Suffering in silence, the stigma behind “machismo”
As the son of Salvadorean immigrants, I’m familiar with the latinx cultural stigma towards mental illness. Especially when it comes to men and the concept of “machismo”. The idea of “machismo” is a sense of masculine pride that views counseling is for the “locos”(crazy). It often times is a barrier that keeps people from recognizing that its ok to seek help. Specifically when it comes to talking about depression and suicide.
The reality is that males are a high risk demographic when it comes to suicide. According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), 78% of people who die by suicide are male. The reality is that depression affects everyone regardless of socio-economic status, sexual orientation, political ideology, etc. It doesn’t matter if you’re a psychotherapist like me or in a whole different field. Sometimes life hits us where it hurts the most in the moments we least expect it.
If your reading this, I want you to know that you aren’t alone. Talking about how you feel isn’t a sign of weakness. Neither is “machismo” evidence of mental strength. Prominent Social Work researcher Brene Brown states it best, “Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage”. Please know its ok to seek professional help, you’re not alone, and you don’t have to suffer in silence.