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Bienestar: A silent problem

By Caroline Clauss-Ehlers

The past three editions have focused on the experience of Ramiro Guevara and his mother, Romana Guevara Martinez. Throughout the years he was growing up, Ramiro knew he was different. He heard voices and saw visions. His mother consistently tried to get help, but was met with many obstacles.

Ramiro was eventually diagnosed with bipolar depression, a medical illness that causes shifts in mood, energy, and ability to function. "When I finally found out I had a mental illness, I thought it was the end of my life." Instead, Ramiro began to volunteer and eventually got a job as a peer counselor. Increasingly, Ramiro became a voice for Latinos with mental illnesses. He is now director of the national STAR Center. "Many Latinos do not get treatment until they are in crisis," shared Ramiro. "All this time I think what would have happened had there been an earlier intervention."

"Language is a barrier, and you have to overcome this if you need help," said Romana, who advises all mothers who face similar problems to "keep asking and investigating. Don't just accept one answer. Look for help in the right places because life changes when we understand the problem, and it can become an incredible and satisfactory experience."

This column is educational. It does not substitute for formal medical advice.

Send your questions to Bienestar/Hoy, 330 West 34 St., 17th Floor, New York, NY 10001
Call at (212) 462-9464 or write

Copyright 2005, Used with permission from Hoy.

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