Maintaining the Health of Your Brain and Your Mind

Columns, Little Brazil

Maintaining the Health of Your Brain and Your Mind


Depression and anxiety are very real contemporary problems that affect thousands of people. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2020, depression will be the most crippling disease in the world.

It generates that feeling of sadness that never goes way, the lack of stimulus that keeps one in bed and unwilling to perform daily tasks, the lack of appetite or the urge to eat compulsively and the kind of indisposition that disheartens and steals one’s smile and joy.

Depression can trigger anxiety, which surfaces and causes symptoms such as accelerated thinking, shortness of breath, tingling and many others that we don’t necessarily think are related to symptoms of depression.

It is very likely that at some point in life, we have come across someone who has experienced a crisis of depression or acute anxiety caused by stressful events such as loss, divorce, change of country, etc. Depression can also be caused by biological factors such as hormones or hereditary chemical dysfunction.

Marcia Tonioli Smith, a Brazilian and native of the capital city of Sao Paulo, has been living in the United States for over 30 years. She graduated in the United States with a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work, specialized in Clinical Psychotherapy, and a PhD in Neuropsychology.

Smith has been practicing in the clinical area for almost 20 years. Ten years ago, she opened the “Brain and Mind Fitness” clinic, providing aid to patients in New York and Connecticut, and extending those treatments to other states through an online platform for long-distance residents, with assistance in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

Regardless of her busy schedule, Smith finds time to dedicate to philanthropic causes. She offers educational lectures to Brazilians and U.S. Americans on depression and anxiety, teaching them to recognize the symptoms and to take action and                                                                                                                                                                                             look for adequate help, offering consultations for a very affordable cost for Brazilians who need psychological aid.

“I believe that one of the main problems in our community is the lack of knowledge about these disorders, and cultural and religious taboos. For this reason, I decided to initiate the free lectures, to inform about the illness and how to seek help,” explains Smith.

“Another serious problem is people who are not licensed and properly trained treating patients. There are pathological cases that require specialized care and, often, referrals to psychiatrists to prescribe antidepressants along with therapy.”

Smith explains that in Brazil the regulations and requirements to practice psychology differ from the United States.

“In Brazil, you can practice psychology after graduating. Here it is different; I have to get my PhD and many hours of supervision to be able to treat patients.”

A psychologist with a college education in Brazil cannot practice in the United States, she says. “Unfortunately, the market for non-specialized care in the treatment of serious cases has become a gigantic problem.”

For more information about depression and anxiety, Smith is offering a free lecture to the Brazilian community over 18 years old, on August 20, at 7 pm at 19 Gramatan Avenue, second floor, Mount Vernon, NY.


Space is limited. RSVP through the event’s page on Facebook – Palestra Sobre Ansiedade E Depressão.


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August 23, 2018

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