You may imagine the hope and excitement that a new immigrant feels when they arrive in the U.S. It’s true, there is hope, but there is also sadness for the loss of family, culture, and country. Maria moved to the U.S. with her husband and daughter leaving behind her parents and friends. When the pandemic hit, Maria’s worries grew for everyone she loved. She could see her daughter struggling to adjust to online schooling and separation from friends. Maria desperately missed the support of her parents and was also incredibly worried for their health and safety.
Maria’s fear and sense of isolation affected everything – she was unable to sleep and couldn’t share her feelings with her husband. A friend recommended that she call Catholic Charities to speak with one of our bilingual, Spanish-speaking therapists, and Maria found the support she needed. By speaking with a therapist fluent in her first language, Maria was able to fully express all the emotions building up inside her. “Therapy helps me reconnect with myself and my family and to keep going. I’m able to rediscover my strengths and values,” said Maria.
Olivia felt trapped. She was in a relationship that wasn't healthy and worried that there was no escape for her and her three daughters. She had been married for 19 years and had no family in the United States besisdes her husband and his family. She knew that leaving meant her and her daugthers would be alone. Olivia came to Catholic Charities in hopes of gaining more self-esteem and self-worth, knowing that she needed to be prepared to take this step for herself and her daughters. To create a safer life for her and her daughters, she found a new place to live. After working with her counselor at Catholic Charities she shares, "I felt like a new woman. I began accomplishing my goals and gained the courage to start a new beginning with my girls. I am stronger now." Olivia said she knows she can face whatever might lie ahead for her family.
MEET ESTELLE & GABRIEL
Living with chronic pain and learning from doctors that it would likely not improve was devastating for Estelle. Her exhaustion from the pain was affecting her marriage, family relationships, and the active lifestyle she once enjoyed. Falling into depression, she knew she needed professional help to manage these difficult emotions and changes in her life. She and her husband, Gabriel, began meeting with a Catholic Charities counselor. “It was a matter of helping Estelle accept that there were things she couldn’t do anymore. We talked about things she enjoyed and could still do. Although I couldn’t help with her physical pain, I could help her look at life in a new way, focus on her strengths, and find the support she needed” her counselor reflects. While Estelle is coping better and finished her counseling sessions, Gabriel decided to continue in her place meeting with the counselor. They are both benefiting from healthier, more positive relationships with each other and their family.
After months away, Trevor was returning to his community unsure of where he fit. He didn't have a place to live, people to turn to, and he was struggling with depression and anxiety. Feeling alone and without support, Trevor turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with the issues that were impacting his life. He found shelter at the Salvation Army that provided him with a temporary place to live and links to community services. That's when he began working with Raquel, a Community Counselor at Catholic Charities, who helped Trevor develop safe ways to cope, healthy habits, and worked with him to reach his first goal of holding down a job. Raquel also connected Trevor with a local substance abuse program while she continued to him him focus on his mental health.
Raquel reflects on his dedication and progress. "Today he has a stable job and home life, a goal that he achieved through hard work. He shared that because of Catholic Charities, he finally has a 'safe place to talk' and work through some of the challenges that have negatively impacted his life for so long. He tells me now 'things are going to get better.'
Daivon was lost after spending time in the hospital, diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder. His symptoms were severe and recurrent which made it hard for him to hold a full-time job and made him feel even more depressed. He began drinking more and smoking to cope. Daivon wanted to make a change so he reached out to Catholic Charities. He met with a therapist weekly and learned positive coping skills to manage his anxiety. He reduced his drinking, stopped smoking, and found a job that he enjoys. We have seen a significant difference in Daivon’s life since he walked through our doors; so much so that his depressive disorder is in remission!
After witnessing a highly traumatic event, 8-year-old José had trouble sleeping and was having frightening flashbacks and nightmares. Concerned for his well-being, Jose’s parents brought him to Catholic Charities seeking help.
Our bilingual community counseling therapist, Ramona, began teaching José basic coping skills to relax his body and mind and to identify safe places and people. He was given a safe, comfortable place to talk, play, draw, and learn, and he quickly began to show signs of improvement.
His parents were relieved. “We’re so blessed that Ramona was able to help my son and our family,” José’s mother said. “I’m just so happy to see my little boy be himself again.”
Overwhelmed with depression and thoughts of suicide, Tonya came to Catholic Charities seeking help. Tonya met regularly with a community counseling therapist to work through her depression. Tonya revealed that she was struggling with unhealthy relationships with men and had lost her job. She admitted she was becoming more withdrawn, crying frequently, and feeling hopeless. Her therapist helped her manage her depression and develop coping skills.
Tonya’s depression has become manageable and she continues to journal and use other skills she learned from her therapist. She is once again employed and has even enrolled in college to further her personal and professional growth. She said, “I now have a great outlook on my future thanks to the counseling I received.”