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Día de los Muertos: A chance for connection, remembrance and mental support. Tips from Borderland experts

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Across the globe, millions of people are honoring their loved ones as part of Día de los Muertos, the annual celebration of those who we've loved and passed on.

This celebration is a joyous occasion, centered on connecting to those who have passed and sharing their loves and their memories. Borderland experts tell ABC-7 the celebration can bring up many emotions, and it is a day to take time to navigate those feelings.

La Familia de Paso, a Borderland clinic providing support in both English and Spanish, says Día de los Muertos is a special holiday. In some families, special offerings of food, flowers and personal mementos are made and shared to honor someone special.

Therapists with the clinic believe these are important tools for navigating emotions and keeping that love alive across the years.

Mourning the loss of a loved one is a normal part of the grieving process, and according to Mental Health America, it can be one of the most stressful events in someone's life. That pain can continue for the rest of a person's life.

In many cultures funerals are solemn occasions, but many are often followed by joyful remembrances -- such as Irish wakes and the Day of the Dead.

"Día de los Muertos acknowledges the symbiotic relationship between life and death. El día de Los Muertos is celebrated on November 1st and November 2nd, in which the spirits of the dead are believed to return home and spend time with their relatives on these two days," the Mexican Museum website states.

"To welcome them, the family build altars in their honor. These altars have a series of different components that vary from one culture to another that mostly include yellow marigolds, candles, photos of the deceased ones, papel picado or cut tissue-paper designs, as well as food and beverages offerings for the dead," the website continues.

It can also offer a chance for people to be vulnerable -- to express their emotions and grief -- and find the support they need in these tough times.

Even the decorations and ofrendas of the celebration are designed to show joy, and reduce the fear of death.

If you are feeling down today, or any day, you can always reach out to 988 -- the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline for f

Avery Martinez covers mental health in the Borderland as part of ABC-7’s Be Mindful initiative. He is also a Report for America corps member. RFA places talented, emerging journalists in newsrooms like ABC-7’s to report on under-covered issues and communities. Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, an award-winning nonprofit journalism organization dedicated to rebuilding journalism from the ground up.

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Avery Martinez


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