May 06, 2024

The Mask We All Wear: Unveiling Mental Health This May

Posted by Health Hispanica
Man looking out window struggling with mental health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, an annual reminder to prioritize our mental well-being. But let's be honest — awareness alone isn’t enough to solve the mental health crisis. Thanks to stigma, the complexities of healthcare, and the high cost associated with treatment, the situation has escalated. For many, it feels much easier to put on a mask of being OK and power through life rather than getting real about the struggles beneath the surface.

This mask of perceived mental wellness comes in many forms: a bright smile concealing inner turmoil, jovial laughter brushing off constant anxiety, or a workaholic demeanor that diverts attention from deeper issues. We've all worn the mask at times, faking that everything is fine when, in fact, it is far from it.

Why Do We Hide Our Struggles?

Fear of judgment, cultural expectations, and pressure to appear strong dissuade many people from being honest about their mental health. Some worry they will be misunderstood or treated differently if they reveal their struggles. Fear of burdening others is a common reason to keep quiet — as if keeping quiet will protect loved ones from additional stress. There are those who prefer to keep personal issues private, especially if they’ve had negative experiences with being vulnerable in the past. And some individuals may be in denial, minimizing the severity of their mental health.

Cultural Challenges in Hispanic Mental Health

In the Hispanic-American community, several cultural barriers can prevent individuals from seeking help:

  • Privacy: Mental health is often seen as a private matter, best dealt with internally rather than discussed openly. 
  • Perceptions of Weakness: Traditionally, older generations have viewed mental health struggles as a sign of weakness or something that only affects people who are “crazy.” These stigmatizing beliefs may unintentionally trickle down to younger generations.
  • Machoism: For Latino men, societal expectations to remain strong and self-sufficient make it particularly difficult to show vulnerability or seek help.
  • Language Barriers: Those who are more comfortable speaking Spanish may struggle to find competent Spanish-speaking therapists, further complicating access to mental health services. 
  • Home Remedies and Spirituality: Hispanic families often seek natural remedies to treat ailments over conventional medical intervention, often turning to home remedies and prayer as initial responses to health issues, including mental health.

The Cost of Hiding Mental Health Issues

When we hide our mental health struggles, problems can worsen without us even noticing. This not only deprives us of the support and understanding from our loved ones but also perpetuates the myth that mental health issues are uncommon. In truth, these struggles are widespread. Anxiety, the most common mental illness in the U.S., affects nearly 1 in 5 adults. Major depression impacts 8.3% of adults. Though less prevalent, conditions like PTSD, bipolar disorder, and OCD still impact millions.

Children are not immune to these challenges either. About 11.5% of young people deal with severe major depression, and this number increases to 16.5% among those who are multi-racial. It's clear: mental health issues touch nearly every community and age group, making it critical that we stop hiding and start talking about these challenges.

How American Healthcare is Failing the Mental Health Crisis

Mental illness affects more than 50 million Americans, yet over half go untreated each year. The biggest barrier? Cost and inadequate insurance coverage. Many insurance plans fail to cover mental healthcare adequately. Furthermore, many top mental health professionals choose not to work with insurance companies due to low reimbursement rates and excessive red tape. This drives out-of-pocket costs sky-high —especially burdensome for the average person struggling to make ends meet in today’s economy. More than two in five Americans report they do not seek help for conditions like anxiety and depression simply because they cannot afford the care. 

How to Embrace Mental Health Awareness Month

This May, we challenge you to practice unmasking your mental health. We’re not merely suggesting you try meditation or yoga a few times this month and forget it all in June. Instead, we mean a daily effort to peel back the layers and get in touch with your authentic mental state, needs, and goals for well-being. Here is how you can start:

  • Notice your self-talk. Is it becoming negative or critical? 
  • Observe your sleep patterns, appetite changes, ability to focus, and interest in hobbies. 
  • Watch for excessive worry, anger, sadness, or emotional numbness. 

These can all signal slipping mental health. Once you’ve got a pulse on your mental state, get radically honest and share your unmasked self with others. It's hugely vulnerable, but that vulnerability is also what disarms the stigma and invites support. Your transparency gives others permission to unmask their struggles, too.

If possible, seek professional mental health support like therapy or counseling. These services provide dedicated time and guidance to process everything going on beneath the surface.

The second step is to keep an eye out for shifts in mood or behavior among friends, family, and coworkers. Check in with gentle curiosity, not scrutiny. Listen without judgment. Offer support and perspective. Sometimes, we need others to compassionately mirror back the reality we've been masking.

Supplements to Support Mental Health

Imagine trying to view the world through a pair of blurry glasses—this is what navigating daily life can feel like when struggling with mental health issues. Now, think of mental health supplements as a sort of prescription glasses. While they might not cure the underlying conditions, they can significantly clear the fog, making challenges more manageable and solutions more visible.

Supplements may not be a cure-all, but they can be a game-changer in taking the edge off and empowering you to tackle mental health proactively. They can support the body's chemical balance, enhance mood, improve sleep, and increase energy levels, all of which can make a substantial difference in how you feel and cope on a daily basis. And hopefully, you’ll start feeling some much-needed inner peace. Here are some of the top supplements to support stress, mental health, and the nervous system:

Depressil™ is a comprehensive blend of St. John’s wort extract, 5-HTP, selenium, vitamin D, and a mix of calming herbs that supports overall well-being. Depressil™ may promote an increase of happy chemicals in the brain to elevate mood and support stability. It also supports the nervous system for stress reduction and better sleep. 

Relax+™ contains a robust blend of B vitamins, inositol, and PABA, and a proprietary blend of herbs to promote relaxation and stress relief. Many users report feeling less anxiety and experiencing better sleep. Relax+™ offers a natural way to promote tension relief and elevate mood.

5-HTP+™ is an emotional support supplement that promotes a healthy outlook by supporting the nervous system. 5-HTP is a naturally occurring amino acid that converts into serotonin (a happy hormone), potentially promoting a positive mood and depression relief. This blend also includes B vitamins, magnesium, vervain herb, and ginkgo extract to help regulate stress hormones and promote relaxation.

L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that helps the body build proteins and produces enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters like dopamine and adrenaline. L-tyrosine is believed to promote healthy levels of dopamine and the relief of symptoms of depression while also supporting a healthy stress response and overall nervous system health.

Dormimax™ is a sleep support supplement with vitamins, minerals, and herbs to promote restorative sleep cycles. Although not directly a mental health supplement, Dormimax™ addresses the widespread issue of sleep disruption that tends to accompany anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. By facilitating better rest, Dormimax™ may support individuals in feeling better both physically and mentally, providing a stronger foundation for overall well-being.

This Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s commit to true awareness by daring to unmask—both for ourselves and everyone around us hiding behind perpetual "I'm OK" smiles. It's a daily practice of openness and vulnerability that can lighten our own burdens and lift the collective weight of our masked society. Together, we can transform this month into a starting point for ongoing dialogue and healing.

Your Hispanic American Health Store

Health Hispanica® is a Hispanic-American health store specializing in supplements from Hispanic-American-owned brands such as Natura-Genics® and Yerba Farma®. We strive to provide quality and innovative supplements at fair prices and educate our clients and community on healthy living.

The statements above have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Related Posts

Formula GB™ and Thermotherapy: Natural Relief for Gallbladder Pain
Formula GB™ and Thermotherapy: Natural Relief for Gallbladder Pain
Dealing with gallbladder pain can be more than just uncomfortable—it can disrupt your life. Fortunately, a natural so...
Read More
Vitamin K2: Understanding Its Complex Role
Vitamin K2: Understanding Its Complex Role
Move over, magnesium; look out, adaptogens; step aside, ashwagandha—Vitamin K is gearing up to be the next big thing ...
Read More

Leave a comment