Latinx Mental Health: Being Undocumented and Taking Care of Mental Health
"I dispel myths and fight stigma by openly talking about my own mental health journey." -Angy
How do you support Latinx mental health?
I am a Co-Director at the New York State Youth Leadership Council, an undocumented youth-led organization fighting for immigrant justice. My job is to move the organization's mission and vision forward while raising the funds necessary to do the work.
What are some of the biggest myths you’ve heard about Latinx mental health? How do you dispel these myths and fight stigma?
There are so many myths! Some of the big ones I hear a lot are that the Latinx community doesn't have any mental health concerns and that we do not need therapy or to ask for help/support. It is always funny to me when our community believes we do not need to talk about our problems or ask for support but for generations, people in our community have gathered in kitchens to decompress together.
I dispel myths and fight stigma by openly talking about my own mental health journey. Navigating a society that constantly reminds me I am not welcome here is hard and can impact my well-being. Some days are harder than others. I try not to shy away from talking about needing counseling and the trauma migration can cause. In my case, I also survived sexual assault. This, compiled with my immigration status, impacted the way I navigated the world and the resources I had access to. I use my documentary, No Le Digas A Nadie - Don't Tell Anyone, to talk about immigration, assault, trauma, and mental health.
What are some tips you give to young Latinx with mental health concerns?
The biggest thing that has worked for me is making sure I am doing things at my own pace and in my own time. I do not judge my process because healing is not linear.
What are some resources you suggest for the Latinx community?
Unfortunately, there aren't much culturally competent support services, especially for the undocumented community. But there are some! In New York City, there are low-cost services through the Health and Hospitals Corporation. Centers like Safe Horizon, Family Justice Center, Sanctuary for Families, and WomanKind provide legal and counseling support to immigrant people who have experienced violence. The Door and Mt Sinai also provide resources to young immigrant people, LGBTQ people, and teen parents. Getting involved in immigrant rights helped me find my voice and feel more in control of my life and my future. There are also many ways to fight back and make sure our rights are protected.