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The main goal of the La CLAve project is to initiate a public conversation about serious mental illness within the LatinX community. Inspired by the La CLAve project, we have developed an initiative to help the LatinX community address mental health issues associated with COVID-19.

Nervios and the Coronavirus

Have you noticed your moods changing as the pandemic continues? Sadness, worry and fear are increasing throughout the world. Many are saddened by their loved ones having been infected, and, in some cases, losing their lives. Many others have lost their jobs or have had their hours cut back. They worry about being able to pay their bills. In these difficult times we look to our loved ones for support, but in many cases, we cannot even visit our family or friends, especially our older relatives. The increasing uncertainty that accompanies the continuing pandemic serves to exacerbate the distress we are all feeling.

Despite the many challenges, there are steps we can take to reduce our distress, increase our positive mood, and improve our everyday lives. There are three steps in particular. The first is to recognize that our feelings of sadness, worry and fear are normal responses to a difficult situation. Most of us have felt this way during this time. You are no different. Second, we have to identify small doable activities that are meaningful to us. Only you can decide what really matters. You could begin learning a new trade by taking a class on the internet. Or you could improve your physical health by engaging in Zumba, yoga or meditation, again through the internet. Another possibility is to strengthen your English language skills. The third step, and this is the most important, is to actually carry out these crucial actions. There is good evidence that by taking these steps, little by little, our distress decreases and our positive mood increases. In addition, our daily lives begin to change as we engage in activities that not only give us pleasure, but can also give us hope that we are able to manage in these challenging times.

One last point to consider is that our positive step-wise approach can also affect others. If we engage in meaningful activities that give us hope, we can better serve our families, friends and co-workers. We can show others the way out of our negative emotions. Keep in mind that with each step we are able to move forward.

Funded by the Mental Health Services Act through Kern BHRS

Josefina López is the writer of the radio spots for Doña Esperanza. She is best known for authoring the play and co-authoring the film Real Women Have Curves. Although Real Women Have Curves is López’ most recognized work, it is only one of many literary and artistic works she has created. She also was the screenwriter for La CLAVE, a brief film that depicts the challenges of recognizing serious mental illness in the Latino community. López has had more than 80 productions of her plays throughout the United States. Much of her work addresses issues of social justice. She is also the founding artistic director of CASA 0101 in Boyle Heights, which is a theater that promotes the LatinX art community. López has received numerous awards for her work. We are delighted that she agreed to contribute her talent to the Doña Esperanza project to address mental health issues linked to COVID-19 in the LatinX community. Taken from: