My name is Jose and I live in Alabama. I’m having a hard time with depression here. It’s so hard to get into any college and almost none of my friends know i’m undocumented. Can you help?
Thank you for your e-mail and i hope everything is well.
Depression among undocumented youth is very common and hard to deal with but there are things that can help. To lift some of that burden off your shoulders I suggest you tell your closest friend about your immigration status. Yes, it can be a little intimidating at first but afterwards it’ll be better. There won’t be any reason to hide or lie to them anymore. They’re there for you through other tribulations and I don’t think this is any different. It’s good to have someone you can talk to and if they don’t understand there are youth all over the USA willing to listen.
Understand that you cannot let this depression take over your life and if you feel like it is, treat it like a break-up and try to move on even though the pain still still be there. However, if you feel like it is taking over, there’s always professionals out there who can help. Don’t hesitate in seeking help! (editor’s note: If you would like to speak to someone, it is very likely that there are free mental health services available near you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to see if we can find some.)
Don’t let your immigration status keep you from applying to colleges you want to go to. Remember that some private universities will fund someone who is undocumented, we just need to be more assertive and ask for that financial help. That’s always the biggest issue, asking, but it’s something we need to become familiar with. There’s no shame or blame in seeking help. I recommend creating a list with short and long term goals that you need to meet (not want. we all know what we want). For example: get your passport if you don’t have one, try opening a bank account, apply to a certain amount of colleges/scholarships, tell one or two people about your status etc.
I know that Alabama is a difficult place to live in, especially for someone who’s undocumented, because of all the hate and anti-immigration laws. Alabama needs youth like you to organize and advocate for equality and human rights. But before doing that, you need to take care of yourself first.
Email or fill out this form with any questions, concerns, comments or just your own story. This is a space to let it all out! You don’t have bottled it up inside. Whatever you write is up to you and you will not be judged. Your stories and worries matter! You are not alone. Remember, the insecurities and fears you have, someone else is them having too! Don’t be afraid to speak out!
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The views expressed by the author on this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the New York State Youth Leadership Council (NYSYLC)