PHOENIX — "Being part of the community...you can't just say it, you have to do it," explains Carlos Galindo-Elvira, the director of community engagement for Chicanos Por La Causa.
Galindo-Elvira is the definition of not just talking the talk, but walking the walk.
"That's where my heart is. And that's where my passion lies."
Over the past 30 years, he has worked for several non-profits, but behind his radiant smile, he was keeping a dark secret.
"I felt I was this ugly monster who didn't deserve to be alive."
Thoughts of suicide were the elephant in the room Galindo-Elvira could never dare introduce -- the outside world had no idea someone so bright, so friendly, so loving was in so much pain.
"There were so many times I was in a room full of hundreds of people and I still felt isolated and alone," Galindo-Elvira tells ABC15. "I could be anywhere, smiling and shaking hands, but I was still thinking about it or thinking, was that enough?"
But it became more than just thoughts. He says he also had a plan in place.
"It was a Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. I will never forget that date. I decided that needed to be the date that it needed to happen. I got a full bottle of sleeping pills, put them in my pocket, and left for the day."
So proud of @arizonascge for opening up about his struggles with suicide ideation and mental health issues - I firmly believe his story will save lives. See our interview at 5AM & 6AM on @abc15 - And if you need help, call 1-800-273-8255 or visit https://t.co/OtuwmeoCBw - pic.twitter.com/iWhkqirYSN— Nick Ciletti (@NickCiletti) October 4, 2021
But something inside told him to open up about his pain to a trusted friend who didn't judge and just listened and made sure he got to help he needed.
Galindo-Elvira says, if it wasn't for that friend, he may not be here today. He also wants to encourage more people to come forward, especially people in the Hispanic community.
"You're brought up at home, you don't talk about your dirty laundry in public and so going in and talking to a therapist about what's happening to you, why would you do that? But we need to do that because the laundry still stays dirty. If you don't talk about it, it's still dirty."
If you or someone you know needs help, please don't hesitate to reach out. You can call 1-800-273-8255 or visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.