Speaker addresses stigma around mental health

WSU celebrates its 41st annual Gabriel Cardenas Memorial Banquet



Karla Blanco, assistant professor and clinician at the University of Idaho asks students to share their thoughts on the high rate of Latinos committing suicide at the CUB Senior Ballroom.

ANDREA GONZALEZ, Evergreen reporter

The 41st annual Gabriel Cardenas Memorial Banquet featured keynote speaker Karla Blanco, who spoke about mental health stigma within the Latinx community Friday in the CUB Senior Ballroom

The Gabriel Cardenas scholarship was made to honor the life of Gabriel Cardenas, who studied at WSU. The banquet concluded the weeklong celebration of Semana de la Raza.

Rafael Pruneda, College Assistance Migrant Program academic coordinator and retention specialist, said thousands of dollars have been given to Latinx Chicanx students because of the endowment scholarship.

“We should be embracing each other, being inclusive of others, and help people understand the celebrations that we’re trying to promote in La Semana de la Raza,” Pruneda said.

It is always great as a community to recognize students and everybody in the community throughout the weeklong celebration of Semana de la Raza, Pruneda said.

The hope is to have everyone come together for the event to enjoy themselves while being unified, he said.

Karla Blanco, assistant professor and clinician at the University of Idaho, said education creates a pathway to make positive changes in the community and in the country.

Education gives people a seat at the table to have a say in decisions affecting communities, she said.

Many things in people’s lives can be taken away, but nobody can take someone’s education, Blanco said.

Many Latinx individuals don’t talk about their mental health because there is a stigma associated with mental health struggles, Blanco said.

There is an assumption in the Latinx community that people seeking mental health services are weak and crazy, but that is not the case, she said.

“We undermine our own mental health because we think other people have it worse,” Blanco said.

Manuel Acevedo, director of Multicultural Student Services, said it is important for the Latinx community to have a sense of presence and ownership. He said he hopes the community will be inclusive, welcoming and anti-xenophobic.

Acevedo said a university education is a privilege, so students should “keep an eye on the prize,” which is graduating and supporting each other.