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BB's brought you the story of advocacy, the story of global responsibility, and now it's Babushka's story that you will read. Queeee??? JU SO FONII!!! Of course I wrote the other stories and shared them through my eyes, but this one My Beautifuls is a very real and personal tale that affected BB and her family directly, and unfortunately it's not so fonii.  On the final day of the Further with Ford Conference I needed to change my arrival flight from Tallahassee to South Florida; my daughter was in the hospital, and I needed to sign the admittance papers. On June 28 my daughter was admitted into a hospital, catatonic and psychotic; she was put into a public psych ward two days later.  The official diagnosis- Stress related severe depression.

No words can describe the terror of looking into your child's eyes and seeing nothing there.  No way to contact and penetrate that being who was a part of you before birth, loved sight unseen, who now saw nothing. Nothing but a world she mumbled about in bursts of fear, shivering and then shutting down.  The helplessness was almost BB's breaking point but I knew I had to find help, first for my loved one, then for the rest of us following her. I needed instruction on what to expect, what I could do to help her- now in the hospital and then once she left.  Unfortunately no one wanted to share any information.  It was at this low that I found an ever lower truth- the taboo of mental illness.  No one came forth to help, no suggestions, no recommendations, nada.  In a culture that's all about family, solidarity, opinions and being vocal, the silence was permanent in the latino corner.  Through a friend in Crawfordville I was able to contact that local NAMI (National Alliance Mental Illness) chapter, who then helped me find help in Miami.

BB's forever grateful for the Crawfordville NAMI group and forever changed by the incident.  Gracias a Dios my child was released after three weeks in the ward, but obviously nothing will ever be the same.  Babushka will never forget the frustration felt and never wants another mother to go through the same nightmare.  I have started a campaign because it's time to end the taboo, time to #StopTheStigma.  Mental Illness is just that, an illness.  Like the diseases of cancer and diabetes, awareness and education on mental illness are vital.

A video by the National Hispanic Medical AssociationAmerican Psychiatric Association, League of Latin American Citizens, with a very special speaker, Dr. Antonia Novello- the first woman and the first Hispanic to become Surgeon General of the United States.

Mental Health: A Guide for Latinos and their Families (English) from American Psychiatric Association on Vimeo.

Awareness and education, but above all, letting them know they are loved.
Let's share our stories, erase the shame, and #StopTheStigma.

Babushka Besos a todos. Cuidensen.

P.S. If you’d like to help the #StopTheStigma campaign directly,  I have signed up for the Broward County NAMI walkathon and am trying to put a team together to raise funds and awareness. Any donations, be it monetary, sponsorships, or walking with my team Nunca Alone, is very,very appreciated.
Link & Facebook pages for #StopTheStigma
Facebook page of Nunca Alone:


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