Growing up in a Latinx household, mental health and therapy were never discussed, but we all could have benefited from some counseling. Once in middle school and again in high school, I begged my parents to find me a therapist. They said they would, but they never did. I don’t blame them either. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “only 20% of Latinos with symptoms of a psychological disorder talk to a doctor about their concerns. Only 10% contact a mental health specialist.” With those odds, how could I expect my parents to recognize that I needed help?
There are so many barriers that keep us from seeking mental health resources. From health insurance to language barriers and lack of cultural competency from healthcare providers, sometimes. As a teenager, I was well aware of my anxiety and depression and how it affected my self-esteem, my eating disorder, and my school work. As an adult, one of the first steps I took in my healing journey was hiring a therapist. Finding the right psychotherapist is not always easy. It’s very similar to dating, you have to trust the vibe and be patient with finding the right one. Whether you’re just starting your search for your therapist or you’re not quite ready yet, these online resources and mobile apps will definitely help:
Open Path Collective
Open Path Collective partners with licensed mental health clinicians in private practices throughout the United States. Their goal is to “provide middle and lower-income level individuals, couples, families, and children with access to affordable psychotherapy and mental health education services.” After paying a $50 lifetime membership fee, I began the search and quickly found my therapist. Open Path Collective offers a sliding scale fee of $30-$50 per session, meaning if you’re uninsured or your insurance doesn’t cover mental health services, this is an affordable option and definitely worth looking into.
Therapy for Latinx
Therapy for Latinx is a therapist directory founded by Brandie Carlos. She created it after seeing a disconnect and inability for those around her to find Latinx therapists or culturally conscious ones. “There was an even deeper level of frustration when I spoke to friends in the Latinx community that are marginalized such as LGTBQ, Undocumented, Deaf, Veterans,etc., she says”
Carlos created this online database to help fill that void and give us a starting point of where to search— which is the really hard part.
Overbaugh Life Coaching Center
Overbaugh Life Coaching Center run by Patricia Overbaugh is a website and blog en español, dedicated to helping women find their happiness and identify key factors in their lives that blocks said happiness. She offers coaching sessions (both en Inglés y Español) in person and via Skype and has clients here in the U.S. and across Latinoamerica. She also hosts a mini-podcast titled, “Sentenciados a la Felicidad” where she discusses self-esteem, parent/child relationships, and romantic relationships.
Shine Text Shine
Shine Text Shine sends the best morning message you can wake up to. Forget that 4am or text or “WYD?” text. With Shine, expect daily affirmations from Monday-Friday with quotes, articles, and actions you can take to thrive and be the best you. If you haven’t started saying affirmations to yourself, this is the best way to start and it’s generated for you.
WYSA helps you organize unhelpful thoughts, stay positive, and is powered by an adorable blue penguin that checks on you by asking, “Is now a good time to talk?” The penguin continues to ask you about your mood, your day, and will basically play 21 questions to guess which emotion your most feeling. To chat with a WYSA coach that can give you more personalized tools to handle your feelings, you can pay a monthly fee.
Booster Buddy is an app that engages you to go on “daily quests.” You get more gold coins, the more questions you answer about how you’re feeling and how self-aware you are. It includes exercises like “Be Kind,” where you write down one encouraging thing you say to yourself and another called “Make it Smaller,” where it advises you to break challenging tasks into small steps. If you struggle with mental illness, daily tasks can take a lot out of you. This app helps guides you and helps you create a “Crisis Plan” if ever in moments of crisis.
Breathe helps you check in with yourself and asks you to rate how you’re feeling physically, mentally, emotionally and then gives you a list of timed and guided meditations. It’s hard for me to be consistent with meditating, but using this app is a good place to start. Aside from pairing meditations with your mood, the app includes different exercises, and a meditation tracker.
iHydrate reminds users that staying hydrated is so important for our overall health and energy levels. If you’re like me, you’re often over-caffeinated and on-the go! These daily reminders keep me hydrated and mindful of what my body needs.
GROUP CHAT | List of supports
When we’re dealing with real shit, we usually turn to our homegirls. That shouldn’t be your only method of support, but it’s an important one. I have two group chats that keep me grounded when I need to vent and my chosen family/homegirls uplift me when life gets too chaotic. Creating a list of people that love you and care about your well-being is extremely helpful when you’re self-isolating, anxious, and need reminding that you’re loved. I do not take my loved ones for granted and if you reach out for emotional/mental/physical/spiritual support make sure it’s mutual and not draining.
Healing is a non-linear process, meaning some days you’ll feel unstoppable and other times will be more difficult. Assemble your self-care and mental health toolkit. Knowing the resources that are available to you makes all the difference.