Mental health remains stigmatized in the Latinx community and part of dismantling that is talking openly about seeking care. Actress and entrepreneur Jessica Alba recently shared that she goes to therapy with her 13-year-old daughter, Honor. The mom of three and founder of Honest, a baby, beauty, and cleaning supplies brand that’s dedicated to clean products, talked to PEOPLE about destigmatizing therapy.
“I think just trying to destigmatize what that is,” she said. “It really is: How can I show up as a mom for my kids and be the best parent for her?… There really isn’t one sort of recipe that works across the board. I just wanted to be able to show up for her.”
While Alba’s reasoning is more about family, many Latinxs in the U.S. have shared that cultural competence is so important when seeking a therapist. The demand for full-time psychologists within the Latinx community is expected to surge 30 percent by the year 2030, according to the American Psychological Association. Currently only 4.4 percent of American psychologists identify as Latinx. Some of the other reasons Latinxs don’t take part in therapy is insurance/cost, language barriers, and the idea that personal matters should stay within the family. Alba shared that part of the reason she wanted to go to therapy was because of how her relationship with her parents suffered because of a lack of communication when she was growing up and she didn’t want to repeat that with her own daughter.
“Like my 13-year-old, I’m struggling with not treating her like a little [kid]— I want to treat them all like babies. I want to baby them. Still, my tendency is to parent them as if they are little,” she told Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt as part of her Instagram series Before, During & After Baby back in July. “I started going to therapy with her I think when she was 11. For me it was really out of, I felt like my relationship really suffered with my parents because they didn’t know how to communicate with me and how I needed to be parented. So I didn’t want that breakdown with Honor so we went to therapy together.”
Alba also talked about the new book, A Bear to Share, that she co-wrote with Baby2Baby co-CEOs Kelly Sawyer Patricof and Norah Weinstein centered on the importance of giving back. Alba is an ambassador for Baby2Baby, a charity that provides impoverished children with diapers, clothing and other necessities, and proceeds from the book benefit the organization. The book is about Tiana and her beloved bear, Bach, and learning how to let go and give back.
“I think every lesson is really a moment for reflection. I don’t avoid conversation,” Alba shared with PEOPLE. “I think it’s all just how can we have a better understanding of each other? And it actually is very similar to the book. Just having compassion and empathy around someone else is reality, right? And being able to have context and see either lens, I think that’s something that you could always work on as a person.”