Things That Matter

There Is A Growing Database That Is Connecting Latinos With Culturally Competent Therapists

For many Latinos, mental health still carries a very real and very scary stigma. The statistics support this as there are an estimated 8.9 million Latino people in the U.S. that live with a diagnosable mental illness, but only 10 percent of Latinos with a mental health disorder seek mental health treatment. The disparity comes from several factors including lack of culturally competent therapists and high health care costs. Brandie Carlos knows firsthand about dealing with depression and the stigma Latinos sometimes face when seeking help for mental health issues. That was enough motivation for Carlos, a web designer, to create Therapy For Latinx, an online database that helps Latinos find mental health professionals in their own communities.

Therapy for Latinx is a website dedicated to helping Latinos find “culturally competent” therapists in their own communities.

Creator Brandie Carlos found herself lost in February 2017 when one of her best friends died by suicide. She was frustrated when she couldn’t find a therapist who spoke Spanish and understood her culturally.

“I tried seeking Latino therapy but nothing came up,” Carlos says. “It was when found out about a Black therapy database I thought to myself, ‘Why not a Latino version of this?'”

She put her website design skills to use and launched Therapy for Latinx this May. The website currently has over 65 Latino mental health practitioners in it’s directory and features a blog that highlights first-person stories of mental illness from a Latino perspective.

“I didn’t have a metal health or psychological background,” Carlos explains. “All I wanted was to focus on user friendliness when creating a website that would help people find these resources.”

Carlos argues that mental health needs to be talked about more, especially within Latino households.

According to the American Psychological Association, 50 percent of Latinos don’t return to a psychologist after the first session which may be due to the language and cultural barriers. Carlos says it also has to due with stigmas and taboos in the Latino household when seeking mental help.

“I personally grew up depressed and under a Catholic family where things like mental health and depression weren’t talked about,” Carlos says. “You are either called a ‘Loca’ or crazy when you express a need for self-care.”

About 1 percent of U.S. psychologist practitioners identify as Latino, which shows the lack of cultural competency one may find when seeking help. Additionally suicide rates among Latino girls (grades 9–12) are 50 percent higher than suicide rates among white girls of the same age group.

Therapy for Latinx is helping connect Latinos to mental health services they never knew existed.

Carlos hopes the website grows beyond just a database but a nationwide resource for minorities to find help and seek information on mental health. There are plans to start a mentorship program to help more people of color (POC) be involved in the industry to help their communities.

“Once I started working on making things more accessible, I realized this is about social justice as well,” Carlos said. “As Latinos we’re incredibly underserved and I want to see these new mentors serve POCs.”

According to Carlos, one community that is heavily underserved are undocumented immigrants. This community has faced psychological attacks because of their immigration status and the current immigration debate in the U.S.

“We’ve had many people ask for help concerning immigration and LGBTQ services,” Carlos says. “We are always trying to grow our voice and help these marginalized groups find resources.”

The website is just a start in addressing mental health and the beginning of a larger discussion when it comes to Latinos and their mental health.

CREDIT: Mental Health America

Therapy for Latinx is growing at a fast rate, Carlos says its Instagram has averaged around 1500 new users a month, and wants to spread its services beyond just a database. Carlos hopes to have health workshops throughout the country and has already began planning a mental health event in Los Angeles. While there is still a ways to go in having more Latino health professionals reach the number of Latinos in the U.S., Carlos sees the discussion of mental health growing into a bigger conversation.

“When you’ve grown up speaking Spanish, it’s part of your identity. When a therapist speaks your language it makes a huge difference,” Carlos says. “It means a lot of Latinos are going to thrive without these cultural barriers stopping them.”


READ: 20 Famous Latinos Who’ve Publicly Dealt With Mental Illness

Have you personally dealt with mental health issues?  Let us know by sharing your story in the comment section below!

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This Beautiful Model’s Experience With Vitiligo Is a Lesson To All Of Us

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This Beautiful Model’s Experience With Vitiligo Is a Lesson To All Of Us

Those who are familiar with the long-term skin condition called vitiligo know that it can deeply affect a person mentally. Characterized by the loss of pigment in skin, vitiligo can often cause psychological stress for those who experience stigma brought on by the condition.

One model, who is based out of Rio de JanMeiro, Brazil know’s the stress such a condition can cause because he has it.

Roger Monte is a 37-year-old model with vitiligo.

Speaking to mitú, about his experience with vitiligo, Monte says “I really feel super comfortable being who I am.  My spots differ from people and make me unique.” It’s a change from his first reactions to the skin condition that affects 0.5 percent and 1 percent of people worldwide.

Soon after noticing the first white patch that had appeared on his skin at the age of 23, Roger has said that his world completely changed. “Seeing my skin losing pigmentation was terrifying for me. I thought my life, which had barely even started yet, was over at that moment. When I found out that vitiligo can develop because of emotional stress, I blamed myself for it every single day,” he explained according to Daily Mail. “I had a really dark few years and I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. I didn’t accept my condition at all and started using makeup to camouflage my spots.”

When he soon came to learn that vitiligo can be exacerbated by stress, Roger found himself even more distressed.

“I had a really dark few years and I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. I didn’t accept my condition at all and started using makeup to camouflage my spots,” he explained. “I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror and I wore makeup to cover my vitiligo for ten long years. It felt like I was being held, hostage. I didn’t like going to the beach or the gym or anything that made me sweat. I was terrified that someone would notice my spots even though looking back, it must’ve been quite obvious to anyone who looked closely.”

It took Roger a decade to ultimately come to terms with his condition and, eventually, he learned to stop hiding behind makeup.

Eventually, Roger found himself embraced by friends he met at a gym and discovered the full support of those around him.

“In 2016, I met some incredible new friends who started to make me see my spots as something unique and beautiful. One day, I just woke up, took out my cell phone, took a picture and posted it to Instagram,” he explained. “I had never had a photo of me get so many comments and likes. People I hadn’t seen in years were praising my skin and saying that they had never noticed that I had the disease. I even had a boy who had also been hiding his own vitiligo with makeup contact me to say that my posts had inspired him to stop hiding his skin. Another girl even got in touch to say that my story had helped cure her depression.”

The power of Roger’s influence on social media is clear in the 34.5k followers he has amassed in the past few years. When it comes to giving advice to little boys and girls with vitiligo Monte told us at mitú he hopes they learn to “Take on your colors. The world is already full of more of the same and needs colorful and empowered people like us!  Love yourself!

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Bad Bunny Talks Depression And Says Sometimes He Still Feels Like The Boy Who Bagged Groceries Back Home

Entertainment

Bad Bunny Talks Depression And Says Sometimes He Still Feels Like The Boy Who Bagged Groceries Back Home

Bad Bunny is on top of the world. Or, at least, that’s how it appears to all of us on the outside enjoying his record-breaking year. Not only did he release three albums in 2020 but he also landed his debut acting role in the Netflix series Narcos: Mexico and from his Instagram stories, he seems to be in a happy, contentful relationship.

But like so many others, Bad Bunny has his experience with mental health issues, of which he recently opened up about in an interview with El País.

Bad Bunny recently spoke up about his struggle with depression.

Despite his immense success that’s catapulted him to, arguably, the world’s biggest superstar, Bad Bunny admits that sometimes he still feels like the young man who bagged groceries in a supermarket.

The reggaetonero revealed in an interview with El País that right as his career really started to take off, he was not happy. “You asked me before how I hadn’t gone crazy. Well, I think that was the moment that was going to determine if I was going to go crazy or not. From 2016 to 2018 I disappeared, I was stuck in a capsule, without knowing anything. The world saw me, but I was missing,” he said.

Although no doctor diagnosed him, he is sure of what was happening. it only did he feel lost and empty but he had stopped doing many of the things that brought him joy, like watching movies and boxing. Without realizing it, he had also fallen out of contact with much of his family, with whom he was typically very close.

“And that’s when I said: who am I? What’s going on?” he told El País. When he returned home to Puerto Rico from spending time in Argentina, he was able to get back into the right state of mind and remember who he was.

Despite his success, Bad Bunny still worries he’s in financial trouble.

Although today, he is the number one Latin artist on Spotify and the awards for his music keep coming, there are times when Bad Bunny still thinks that he has financial problems.

“Not long ago, I was 100% clear in my head what I have achieved, maybe a year or six months ago; but until then, many times I forgot, I felt that I was the kid from the supermarket. He would happen something and say: “Hell!” And then: “Ah, no, wait, if I have here,” he said, touching his pocket.

Much like Bad Bunny, J Balvin has also been candid about his own mental health struggles.

Bad Bunny is just the most recent to speak to the emotional havoc he experiences despite being a global superstar. And, thankfully, like many other celebrities, he’s been able to find refuge in a reality that allows him to keep his feet on the ground so that he too can enjoy the achievements of his career.

Much like El Conejo, J Balvin is known for the brightness of his style and mentality. But he’s long addressed the importance of caring for one’s mental health. During his Arcoíris Tour, he encouraged people to not be ashamed of seeking professional help, and let the audience know they are not alone.   

“Las enfermedades de salud mental son una realidad. Yo he sufrido de depresión y he sufrido de ansiedad, así que tengo que aceptarlo. Y eso me hace más humano, me hace entender que la vida tiene pruebas,” Balvin said. “Pero si alguien está pasando una situación difícil, no están solos, siempre llega la luz. Tarde o temprano llega la luz.”  

“Mental health illnesses are a reality. I have suffered from depression and anxiety, so I have to accept it. And this makes me more human. It makes me understand that life has challenges,” Balvin said in Spanish. “But if someone is going through a difficult time, they are not alone, light always comes. Sooner or later, the light comes.”  

We need more men like Benito and J Balvin to speak up about their mental health struggles, to help destroy the stigma that exists within our community.

And in the same interview, he also spoke about why he works to elevate the Spanish language.

As for the possibility of singing in English, the answer remains the same: a resounding no.

“You have to break this view that the gringos are Gods…No, papi,” he told El País. And, although he’s collaborated with artists like Drake, Cardi B and Jennifer Lopez, he has always sang in Spanish and with his famous accent.

“I am very proud to reach the level where we are speaking in Spanish, and not only in Spanish, but in the Spanish that we speak in Puerto Rico. Without changing the accent,” he said.

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