“I want to be a voice and ally to people that are hurting, who see that there are no resources for them. A lot of kids don’t have parents to go to or don’t have resources that are reliable.
Being Hispanic and Latino, the stigmas we face in our community are not taking mental health seriously and not taking [mental health] services seriously. I’ve spoken to so many friends who feel like they’re not being heard because their family thinks that they can control their emotions. If we enlighten our community and let them know that these stigmas are pronounced and that we are preventing ourselves from getting better resources because of it, then we can see that there’s a better way to go about handling mental setbacks so we can be better as a community.
The best advice that I can give to teens is to reach out to your friends and family. Let them know how serious the situation is and that you need help and better resources. Teens need to be around friends and family that want to listen, understand and help; that can advocate for them when they’re struggling. Once they feel like someone cares and listens, they see that those people are a resource for them to get better. It grows a stronger partnership between friends and families. It definitely has happened in mine, and hopefully it can happen in yours.
In San Antonio, we started a program to destigmatize mental health by creating the Mental Health Exposium, a talent show where we showcase resources around our community and the talent in our school. We express our emotions through our hobbies. We created this order to showcase that we’re all struggling together and that there are resources to reach out to. We’re not fighting alone, we want to fight together.”