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Speaking Up for Mexican-American Mental Health Awareness

Updated: Dec 28, 2021

When Stephanie Davis, a Mexican-American, learned the Still I Run (SIR) Community asked BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) members to share their stories to end the stigma of mental illness, she felt compelled to write something. By sharing her thoughts, she hopes to raise Mexican-American Mental Health awareness.

“I’m so glad SIR is raising awareness about this topic.”

“I have been thinking about it a lot because I come from a culture that generally does not talk about mental illness. I’m positive my father had depression because I do, and I recognize those behaviors in myself.”

For example, Davis said, “When I want to withhold affection from my son because he’d rather have Daddy, again, when I am depressed.”

Speaking out for Mexican-American mental health awareness

“I don’t want my family to feel the same confusion and fear I did as a kid, so I work really hard to push back against those impulses,” she wrote.

“My son is almost four years old. My husband and I have been open with him about my illness his entire life, at an age-appropriate level. I feel like I owe it to him to be frank about something that will always be part of my life, and that is simply a fact of life.

In the cover photo for this story, Stephanie is beaming after running the 2019 Cherry Blossom Ten-Miler in Washington DC. Davis told SIR that her Army Ten-Miler training shirt is one of her favorites because on the back of the collar, it says, “Never Quit.”

“It’s important to me that he knows Mommy gets sick sometimes, and when I’m short, or impatient, or get mad easily during those times, that he understands that it is not his fault, and I love him very much.”

Davis, who is a lawyer, didn’t have that reassurance when her Dad struggled with mental health issues when she was growing up.

“I never want him to feel that way,” she wrote, referring to her own feelings of guilt, hurt, and anger as a child.

She said running helps her cope with stress and depression.

“My running time is sacred.”

“It is what calms me down, keeps my mind in balance, and just makes my life happier. When I can’t run, I feel like part of me is missing.”

Davis is injury-prone, so she doesn’t run every day. Instead, she cross-trains by doing hot yoga. However, she said it doesn’t have the same effect on her body as running. While she enjoys doing hot yoga, she wrote,

“It’s never as good as even a crappy run.”

“I have been fortunate to live in beautiful places like Washington, D.C. and Albuquerque, NM, so even if the run is not the best, there’s always something wonderful to see.

“SIR has helped me by providing a community of people where talking about mental health and your struggles is normal and expected. It’s one of the few truly safe, nonjudgmental safe spaces out there, and it’s wonderful to be able to empathize, support others, and receive support without judgment.”


By Sue Ann Rybak

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