The experience of coming to terms with a mental health condition can be overwhelming and isolating for anyone at any age. For Hernan Munoz, 24, the feeling of chronic unease and utter loneliness was compounded by the cultural stigma of mental health he felt from his community. His mother was an immigrant from Ecuador who was working multiple jobs to keep the family afloat and didn’t have a framework for mental health. His father was not in the picture.
“At that time I used to really believe in God a lot because I was brought up a Catholic,” says Munoz. “So nothing made sense because I was like, you know, I haven’t done anything bad.”
It wasn’t until he discovered CAMH’s drop-in space for youth with early onset psychosis at St. Clair and Old Weston Road that things began to change. Here Munoz found a community of like-minded people who were struggling with the same things. For the first time he felt a sense of real community — a place where he could socialize with other people and share what was going on in his head without fear of judgment. Eventually this led him to the music program run by CAMH staff and volunteers, which Hernan says changed the course of his life.
About the author, Jen Recknagel
Jen Recknagel is a former Senior Editor at The Local.
About the author, Sampreeth Rao
Sampreeth Rao is a Scarborough-based filmmaker who tells candid stories about marginalization.
Support local journalism!
We are able to provide our award-winning journalism at no cost thanks to the generous support of readers like you. Your support also comes with a limited edition Local T-shirt.Support
More articles on
More from this issue
The Local was the third-most awarded publication, behind only The Globe and Mail and Radio-Canada.
Join our editorial team as we put together an issue covering a range of important and under-reported urban Indigenous topics in Toronto.
When Target closed in Canada, it left a crater in many suburban malls. In Thorncliffe Park, a group of health care providers stepped in.
In inner suburbs like Mount Dennis, the convenience of commuters zooming through often takes precedence over the wellbeing of locals.
In virtually every culture, people connect over food. To be deprived of food is to be alienated from social life.
In a city of immigrants, interpreters play an often overlooked role — trekking across the GTA to ensure new Torontonians are understood.