Danbury homicides present psychological well being providers ‘disaster’

DANBURY — An area mom accused of killing her three kids earlier than taking her personal life has shaken the neighborhood up to now week and is elevating consciousness to a possible “stigma” round psychological well being therapy within the immigrant neighborhood.

Danbury police mentioned Sonia Loja, 36, killed her three kids July 27 earlier than killing herself. The Workplace of the Chief Medical Examiner confirmed the youngsters — Junior Panjon, 12, Joselyn Panjon, 10, and Jonael Panjon, 5 — died by strangulation and Loja died by hanging.

At a vigil at his house Saturday, Pedro Panjon mentioned his spouse was distraught over the lack of revenue after she was ordered in June to shut her unlicensed day care enterprise. Panjon mentioned his spouse was unable to get a day care license as a result of the household is undocumented.

Danbury resident Emanuela Palmares, an activist within the immigrant neighborhood and vice chairman of the nonprofit New American Dream Basis, mentioned the tragedy underscores the necessity to increase consciousness to the psychological well being therapy assets accessible locally.

“On the finish of the day, it doesn’t matter what occasions led Sonia to take the tragic motion that she did, it’s honest to say that she was not at her optimum psychological well being. And that’s actually what we should be speaking about — how will we someway work collectively to stop this from taking place the subsequent time round?” mentioned Palmares, who got here to the U.S. from Brazil on the age of 10.

Within the immigrant neighborhood, Palmares mentioned, there’s a “stigma” when asking for assist.

“We have to speak extra about psychological well being within the Latino neighborhood and immigrant neighborhood,” Palmares mentioned. “There’s an actual disaster happening.”

The neighborhood must “brazenly speak extra about psychological well being and perceive that if you’re an immigrant and also you’re uninsured, the challenges you’ve gotten are insurmountable in comparison with somebody who isn’t an immigrant and totally insured,” she mentioned.

Getting assist

The Connecticut Institute for Communities in Danbury is among the many psychological well being assets accessible for undocumented folks. The federally certified well being middle accepts all sufferers, no matter their means to pay or their insurance coverage standing.

The power, which serves the better Danbury space, gives medical, household dentistry, girls’s well being and behavioral well being providers, in addition to many wrap-around assist providers akin to diet counseling, monetary help and translation help.

Marlene Moranino, chief program officer, mentioned sufferers who’re in disaster are referred to Nuvance Disaster Intervention and their cellular psychiatric emergency providers for quick analysis and intervention.

Behavioral well being providers are additionally provided in all school-based well being facilities in Danbury, Newtown and New Milford, the place college students might be referred instantly for providers.

Moranino mentioned about 50 p.c of CIFC sufferers are served in a language apart from English, with Spanish and Portuguese as the 2 most requested languages.

“Now we have bilingual suppliers and translation providers to make sure we meet the requests,” she mentioned.

Group in mourning

For the reason that deaths, neighborhood members have been gathering on the household’s Whaley Avenue house the place a memorial continues to develop. The deaths have been notably felt at St. Peter Catholic Church the place two of the older Panjon kids attended faith lessons.

Rev. Gregg Mecca, pastor at St. Peter Catholic Church, mentioned the parish household is “heartbroken that the lives of three of our youngsters have been reduce brief. We’re mourning that they won’t expertise extra of the attractive present, which life is.”

The church knew Junior and Jocelyn Panjon to be “beautiful kids — respectful and good college students. Pedro, the daddy, was supportive of their spiritual formation,” Mecca mentioned.

“Pedro’s life is shattered, and there are not any phrases, no gestures that may restore it,” Mecca mentioned. “As folks of religion, we’re assured that Junior, Jocelyn, Jonael and Sonia are within the presence of God the place there is no such thing as a unhappiness. We’re praying for Pedro that God who alone can heal the human coronary heart sustains him in his grief and misery.”

The funeral for the 4 relations is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at St. Peter Catholic Church in Danbury. Visitation will happen within the church from 3 to 9 p.m. Thursday.


St. Peter Catholic Church has arrange a funeral fund for the household. Contributions might be made on the church’s web site.

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