Our Voice Nuestra Voz, a group that advocates for Spanish-speaking parents and the education of their children, meets online weekly to talk about challenges in school. But when the hour is up and the livestream ends, the conversation turns intimate. Parents open up about the stress and anxiety they’ve experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some cry, even though they feel shame for doing it.
“When they share personal experiences, they are constantly apologizing, ‘I’m sorry for saying this or that,’” said group leader Evelyn Aleman. “And that’s because of the cultural belief in the Latino community that what happens at home stays at home.”
It is well documented that the disruptions and losses of the pandemic years have taken a toll on mental health. For the Latino community, mothers especially, economic hardship has fueled psychological distress. In a UC Davissurvey of 70 Latina mothers in California’s Yolo and Sacramento counties early in the pandemic, more than half said they’d been forced to cut spending on essentials such as food, rent, car payments or air conditioning during sweltering heat. Women struggling with financial pressures reported significantly higher levels of stress, depression and anxiety.
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