Be The Wind That Makes Pinwheels For Hope Turn

“I am not giving up. I am not throwing in the towel. And I am going to continuously share my family’s story!” said Justice Luz Elena Chapa.

Chapa was one of the featured speakers on May 6, 2015 during a One in Five Minds press conference in recognition of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

Against a backdrop of 3,000 pinwheels at Alamo Plaza, Chapa shared the story of her brother who was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was in his early 20s. Before then, her brother’s use of marijuana and alcohol was attributed to ‘bad behavior’ or rebellion.

“I carry an insurmountable amount of guilt with me every single day. I was the uncompassionate big sister. We’re 10 years apart, and I was always mad at him,” she says.” And I know that had I asked why, he would have told me that he was self-medicating to silence the voices in his head that were tormenting him.”

Getting help early was one of Chapa’s key messages. She expressed that the stigma around mental illness contributed to her brother not getting diagnosed until his early 20s. And it was also stigma that made her family keep her brother’s illness private for years.

“Imagine what my brother would have been had he gotten diagnosed, at the age of 14,” she said.

Chapa spoke about the significance of the symbolism of the pinwheel. It is a symbol of hope for children and their families. She explained that if we don’t supply a pinwheel with wind, it stops working.  She encouraged those in the audience to be the ‘wind’ that helps children struggling with mental illness receive the care they need and to overcome stigma.

“We must continue to come forward and share our personal stories so that the pinwheel continues to operate, so that these children can truly feel the sense of hope that they so desperately want,” Chapa said.

Watch the replay of the One in Five Minds press conference and do something today to make a difference in the lives of these children.

  • One in Five Minds is our prevention and education program at Clarity Child Guidance Center. We provide information and resources to parents, professionals, and the community so families no longer struggle with children’s mental illness alone.

The opinions, representations and statements made within this guest article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of One in Five Minds or Clarity Child Guidance Center. Any copyright remains with the author and any liability with regard to infringement of intellectual property rights remain with them. One in Five Minds and Clarity Child Guidance Center accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.

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