May is Mental Health Awareness
You’re Not Alone!
May is Mental Health Awareness Month! During this month, organizations and individuals come together to talk openly about mental health, how it affects the community, and reduce stigma around the topic. We have invited our Teen Health Facilitators, Luis Longorio and Juan Mezquita, to team up with mental health training instructors Arely Zavala and Alexa Lopez and share important information about mental health this month.
Mental Health is just as important as physical health because it is an individual’s state of wellbeing surrounding their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. When someone is not mentally well, their physical health, relationships, everyday routines, and environments are negatively affected. It is important to take care of our mental health during all stages of our lives, especially during difficult times like living through a global pandemic.
The truth of the matter is that people suffer from mental health issues more often than we realize. According to the CDC, an estimated 50% of all Americans are diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime, with many of these issues arising during the teen years. Factors that can negatively affect someone’s mental health include stress, isolation, and relationship problems. There are also trauma, tragedies, financial struggles, and even the COVID19 pandemic that can take a significant toll on a person’s mental wellbeing.
A person’s experiences can influence their understanding of mental health. When these topics are taboo, it can be especially difficult to reach out and take the first step towards recovery. There could be misconceptions, stigma, embarrassment, or fear preventing them from accessing care or getting support from friends and family. An estimated 26 million people in the United States who have a mental health condition are going untreated.
However, our mental health should not be stigmatized, since we live with it every day and mental health conditions are very common. With the right help and support you can work to improve your mental wellbeing. When we foster openness and understanding, it is easier for an individual to seek help. There are different ways to start taking care of your mental health. You can talk to your healthcare provider or seek help from a mental health professional.
If you want to learn more about mental health issues you can take the free classes, Ending the Silence and Youth Mental Health First Aid, offered by Mariposa Community Health Center’s Community Health Services Department Platicamos Salud. Ending the Silence is a 1-hour presentation for both youth and adults that can help you start the conversation about mental health. This provides you with information on what you can do to help yourself and others who are experiencing a mental health condition. Youth Mental Health First Aid is a more in-depth class for adults that teaches them how to best support youth and connect them with help when needed. Both programs help you identify warning signs and give you ways to offer support to those who need it. For Ending the Silence contact Arely Zavala at firstname.lastname@example.org 520.375.6050 ext.1363. For Youth Mental Health First Aid contact Alexa Lopez at email@example.com 520.375.6050 ext. 1353. We can’t become a mental health professional overnight, but we can learn how to be a bridge to help for the people we care about.
Another way you can maintain your mental wellbeing at home is practicing positive coping skills. Coping skills are positive habits that help you release stress and deal with your emotions in a healthy way. There’s no one-size-fits all method to cope, but here are some examples:
· Practice art
· Listening to music
· Breathing or mindfulness exercises
· Practicing self-care
· Talking to your friends and family
You can try these examples out and see what works best for you! The most important thing is taking that initial step to improve your mental health and have that conversation with your loved ones to reduce the stigma. You can reach out to Mariposa Community Health Center at (520) 281-1550 to see what resources are available to you.
Nation Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1.800.273.8255
Confidential 24/7 Local Crisis Line: 1.866.495.6735
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Sexual Assault Awareness Month calls attention to the fact that sexual violence is widespread and impacts every person in the community. One of the biggest barriers to preventing sexual violence is understanding sexual violence. Often, victims of sexual violence are left feeling isolated and ashamed without the support they need to begin to heal. Understanding the facts and dispelling the myths about sexual violence is crucial to holding offenders accountable and ensuring that victims are treated with respect and receive the support they need.
There are several myths related to sexual violence such as that sexual assault is provoked by the victim’s actions, behaviors, or by the way they dress. When in fact sexual assault is NEVER the victim’s fault. Sexual assault is a violent attack on an individual, not a spontaneous crime of sexual passion. For a victim, it is a humiliating and degrading act. No one “asks for” or deserves this type of attack.
Another myth is that sexual assaults only occur in dark alleys and isolated areas. In fact, a sexual assault can happen anywhere and at any time. The majority of assaults occur in places ordinarily thought to be safe, such as homes, cars and offices.
Many people believe that Sexual assault results from an uncontrollable impulsive sexual urge. This is not true, in fact sexual assault is motivated by hostility, power and control. Sexual assaults are not motivated by sexual desire. Humans are capable of controlling how they choose to act on or express sexual urges.
Many people also believe that people who commit sexual assaults are obviously creepy, abnormal perverts, or people who could be easily identified and avoided. This is also, not true, in fact sexual offenders are “ordinary” and “normal” individuals who come from all educational, occupational, racial, and cultural backgrounds. You cannot pick a sex offender out of a crowd. This myth demonstrates our cultural tendency to blame victims – it is not the case that victims are assaulted because they failed to spot an obvious perpetrator.
It is also common to believe that men cannot be victims of sexual violence. In fact, men can be and are victims of sexual violence. Approximately 1 in 6 men will be victims of sexual violence at some point in their lifetime. Being a victim of sexual violence does not make a man less “manly” and does not have implications for his sexual orientation. Some people also believe that women cannot be sex offenders. The fact is an overwhelming majority of sex offenders are male, but it is possible for women to be perpetrators of rape and sexual violence, even against men.
It is important to promote awareness in our community about Sexual Assault, and how this is a real issue. We know young people experience heightened rates of sexual violence, and youth ages 12-17 are 2.5 times as likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault. Rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment harm our community and statistics show 1-5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, we also know that people in the LGTBQ+ community experience sexual assault at a rate that is comparable or higher than the sexual assault rate for heterosexual individuals. Let’s join communities across the country in taking action to prevent sexual violence in Santa Cruz County.
Mariposa Community Health Center offers advocacy, support, education, and resources for individuals in domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, and stalking situations. Services are free of cost, available throughout Santa Cruz County, and you do not have to be a patient of Mariposa Community Health Center to receive assistance. Together, we can raise the community awareness about Sexual Assault, not just in April, but each day of the year is an opportunity to create a change and impact someone’s life. Feel free to contact Community Health Services (Platicamos Salud) for more information at (520) 375-6050.
Nogales “Little” Mercado Celebrates National Nutrition Month
The Nogales “Little” Mercado is a collaboration of community partners connecting local food producers with Nogales shoppers. We are celebrating National Nutrition Month by improving the health and well-being of the Nogales community, economy, and environment. We are following CDC guidelines to serve you safely during COVID-19, including requiring masks to be worn properly at all times and enforcing social distancing.
Our main goal is to provide a downtown location for residents to purchase locally-grown, healthy foods as well as create a socially- vibrant, healthy environment where all can learn, share and enjoy the community. National Nutrition Month reminds us to celebrate our culture and health through food. By increasing access to local produce in Downtown Nogales, the Nogales “Little” Mercado is helping to bring healthy choices to your table. We are here to share recipes and meal ideas, so you can feel confident trying something new, or preparing your favorite vegetable in a new and healthy way.
Our volunteer-led community garden provides fresh lettuce, cooking greens like bok choy and chard, sweet carrots, and more! Thanks to our longtime volunteer, Juanita Gonzales, we have lovingly-grown, delicious vegetables and fruit all year-round.
We accept SNAP/EBT
We strive to make our product affordable for families on a budget. When customers use their SNAP/EBT Card at our farmer's market, every dollar they spend is matched with an extra dollar to spend on more Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables, with no daily limit. Known as Double Up Food Bucks, this federally- funded effort doubles the value of your SNAP benefits at participating farmers markets.
More ways to eat local
The Nogales "Little" Mercado Farmer's Market is part of the Cosechando Bienestar (Harvesting Wellbeing) initiative. Our mission is to renew food traditions in Nogales so that locally-grown food is enjoyed by all for better health. We have partnered with Nogales Community Development, SEEDS Youth Group, and the Iskashitaa Refugee Network in Tucson to grow and glean more food locally and get it to residents who need it most.
Donate your extra fruit!
Cosechando Bienestar participants identify fruit trees and other food resources in public and private properties. We work with owners to harvest excess fruit that is otherwise going to waste. We redistribute the fruit through the Nogales "Little" Mercado Farmer's Market’s cooperative table, La Mesa Cooperativa. Anyone with extra produce from their backyard can donate or resell with us and keep local food out of the landfill.
Grow your own!
Cosechando Bienestar also aims to be a resource for both new and experienced backyard gardeners. From chiltepins to tomatoes, cilantro, and zucchini, our climate is excellent for growing your own nutritious food. Kids love to get their hands dirty, and are more likely to eat veggies they’ve helped grow. Watch our social media for upcoming virtual gardening workshop information.
Follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NogalesMercado, check out our website and sign up for our weekly e newsletter at www.nogalesmercado.com, call Erika M. Burgos 520.375.6050 x1302 or Santos Yescas 520.397.9219, or email firstname.lastname@example.org