Colombian reggaetonero J Balvin has been open about his struggles with mental health having previously shared his struggles with anxiety and depression. In a tweet from 2019 he revealed he was in an “infierno” for two months of battling mental illness and urged his followers to seek professional help and now he’s doing his part by launching a mental health app. Oye originated from his own experiences and his desire to help while also destigmatizing mental illness in the Latinx community. Balvin is the chief dream officer for the app which he co-founded with happiness activist and ed-tech executive, Mario Chamorro, global creative and social impact executive, Patrick Dowd, and journalist and media executive, Isaac Lee.
“Through my own journey with mental health and wellness, I was inspired and committed to bringing resources to more people around the world. With OYE, we have created a community-focused platform that will provide engaging and accessible emotional wellness practices for all,” Balvin said in a press release. “Everyone’s health journey is different and deeply personal. We wanted to not only encourage and allow people to prioritize emotional and mental health, but also provide diverse opportunities to the global community to build their own worlds of wellness in creative ways.”
An estimated 33 percent of Latinx adults with mental illness receive treatment each year compared to the U.S. average of 43 percent, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMI found that some of the barriers to seeking help include the stigma around mental illness, language barriers, and lack of health insurance.
The app will provide wellness practices in English and Spanish including guided reflections and movement practices. In order to serve the community better through cultural competence, Balvin appointed personal therapist, Carlos Lopez, a leading psychologists in Latin America, to co-chair OYE’s Wellness Council with OYE’s Head of Wellness, Mari Sierra, a Mexican wellness leader and mind-body connection expert.
“Embodiment and social healing are central to OYE’s methodology,” said Sierra, “OYE is not a cure for acute mental health issues; it is a community content platform for making emotional wellness part of your everyday life through mind-body connection. Our purpose is to help the world feel better and empower the next generation to be more in touch with themselves, their bodies, and their people.”
Those who sign up for Oye before its official launch in September will receive a 1-year free membership to access the platform’s bilingual wellness resources, content and personal updates from Balvin.