Houston consulate engages Filipino community with parade participation and mental health seminar

HOUSTON, TX —It has been a little over a year since the philippine consulate re-opened its doors in Houston. And officials, led by Consul General Jerril Santos, have stepped up when it comes to initiatives and activities aimed to strengthen ties with the Fil-Am community.

One was joining Houston’s Annual International Parade with the Filipino community for the first time — celebrating the city’s great diversity.

Partnering with local Fil-Am cultural organizations, the Filipino contingent won the first-place award, impressing the judges with performances, costumes and community spirit.

That same day, the Houston Philippine Consulate held a public mental health and wellness seminar with presentations on mental health issues not often discussed within Asian communities.

The consulate said it wants to play a bigger role in supporting Filipino immigrants and their families — especially on issues concerning mental health.

“We Asians are more stigmatized when it comes to mental health problems compared to the US population,” said expert Dr Jun Aquiza.

“Every day we feel the stress, and that is a reality of life. It is just a matter of how we handle it and if we need professional help or more information hopefully this is something we can tackle today,” said Consul Gil Segarra, Philippine Consulate of Houston.

These types of consulate community outreach programs look to assist especially new immigrants and those in desperate need of help, such as one mentally distressed Filipina.  

“We learned her situation, we were able to contact the right provider, she was referred to a facility to help her and now she is actually coping.”

And after being closed for 25 years, the Philippine consulate in Houston is making sure its doors are not only open for basic consular services, but on whatever assistance they could give to help Filipinos survive and thrive in their adopted country.

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