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Mental Health Awareness Month

Maria Ochoa, a resident leader in her community, mother of two and wife has worked hard to overcome her social anxiety disorder and depression.“My life growing up as a child wasn’t easy,” said Ochoa, my mother died when I was three, my father got remarried and then I was placed in the foster care system…..”

Maria Ochoa, a resident leader in her community, mother of two and wife has worked hard to overcome her social anxiety disorder and depression.

Social anxiety disorder can be described as a mental health condition, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, that creates an intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others. Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities.

“My life growing up as a child wasn’t easy,” said Ochoa, my mother died when I was three, my father got remarried and then I was placed in the foster care system.”

Maria has struggled speaking up for herself as a result of the trauma she suffered from her past and she also struggles with breaking out of routines. New people, being in a crowd, moving forward are all triggers for Maria.

“When my routine changes, is when I start to get anxious and scared. I know there is nothing to fear out there, it’s just in my mind.”

Maria took a leap of faith and broke her routine when she joined Riverside Community Health Foundation’s Resident of Eastside Active in Leadership (REAL) Group in 2016. A friend encouraged her to go to the classes and the group has been her support system ever since!

“It’s the people in this group and organization that have helped me move forward. I believe in myself more now, and now I can do things that I couldn’t do before.”

Maria also attributes her success overcoming anxiety to her therapist Laura. She encourages others to seek therapy and participate in the programs around mental health that Riverside Community Health Foundation has to offer.

“Don’t be afraid, go for it. I know it’s scary at first but it’s worth it. You will learn new strategies and ways to cope with your issues.”

Riverside Community Health Foundation is hosting a mini-series event entitled, Taking Care of You, which focuses on identifying the signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression and how to improve your emotional wellness. The event is completely free and will be held at the Riverside Convention Center (address) on Wednesday, May 15 from 4:30p – 8:30p. Registration is required, please review details for the event below.