On June 24 Speak Away the Stigma is hosting Mental Health Conversations: Dads & Depression. Mental Health Professional Joanna Nunez will be one of the speakers. Read more about why Joanna knew from an early age she wanted to be in the Mental Health Field. Find out why she believes that sharing stories can eliminate the stigma, and why Depression impacts more that just the person with the diagnosis. The event will be held in Fayetteville, NC at the Cumberland County Headquarters Library Downtown from 2-4pm.
Joanna Nunez MSW, LCAS, LCSW, CCTP
Hometown/Current City: Fayetteville
Education: UNC-Charlotte, East Carolina University (graduate)
Name of Practice: Square One Counseling PLLC
Q: Why did you choose a career in Mental Health?
A: From about the 8th grade on I was fascinated by the nature vs nurture debate. How could two people from the same household experience the same event and have different outcomes? I was hooked from that point on.
Q: What makes you a great Mental Health Professional?
A: I am extremely non judgmental, to the point where I don’t think I’m shockable anymore. I won’t judge your past, your lifestyle or decisions you’ve made. I’m just here to help.
Q: Why do you believe there is a stigma surrounding mental illness and mental health?
A: I think many people don’t fully understand that there is a spectrum of levels of care- and that most people have received outpatient therapy in some form or another in their life. Unfortunately, we tend to glamorize and seek out the negative, so people associate mental illness and the help that comes with mental illness in the extremes they see on the news- 1 out of 4 people suffers from a mental illness, but they aren’t all going to be on the news involved in a mass shooting, or as a serial rapist, or a police standoff, thank goodness. We need to put more focus on what is the norm, not the extreme.
Q: Do you think it is possible to eliminate that stigma? If so, how?
A: I think if more people shared their stories, even a anonymously, that would help. I’ve had so many clients get relief when they realize there is a name and treatment for their disorder and they are not alone.
Q: In your opinion what is the biggest obstacle when it comes to men getting care for their mental health?
A: I think in many cultures, men are told to be strong, and part of asking for any kind of help is seen as weak. In Fayetteville, so many people are connected to the military and there can be clearances involved. So many people think that going to therapy will make them lose their job or their clearance.
Q: What is a common myth people have about going to therapy?
A: Other than the aforementioned immediate loss of job and clearance, so many people think therapy is “just talking” and that there’s no way that it can help help them. It’s so much more than talking.
Q: It is estimated that Depression affects 6 million men per year, how would you say that impacts communities or families?
A: In communities its loss of productivity, loss of resources, loss of creativity. In families, its the loss of a parent from time to time, putting all the parenting responsibilities on one parent. Its children walking on eggshells and wondering what kind of mood the depressed parent is going to be in today.
I choose to Speak Away the Stigma of Depression because…….everyone can be part of the solution, if we know what to look for and how to help.