Fierce

Explaining Racial Trauma To A White Therapist Isn’t Always Easy, Here’s Why Seeing A Therapist Of Color Might Be Better

July is Minority Mental Health Awareness month, a time of year the U.S. Government designated to “bring awareness to the unique struggles that underrepresented groups face in regard to mental illness in the United States”. And with good reason.

Chilling statistics tell us that while 41.5% of children aged 12-17 received care for a major depressive episode, the percentage of minority children that received treatment is much lower, with 35.1% of black children and only 32.7% of Latino kids receiving care. The reasons behind this are varied. Not only are minorities more likely to be misdiagnosed and less likely to receive appropriate care due to clinician bias, but according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, minorities are also “less likely to use community mental health services, more likely to use emergency departments, and more likely to receive lower quality care”, due to a variety of socioeconomic factors. We know that mental illness is a cultural issue that permeates every aspect of society, so the problem, then, lies in awareness, diagnosis, and treatment. 

The idea of consulting a therapist for professional help seems like overkill, a little foreign, and definitely a little scary. We’ve all head the common refrain: “Isn’t therapy for crazy people?”. Not at all. Therapy is simply a way of practicing self-care and should have no greater stigma surrounding it than going to the doctor for a check-up. In 2017, a study showed that 18.9% of adults in the U.S. had a mental illness. That’s 46.6 million people! Statistics like this simply prove how much therapy could benefit the population. 

Luckily, we live in a time where millennials are no longer as afraid of talking about their struggles with mental health or afraid of getting outside help to deal with them. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, five times as many college students went to therapy in 2017 as compared to the years between 2011 and 2016. According to Peter Economou, a professor of Applied Psychology at Rutgers: “treatment has become de-stigmatized so people are more open to it”. But, we still have a long way to go. 

The Latino community, like many marginalized communities, is notoriously conservative when it comes to views on mental illness. As Twitter user @itsk80prince put it so perfectly: “talking about mental health in Latino families be like: “eres un emo?”. Many Latino families believe that problems should be discussed with a priest or maybe with your girlfriends during a round of chisme.

Before you start your search for a therapist, keep the following points in mind:

1. Do your research about their ethnic background and background in treating certain demographics.

There’s no shame in wanting a therapist who either looks like you or might come from a similar upbringing as you do. Often times, these are the therapists who can make us feel the most understood, related to and comforted. Having to explain racial trauma to a therapist who might not be able to relate or validate your feelings will undoubtedly bring you way more frustration in the end. “I’m a Latina who identifies as queer and started to see a white female therapist after I found myself going through a lot of depression while trying to get a job at a new company,” one woman explained to FIERCE in an interview. “All was well at first but after a while, I realized that talking about the frustrations I was experiencing were not being registered her accepted by her. For example, speaking to her about the frustrations of being interviewed by white men over and over again was okay but speaking about the racist microaggressions I would experience under my white female boss was always met with questions about why I thought my boss’s behavior was racist even at all. Ultimately I left her and started seeing a black female therapist who gets my situation so much more and I feel so much more validated.” 

2. Know the difference between a Counselor vs. a Therapist vs. a Psychologist

Counselors don’t require an advanced degree and, in fact, the term “counselor” kind of works as an umbrella term for therapists, social workers, and psychologists. Therapists, on the other hand, usually need a minimum of a Master’s degree in Psychology, Social Work, or Marriage and Family Therapy in order to call themselves a therapist. Psychologists are required to hold at least a Masters degree in psychology, with many opting for a doctorate.

3. Okay, so you want the Ph.D. Will you be needing a psychologist or psychiatrist? 

Newbies to therapy might not be aware of the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist, so it’s good to keep in mind the difference before starting your search. While a psychologist assesses, analyzes and observes your behavior in order to alleviate mental stress, a psychiatrist does all of the above and is also a licensed physician, meaning they can also prescribe medication, such as antidepressants. 

If you’re really struggling with depression, anxiety and/or psychosis and your mood makes it hard for you to function in day-to-day life, then your problems may be caused by a chemical imbalance. Medication might give you the extra help you need to get your mood back on track.

4. Do you want this time to be solo?

It may not come as a shock to you to know that many people consider relationships to be one of the most stressful aspects of life. Consider couples or family therapy as an option if you feel like you need help mediating inter-relational problems, or even if you’d just like an outside opinion on your relationships. Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) specialize in familial interactions and work on improving communication between family members. 

5. Identity matters.

Don’t feel guilty about preferring a therapist who understands first-hand the struggle that you go through on a daily basis. That means that if you prefer a therapist who identifies the same way as you do (gender, sexual orientation, race and/or ethnicity), it is completely within your rights to pick that therapist. If you’re more comfortable with therapist who specializes in LGBTQ+ issues or identifies as Latino, then that’s completely your choice.  

6. Utilize all of your resources. 

Remember, there have been so many people that have come before you that have been in your shoes. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals from open-minded friends and family members. Also, know that there are tons of resources available to you online. The internet is chock-full of lists, databases, directories, and networks, all created with the express purpose of providing mental health care to Latino and marginalized communities. Databases like this can point you in the right director. Or even ask your healthcare provider to connect you with therapists who identify the same way as you do.

7. Take your therapist for a test drive. 

If you’re worried about committing to a therapist straight of the bat, ask for a trial session first so you know if you have chemistry (or have the possibility of building a rapport) with your mental healthcare provider. Sometimes, everything about your potential therapist can look great on paper, but once you meet in person, the connection just isn’t there. 

Once you arrive, ask yourself a few questions: Do you like the environment? Does this person feel easy to talk to? Do you feel comfortable around this person? Can you imagine revealing some of your most painful feelings to this person? All of these questions can help bring clarity to what you’re feeling.

8. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

It can be a little daunting the first time you step into a therapist’s office, especially when you expect your therapist to be the one asking you all of the thought-provoking questions. But, remember: this is your health, and you get to call the shots. Make sure you ask questions–what is the therapist’s approach? Psychotherapy? Cognitive behavioral therapy? Does your therapist use faith-based methods to supplement her practice? No question is too trivial, silly, or small to ask your potential therapist.

9. Make sure your therapist is licensed.

Last but not least, make sure your therapist is licensed by the state you live in. Becoming a licensed therapist is a strenuous process that involves a lot of schooling, clinical hours, and exams. So, although that man on the corner of the sidewalk giving out advice may have some interesting stuff to say, he’s probably not the best option for helping you get to your best self.

News Outlets Are Flooded With Terrifying News, But Here’s A List Of Really Good News That Is Affecting Latinx

Fierce

News Outlets Are Flooded With Terrifying News, But Here’s A List Of Really Good News That Is Affecting Latinx

We Are / Getty Images

Every day, television, print, and social media news bombard us with the worst of the world’s major updates and reports. From news of global warming and racism to accounts of mass shootings and political in-fighting, it’s hard to see any good news in these daily publishings. It can get overwhelming and downright depressing. It begins to feel like there is nothing but negativity and bad news in the world. 

However, we know that isn’t true. No matter how bad it seems, there are daily triumphs that we should celebrate as sources of positivity and hope in our world no matter how small these wins seem. We asked our FIERCE readers to share with us some of the good news that is happening in their lives. Hopefully, their stories of success will rejuvenate you and remind you of your own personal victories.

1. Dad deserves some rest and relaxation.

Instagram / @securedretirementradio

“Dad told me today he is preparing to retire in December! This man, like many of our fathers/grandfathers, was up every day at 5 AM working hard to make sure I had everything – now he can relax and let me (try) to make sure he has a nice retirement ❤️” @mianoel18

2. They grow up so fast.

Instagram / @mainan.anaktoys

“My two-year-old started preschool today. The regional center is paying for 2 days. It took a lot of work to get to this point. I’m a single mom ❤️” @xochitl_esperanza

3. An educated Latina.

Instagram / @nataliemcortes

“Graduating with my Ph.D. soon. Proud First-gen Mexicana ❤️ !! ” @ana_kaboom

4. You are worthy of good things.

Instagram / @thecleverbabecompany

“I’m currently applying to medical school and my imposter syndrome was hitting me pretty hard but after my first interview, I’m excited about the rest. (I got interviews at schools I thought would flat out reject me)” @elizpicazo

5. Making her dreams come true.

Instagram / @johnmarkgreenpoetry

“This 43-year-old mother of two just passed her first-year law school exam! Less than 20% of those who take it pass. In three years I’ll be taking the California bar exam! It’s never too late to go after your goals!” @mujerlaw

6. Congrats, you’re a homeowner!

Instagram / @abbieimagine

“Officially done paying my house as of this month 🙏🏼😭🙏🏼😭🙏🏼” @teresasole48

7. A reunion worth waiting for.

Instagram / @donia_artwork

“I haven’t seen my best friend in two years and she bought her plane ticket today to join me for Thanksgiving and I am SO EXCITED 😍😍😍😍”   @katie.i.cannon

8. Pay it forward.

Instagram / @deepalshah01

“A job opportunity at this place I volunteer for opened up and I’m really excited about it. I applied it’s a legal advocate position to help innocent victims of all crime. I just really want to pay it forward and be who I needed when I was younger. I’m just asking for prayers and good vibes this way 🙏🏽”   @pieldecanela__

9. Get that bread, girl!

Instagram / @j.duh

“I am starting my first job after college on Monday! I will help in launching a Latinx outreach program! I am so excited” @bookwormweirdo

10. Support those Latina-owned businesses. 

Instagram / @lovelyeventsbyvon

“My gringo esposo and I started a Paleteria @gringojakespaleteria and we entered a competition to win our own shop with free rent for a year! 👏🏽👏🏽 Even if we don’t win, we’ve learned so much and conquered our fear of public speaking! 💗” @oliviamsal

11. A multitude of blessings.

Instagram / @roccaboxuk

“I just graduated from UW-Madison (just announced #13 public university in the country). I am a first-gen college student so I am so so proud of myself. Still looking for a job (accepting all prayers/good vibes thx 😊). My parents have been looking for their first house for months and are set to close and move in at the end of the month!” @april_rose13

12. So much to be thankful for.

Instagram / @the.sarasa

“I nailed the audition for @tedxevansville and will be speaking about our Latinx community on November 8th! I just moved across the country too, and I both my company and myself are starting new projects and getting more business 🙏🏽❤️ @officiallawtina also my parents are opening the first authentic Latin American restaurant (Serving 9 countries’ foods) in September 17th in a small town where it is finally starting to diversify more and become more inclusive, and this is a HUGE step for the community!” @cindypetrovalfaro

13. Celebrate Latina creators.

Instagram / @weallgrowlatina

“My film @hyphenfilm is hitting the film festivals! Even up for a film star award 🙂 @riaservellon

14. Travel feeds the spirit.

Instagram / @evolution_of_spirit

“My Ma and sis got to travel to Spain 🇪🇸 🙏🏽 We are not rich rich so to us this is Amazing!!!! @jjj259 @essjayyvee 💕 have fun love you!!!” @jayyvee_xo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n-R07zlz1g

A Video Of A Woman Singing ‘Fallaste Corazón’ To Her Abuelo With Dementia Is Going Viral After He Remembered The Lyrics

Things That Matter

A Video Of A Woman Singing ‘Fallaste Corazón’ To Her Abuelo With Dementia Is Going Viral After He Remembered The Lyrics

We all know that growing old is inevitable in this life and that our days on Earth are numbered. Regardless of that truth, it’s human nature to either feel afraid of growing old or to feel melancholy when it comes to thinking of growing old. What can be even more painful is seeing our parents, our aunts and uncles, or our grandparents growing old and imagining a life without them in it. 

Last week, one woman on Twitter shared a video of her grandfather who has dementia singing along with her to “Fallaste Corazón” by Pedro Infante in a fleeting moment of lucidness. 

In the video, you can see the woman singing with such passion to her grandfather who is attentively watching her sing and who later begins to sing along to the lyrics as well.

 Dayis, on Twitter, shared that her “tata” doesn’t remember a lot of things due to his dementia but in an effort to help him with his dementia, she sings to him every day. 

“Today he remembered the song fallaste corazón and I swear I was trying so hard not to cry,” she writes. “This many is my life.”

According to Alzheimers.net, there are many reasons as to why music boosts brain activity.

According to the site, “musical aptitude and appreciation” are two of the last remaining abilities in dementia patients, music can bring emotional and physical closeness, music can shift moods and stimulate positive interactions, and it evokes emotions that bring back memories.

Since musical aptitude and appreciation are the last remaining abilities in patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia, “music is an excellent way to reach beyond the disease and reach the person.” In later stages of dementia, patients are also prone to losing the ability to share emotions with their caregivers or family members but through music, they can still reach that emotional and physical closeness they once had. Further, singing to and with dementia patients is engaging and it leads to patients “exercising more mind power than usual.” 

People who saw the touching video on social media were not only quick to share their reactions after watching it but they also shared their own personal experiences with family members and loved ones who had dementia. 

One Twitter user replied to @Dayannagmusic03 and shared that they couldn’t stop watching the video. 

The Twitter user went on to say that their grandfather also has dementia but notices sometimes that “something around him has triggered a memory” and to see that, they said, is the best feeling in the world. 

The woman who initially posted the video shared that her “tata” is currently on “stage 6” of dementia and although it’s been a long and rough battle, “he always seems to remember certain songs.”

“When he does, it warms my heart with joy,” she continued to write on Twitter. 

It’s safe to say the video had a lot of people in their feels and rightfully so.

We love to see raw and touching moments like these. 

The 0:50 mark made us ugly cry too.

This is right when her grandfather starts to faintly sing along with her and man, she sings with so much emotion too. 

Other folks on Twitter sent their blessings to her family and her grandfather.

We hope her grandfather continues to have more moments like this. 

People on Twitter also compared the heartwarming video to the movie Coco.

Remember the scene toward the end of the film when Miguel sings to Mamá Coco and she begins to remember? I’m not crying, YOU’RE CRYING. 

Others said what we’re all thinking… just thinking about our parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents getting old hurts a little bit more as we keep getting older ourselves. 

We’d like to keep believing their invincible and will live forever. 

Another Twitter user @missmalindakat tweeted that she had never seen anyone sing with more “heart and passion” than in that video.

One Twitter user shared her own video of her grandfather in a similar situation who also seemed to remember the lyrics to “El Rey” by Vicente Fernández when her great aunt sang it to him.

It’s touching to see other folks sharing their similar experiences and videos in an effort to support one another. This video has also amassed over 47,000 views on Twitter. 

Listen to “Fallaste Corazón” in full on YouTube below: