addressing the problem,” said the community leader.

Kevin Alexander, president of the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation, noted that the lack of income in the most vulnerable communities in Queens makes it more difficult to access mental support services and fight against taboo.

“When we think about our communities, particularly low-to-moderate income communities that have traditionally shied away from health and wellness needs due to the misperception that you are weak, when in reality you are strong because the first step is often the harder step when acknowledging that you need help,” Alexander said. “Time and time again we have seen that when there is a crisis, we collectively downplay the need for mental health and wellness services.”

And when talking about mental health problems, the New York City Health Department assured that it continues to be a serious problem in the Big Apple, and although it revealed not having recent specific data on the county of Queens, but general figures of the entire city, recalled that aid is available.

A recent survey by the Department of Health found that 25% of adult New Yorkers surveyed reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety, as did 18% reporting symptoms of depression, data that rose by more than 100% compared to 2015. , 28% of adults with children in their household reported that the emotional or behavioral health of at least one child had been negatively affected by the pandemic.

“We recommend calling, texting, or chatting with NYC Well. Trained counselors will listen to you, provide support in the moment and connect you with ongoing mental health services that meet your unique needs,” said Pedro Frisneda, spokesperson for the New York City Department of Health, stressing the importance of seeking support. . “If a person in crisis needs a medical or psychiatric evaluation, our Mobile Crisis Team can arrange for that person to be transported to a hospital psychiatric emergency room.”

In addition, Frisneda mentioned that accessing mental health support, such as those to be promoted by the 10 Queens organizations, can reduce the risk of suicide and the adverse impacts of mental stress and trauma through supportive and trusting relationships, as well as professional mental health treatment.

Facts of the new mental health aids in Queens

  • Almost 2 and a half million people live in Queens
  • 28% of Queens residents are Hispanic
  • $2 million will be invested to increase support services
  • 10 community organizations will receive the resources
  • $175,000 each organization will receive
  • BetterHelp is the network that will help in the program

These are the 10 organizations in Queens you can go to for support

  • Elmcor Youth & Adult Activities, in Corona: 33-16 108th St, Queens, NY 11368, Phone: (718) 651-0096
  • Forest Hills Jewish Center, at Forest Hills: 106-06 Queens Blvd, Forest Hills, NY 11375. Phone (718) 263-7000
  • Glow Community Center, in Flushing: 133-29 41st Ave. Floor 1, Flushing, NY 11355. Phone: (718) 359-1888
  • Jackson Heights Bangladeshi Business Association, in Jackson Heights: 37-18, 73 Street, Jackson Heights, NY 11372. Phone: 718-533-6581
  • LIFE Camp, in Jamaica: 111-12 Sutphin Blvd, Jamaica, NY 11435. Phone: (646) 258-0936
  • Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation, in Far Rockaway: 1920 Mott Ave #2, Queens, NY 11691. Phone: (718) 327-5300
  • Sunnyside Community Services, in Sunnyside: 43-31 39th St, Queens, NY 11104. Phone: (718) 784-6173
  • United Federation of Teachers. You can obtain information at this link: https://www.uft.org/
  • Urban Resource Institute: You can obtain information at this link: https://urinyc.org/
  • Urban Upbound, in Long Island City: 38-81 13th St, Queens, NY 11101. Phone: (718) 784-0877

Mental Health and Suicide Data in NYC

  • 542 suicides were recorded in the Big Apple in 2020
  • 121 suicides occurred among Latinos
  • 225 between whites
  • 91 among blacks.
  • 541 suicides occurred in 2019.
  • Every 16 hours someone takes their own life in New York.
  • 2.4% of adults age 18 and older seriously thought about suicide
  • 14.1% attempted suicide in the last
  • 25% of New York adults reported symptoms of anxiety according to 2021 survey.
  • 18% reported symptoms of depression.
  • 11.9% of Queens adults show signs of depression
  • 100% increased depression compared to 2015.
  • 28% of adults with children in their homes reported emotional or behavioral health problems of at least one child after the pandemic.
  • 46% of Latino New Yorkers reported the death of someone close to them
  • 35% of Hispanics reported financial stress.
  • 64% of Latinos reported feeling a lack of emotional support.

Where to look for help not only if you live in Queens but throughout the city?

  • New Yorkers seeking support with their mental health can connect with trained counselors, free of charge and in more than 200 languages, through NYC Well
  • For assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, call (888) 692-9355
  • You can also text “WELL” to 65173 or talk online at nyc.gov/nycwell
  • If you or someone you know is at immediate risk of injury or immediate danger, call 911 and ask for help.
  • You can also text the word GOT5 to 741741
  • You can ask for help in the midst of a crisis or at any time by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
  • You can call the NY Project Hope line at (844) 863-9314, 7 days a week between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. for direct support and crisis counseling.
Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.