We meet recent immigrant Gladys when she feels like her world is caving in. This is a window into her thought process over whether or not to go seek help.
It highlights the importance of providing culturally sensitive mental health services. Gladys was beaten both as a child by her father and as an adult by her husband. She bravely decided to leave her husband back in her home country, and came to the U.S. with her son. Her adult daughter believed Gladys was wrong to leave her marriage, even if it was abusive, so she turned her back on Gladys.
In the latino community there is a great cultural stigma both around identifying domestic violence and around seeking mental health services. Gladys has to overcome the feeling that she is betraying her family by talking to a therapist.
Gladys is lying on the floor.
Scene reads: ‘Based on a true story’
I feel more and more hopeless every day. My husband was right, I’m useless. I should have stayed back home with him. Now I’m in a new country with nothing. And my own daughter thinks I was wrong to leave him.
Gladys paces in her home.
I heard there’s a place where you can talk to somebody, a counselor. They even speak Spanish, maybe I should go. But does that mean I’m crazy? Going to talk to a stranger, maybe even a doctor about my own personal problems?
Gladys walks outside.
What does the doctor know about my life? They wont be able to help me. What would my daughter and son think of me if I go see a doctor for crazy people? What kind of mother would that make me? I’m not like those people, talking to themselves on the street corner. I’m not like them. I haven’t slept well for months. Sometimes I get dizzy during the day because I haven’t slept.
Gladys is tossing and turning in her bed.
I’m crying all the time now. I couldn’t hold it together, even for a simple job interview. How can I take on anything new? I will never find a job. I have to do something. For my daughter, for myself, I can’t go on like this.
Gladys is in her kitchen cutting an apple.
When I was a little girl and things would get bad and my father would hit me my mother would say, ‘forget about it. Don’t tell anyone about the bad stuff. You don’t wash your dirty laundry in public.’ I’ve tried to talk to my friend Anna about what’s going on with me but she says I really need to talk to someone with more experience.
Scene fades to two people holding hands.
She told me about the clinic. I want to get better.
Gladys walks to clinic and goes inside.
Gladys made the decision to seek help at La Clinica, the mental health program at the Instituto Familiar de la Raza in San Francisco.
As she began seeing a bilingual therapist who understood the cultural stigma she felt about the abuse and depression she experienced she gradually regained mental stability and self confidence, and was able to find a job to support her son through high school.
Now Gladys is applying for a US visa and working at an organization to assist other women who are survivors of violence.