Joseph González, a senior at Jefferson High School, dealt with mental health issues and suicidal thoughts in silence until he realized he didn´t have to carry the weight alone.
Last year he organized a mental health walk as a school project called “SAISD into the light.”. To his surprise, 90 people showed up at the rally. Students and members of the community recognized the importance of mental health issues by walking along with him.
“I want to have this walk so that I can stop the stigma and start a conversation. Let the students know, let the youth know, that it’s okay not to be okay,” said Joseph González in an interview with KSAT.
Joseph said that mental health problems in the youth are often addressed by minimizing them or defining them as part of “an emotional generation”. This past Saturday, just a few days after the Uvalde Shooting, he called out the students and community of San Antonio to join him in a Mental Health walk.
The walk was at Alamo Stadium and 100 people showed up. González said that he was happy with the result and although he will be moving next year to attend Trinity College, he hopes that someone younger will continue this project.
He added that talking about his mental health helped him to see the light outside the tunnel, and hopes that removing the stigma about this shared experience will help others to express themselves.
The mental health stigma in the state of Texas prevents people from getting help.
According to the organization rtor, only 38% of adults with mental health problems receive treatment, and 60% are left to deal with the consequences alone.
Jaime Vázquez, a student that participated in the walk said to KSAT “It is very important to keep talking about mental health without talking about this we’ll lose more and more people.”