Learning What Can Help

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This post was submitted by Melina Acosta, Member of Active Minds Student Advisory Committee and President of Active Minds at UT-San Antonio.

In November 2013, I knew little about mental health aside from the fact that my dad was battling depression. I avoided the topic of suicide on that autumn night when my dad mentioned it because I did not know how to respond. Sensing that it made me uncomfortable, my dad made that the first and last time he ever brought it up.

He died by suicide less than a week later.

I was nearly done with my first semester of college at the time of my dad’s death. That fall, I had gone home every so often to visit my dad, whose second bout of depression had grown increasingly worse over the semester. The man I had known all of my life to be a silly, ambitious, and energetic businessman was suddenly a taciturn, lethargic, and sad stranger. Continue Reading

My Last Conversation with My Dad

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One of the last conversations I had with my father was him pleading, “Help me. Please, help me.”

My dad came to this country from Cuba when he was just 15, speaking no English and having no family in the states. Over the course of a few decades, he worked his way out of poverty and became a very successful life insurance salesman. He was a force to be reckoned with, literally a survivor, living the American dream. He was stubborn and argumentative but also silly and a fiercely loving man who adored his family.

I was 10 the first time I heard that my father had depression. I didn’t really understand what that meant, but I knew that he was sad all the time. To cheer him up, my sister and I put together a PowerPoint of all the reasons he should be happy, and why we loved him. With time he seemed to get better, and I didn’t really hear about it again until I was 18. Continue Reading