Latina individuals are not all the same – we have diverse experiences. It’s not just about our ethnicity but also about a bunch of other things like race, religion, etc. Each of these factors can affect our mental health in different ways. It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation, and we need to be mindful of that!
In this blog, I share my personal struggles and reflections on mental health as a Latina. I explore the intersectionality of mental health struggles within the community, emphasizing the importance of breaking stigmas and fostering an understanding environment. Let’s celebrate the resilience and strength of Latinas while advocating for change and promoting mental health awareness together.
Mental health and personal resilience
Mental health was never discussed in my upbringing. My anxiety, however, manifests physically, as I’ve struggled with tension in my body from a very young age. When I started university, I had difficulty focusing, and I knew caffeine was not going to help my anxiety. Moreover, I hated how it made my body feel. Throughout my journey, I learned that taking breaks is better than giving up, and seeking help after trying multiple solutions is a good way to keep going.
Having endured childhood trauma in silence, I didn’t anticipate its lasting impact into adulthood. Along the way, I learned the importance of positive relationships with people my age and maintaining optimism in challenging times.
On my maternal side, the men raised us with tenderness and nurturance, while the women instilled in us the values of assertiveness and resilience. As I’ve grown older, this upbringing has motivated me to keep moving forward. I’ve learned to strike the right balance – both my mom and my grandpa have told me to work hard and also extend a helping hand to others who are starting out or need extra support. Being that we are mostly girls, my eldest cousins have reminded me to work for my independence, while my younger ones have emphasized the importance of valuing friendship, making time for hobbies, and finding humor in my mistakes.
Resilience and community strength
I started therapy in my sophomore year, and it has been a great tool to help me stay balanced and self-aware as I navigate my journey and pursue my goals. At first, I was afraid it might be misinterpreted or impact me negatively, but it has proven to be more beneficial than my pride ever was.
By raising my voice, I hope to break stigmas and create a more supportive environment. And I invite you to join me. To get started, I’ve compiled some helpful resources and organizations offering tailored mental health support for Latinas. Check them out:
- Behavioral Health Among College Students Information and Resource Kit
- Mental health Toolkit for Latin@s
- Therapist Aid interactive tools and worksheets
Together, we can make a positive impact and ensure that mental well-being is a priority for everyone in our community.