Mental health is not only an ongoing crisis but a quickly rising one as well. Although this epidemic is causing problems for people all across the world, we are especially affected here in the United States. Due to the widespread use of technology and our progressively faster society, our brains are sometimes not able to adapt to our modern way of living. However, there are many, many other reasons for poor mental health.
Unfortunately, Rafael Zavala, a young Latino leader from the Southwest Side of Chicago, killed himself on Tuesday, Jan. 14. This is yet another scenario where the departed individual had a seemingly wonderful and successful life. He was an engineering student at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he pursued his lofty goals with the hope of inspiring those with a rough home life (such as himself) to pursue STEM-related majors.
Zavala was such an active member of his community that his legacy will be well-remembered by many. He pushed himself to be an outstanding student, while also helping his large family. He was working hard towards being able to provide them with a stable life. On top of all of this, he was an outspoken activist for the Latino community. His family hopes that his untimely death will help break the bad stigma around mental health, especially in this community.
Although he was making exemplary contributions to those around him and to society as a whole, he was not able to care for himself throughout this process. Zavala’s way of coping with his depression was to keep busy with his school and helping his community.
Sadly, this terrible event is not uncommon. With mental health issues being so rampant, this is one of the many reasons that one could assume that suicide is the right answer. Despite what someone’s life looks like, it can be extremely difficult to see or understand what someone is going through. This being said, it is always important to be cognizant of those around you and to treat everyone with kindness and respect. Rafael Zavala will be remembered by his family and community, and it is the hope that these terrible results of depression will not affect as many.