Today, 13th January, we celebrate the International Day against Depression.
All of us, at some point in our lives, have experienced feelings of sadness, melancholy, apathy, despair or hopelessness. Given the circumstances in which we are finding ourselves over the past year, we may have actually noticed that these feelings have taken hold of our daily lives even more often.
However, these feelings are transitory – and this is what differentiates them from depression, where these negative emotions incapacitate the person in their day to day. Is being sad because you have had to leave your family, friends, work and home behind a transitory feeling? Or does the sadness that overwhelms you when you have run away, prevent you from continuing with your routine?
Migrant people have to face very difficult environmental, economic and social conditions during their migration process, which can negatively impact on their mental health condition, especially if they do not have the necessary resources to cope with it. The stress associated with poverty, with any kind of violence, with the absence of support networks, with family fragmentation or with the experience of a traumatic event, are factors that trigger the risk of developing depression.
Most of the people suffering from this disease seek professional help (of any kind), but the very irregular condition in which migrants find themselves makes it impossible - in the vast majority of cases – for them to access necessary and timely health services. As if this were not enough, the very social stigma created around mental health disorders often causes rejection, discrimination and social exclusion, leading to attitudes of rejection when seeking or accepting help.
We are aware of the emotional burden of a migration process and its psychological impact, especially on young people who are in the process of shaping their personality, their social strategies, their communication skills and their emotional tools.
Therefore, we accompany them through active listening, with affection and understanding, taking into account that our attitudes can foster the feeling of cohesion and emotional support they may need in the moments that we share with them. We try to offer them the social and affective support that they lack during their stay in the city – because they are far from their families and are going through very hard and extreme situations at a very early age -, and thus minimize the risk that they can develop future mental disorders such as depression.
From Solidary Wheels we call for accessible and inclusive health services for all, which also ensure and guarantee the integration of different cultures so that everyone can be accepted and can have them at their disposal.
We therefore encourage everyone to claim the right to access free, quality public health care, including mental health services and all the resources needed to cope with it.