Magaly Mendez talks about dealing with mental health issues

Sociology major Magaly Mendez at UCI in Irvine. At age 21, Mendez has battled more life challenges than most people ever will. She grew up poor in west Los Angeles, the daughter of an overworked and undocumented single mom.
As a child, she suffered multiple incidents of sexual abuse, but her family didn't understand the mental health consequences, nor could they afford therapy, she said. Additionally, Mendez struggles with uncertainty over her legal status. She immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico at age 8 and is currently protected from deportation by a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA permit.
Unsurprisingly, all these stressors have put a strain on Mendez' mental health. In her freshman year, Mendez wrestled with depression. Sometimes she couldn't even bring herself to get out of bed for her shift at the campus dining hall, even though she needed the job to support herself through college.
"Many times I just wanted to cry," she said. "There were times that I couldn't focus, I wouldn't do homework or I wouldn't want to wake up in the morning.”


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