Fronteras: 'A Life On Hold: Living With Schizophrenia' | Texas Public Radio

Fronteras: 'A Life On Hold: Living With Schizophrenia'

Aug 17, 2018

The National Alliance of Mental Illness reports that Latinos are less likely than people of other nationalities to seek mental health treatment. Josie Méndez-Negrete, sociologist and associate professor of Mexican American studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio, has an adult son who has schizophrenia and joins us to discuss the issue.


Only 10 percent of Latinos with symptoms of mental illness talk to a mental health specialist.

FRONTERAS EXTRASchizophrenia 'Is Like Having Eight Television Stations On At All Times

In Méndez-Negrete’s 2015 book “A Life on Hold: Living with Schizophrenia,” not only does she recount her experiences accepting her 47-year-old son Robert Lopez’s diagnosis, but the many conversations they had, often while he was speaking in the voices of the other residents of his mind

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Josie Méndez-Negrete
Credit Norma Martinez / Texas Public Radio

  • Méndez-Negrete takes issue when asked “when did you notice something was wrong” when asked about her son’s early symptoms (1:26).
  • Like some sufferers of schizophrenia, Robert was hyper-creative and intelligent before experiencing symptoms of mental illness (2:42).
  • Méndez-Negrete talks about a failed cultural approach to treating Robert’s schizophrenia by visiting a curandero (5:35).
  • Mental illness used to be embraced by developing nations. Now those with mentally illness are ignored or turned away (10:30).
  • Since Robert’s diagnosis, his life has been on “permanent pause” (12:41).
  • The mentally ill are often incorrectly targeted as perpetrators of violence (15:18).
  • What plans have Méndez-Negrete and her husband made for her son when they can no longer care for him? (18:18)

Norma Martinez can be reached by email at norma@tpr.org, and on Twitter @NormDog1