Mental Health Awareness in Corpus Christi

NAMI Greater Corpus Christi brought together a panel of diverse community members to discuss ways that everyone, from all different backgrounds, can access help.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – July is Bebe Moore Campbell Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and, in recognition, a group of community members have come together to discuss ways for everyone to have access to mental health support.

“I am the United States of America, Ms. Texas 2023,” Corpus Christi native Marissa Ortiz said.

Ortiz has dedicated the past five years to volunteering in the mental health community through organizations such as the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

She said you might see her crown and sash and not realize she is also someone who suffers from anxiety and depression.

“You have your heart racing, you’re sweating and I didn’t really realize what was going on. It didn’t go away. I just learned to handle it better and deal with it better through the pageantry,” Ortiz said.

Heather Loeb said it was important to discuss mental health, but also to make sure people know there are resources available to help them.

“In many cultures there is a stigma attached to seeking mental health help and we want to break that barrier as well,” Loeb said.

That’s why the organization hosted a panel of community members, all from different backgrounds, who came together to share their personal mental journeys.

“There are a lot of barriers like people who don’t look like me, language barriers, religion, cultural barriers,” Loeb said.

214 District Court Judge Inna Klein was on the panel. Klein oversees the county’s domestic violence probation cases.

“When I work with people who have pretty serious mental health issues, they’ll tell you you’re normal, you won’t understand. However, I haven’t met a normal person yet,” Klein said.

Bringing up the subject of mental health is not the same for everyone. Statistics show that only 35% of Hispanic and Latino adults seek help for a mental health issue.

“In Hispanic culture, you never want to be the crazy tia,” Ortiz said. “We are a very judgmental culture, Hispanic heritage, you don’t want to open up to your family. It’s unfortunate to pay someone to keep your secret, it was my secret from my beating heart, anxiety or complete sadness or feeling nothing at all Going to a Hispanic therapist, she understood.

The panel said it’s important for residents to find resources that may work for them and to do research, so they can know where to go for help.

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