In February of 2018, I lost one of my best friends to a combination of antidepressants and alcohol. He was one of those people that could light up a room with his smile. I know everyone says that about people they love but even strangers would say that about him and any friend who I introduced him to. After he passed away I questioned myself, what could I have done differently? What resources were available that he didn’t know about? I spent the following months mourning and continue to grieve the loss of someone who I thought would be the Godfather to my kids when I had them.
Through my grief and solitude, I began to think about how many more people would lose best friends, brothers, and dads to the same combination. I began googling and asking friends how did they manage their mental health? What resources did they know about? How did they find a therapist? Where do you even start? I mostly received shoulder shrugs, “I don’t knows” and a deep sense of shame for googling resources but never really doing anything about it. The story kept repeating itself, they just dealt with it. When things got really bad they would google a topic but the shame and stigma kept them from actually seeing a therapist. Then the ones that actually made it to an office were split between people gushing about their therapists and people who felt frustrated at not being able to find a therapist that was Latinx or at least culturally conscious. There was an even deeper level of frustration when I spoke to friends in the Latinx community that are marginalized such as LGTBQ, Undocumented, Deaf, Veterans, etc.
At this point, all I could think of was the optimism of my friend. He always had a realistic perspective that I appreciated. I began thinking about what could be done to alleviate the frustration of my friends and community that I kept hearing over and over. That’s when I came across TherapyforBlackgirls.com, and I was completely inspired by the safe space that was being built by Dr. Joy. To my surprise, I googled and looked around but found no resources specifically for the Latinx community. That was when the idea clicked. As I began building the site, I decided to have a therapist directory, people sharing stories or experiences, and resources for people who want to become a licensed mental health practitioner. I’m excited to finally launch the site and see where this project goes. My hope is that through this site fewer people have to lose their best friend.
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