By Cynthia Tavard, Class of 2023
Mental Health can be a very taboo subject to talk about within the Hispanic community. There are many reasons why Hispanics don’t seek or even understand they need help.
Accessibility is an obstacle many face. Not everyone is able to afford therapy. A 2019 study by the National Association of Hispanic Nurses found that Latinx have access to treatment at half the rate of non-Hispanic white people.
There also happens to be stigma which leads to those in the community to stay silent. It can also be hard to find help from mental health providers who understand the Hispanic experience.
The New Jersey Consortium for Immigrant Children is a nonprofit organization that advocates and works with immigrants. One resource they came up with was a podcast called “Migrants with Migraines” led by a group of young people who work with the organization and wanted to share their mental health experiences as immigrants.
The youth mental health podcast touches topics like the stigma and coping within an immigrant household. LGBTQ+, first generation, healthcare among many other struggles they face. Not only do they speak on these issues but they also provide resources within the episodes and in their social media.
I was able to speak with Alley Lopez and Diana Gonzalez-Argúeta who both have been able to share their Hispanic experiences surrounding mental health through the podcast. While Gonzalez-Argúeta is one of the main team members, Lopez manages their social media account and has appeared in some episodes.
Lopez feels lucky to have grown up with a family that acknowledges mental health. Her parents support her in going to therapy and constantly check up on her mental wellbeing.
“Unfortunately it is a rare kind of support system relationship that I have. I really wish other people had that comfort and that availability” said Lopez.
She also spoke about how it needs to begin in high schools, and how students would stay in the bodegas, doing sports, and after-school clubs just so they wouldn’t be home. Mental health advocacy needs to start there.
Gonzalez-Argúeta came from a family who wasn’t as supportive of mental health issues growing up; she struggled with depression and anxiety.
“No one in my family talked about mental health or how to take care of yourself,” said Gonzalez-Argúeta.
Her parents believed therapy was for “crazy people” which only made her not want to open up to therapists eventually she decided to take it seriously. By then she didn’t have insurance and couldn’t afford it out of pocket. Eventually, she found someone when she was in college but that person left her position shortly after; leaving Gonzalez-Argúeta still on the search for a new therapist.
“I guess my goal as a podcaster is to help people who went through what I did which is not having the money or insurance to pay for therapy,” states Gonzalez-Argúeta who went on about how important it is for them to provide resources for their listeners.
After she and the team started the podcast she realized what a need there was for topics like these to be discussed, as well as how important it is to keep talking about them. It may not help the big issues but starting these conversations will bring awareness and help with the stigmas.