Maria Rosa Alvarado
Community Member Highlight: Maria Rosa Alvarado
In celebration and honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, NAMI California would like to recognize Maria Rosa Alvarado. Ms. Alvarado grew up in Mexico and moved to the United States over thirty years ago. Within her family she explained, that there was persistent stigma around mental health since a very young age. If someone was sick or had signs of depression, they would be taken to the “curandero” or a shaman that would help to heal their symptoms. This stigma persisted as she got older, however, she decided to take a leap of faith.
Ms. Alvarado reached out to NAMI almost 12 years ago after learning about her mental health diagnosis and also becoming informed about her loved ones mental health condition. She decided to take action and seek support in order to help herself and her loved ones move forward and into recovery. For the past year and a half, Maria has taken the torch and has been an active Mental Health 101 presenter reaching the Latino and Spanish speaking communities in Riverside County. She has made an immense impact by informing and raising awareness around mental health and mental illness.
Maria has shared with us the following in her experiences presenting to the community:
“By doing these presentations[MH101] the response has been amazing, people have told me that after the presentation they have made the decision to call the doctor and make an appointment to get evaluated, or to take their son or daughter to be evaluated, in other cases people that been thinking about suicide have come to me and say thank you for talking about something that I was thinking I was alone, and this gives me hope to go and have a conversation with my family and ask for help, in my opinion this is a vital program for our community. We are saving lives! And we must continue fighting to have the stigma be part of the past and have a better future for the new generations…”
Today Maria is a proud NAMI Mt. San Jacinto Board Member, Family to Family Teacher, Support Group Facilitator, and Compartiendo Esperanza Presenter. NAMI California is honored to have her as part of the NAMI family and recognizes her passion and spirit as one that we will look up for the many years to come.