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Mental Health In The Latinx Community: When And Where To Seek Treatment

Cover image for podcast episode

PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER MAUE

Above: Therapy session with therapist and patient at a Chula Vista practice. April 6, 2021.

Many say that in the Latinx culture, there are taboos that keep issues like depression, substance abuse and domestic violence in the shadows. Now, members of the Latinx community say that silence hurts the community and they are eager to start a conversation about treatment and prevention of mental health issues.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Members of the Latin X community advocate for mental health awareness, people

Speaker 2: 00:06 Need mental health, just like they need medical health and spiritual health.

Speaker 1: 00:11 I'm Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS midday edition today. Midday edition presents a special community conversation about Latin X mental health, which challenges some traditional beliefs.

Speaker 2: 00:32 I saw that that didn't work. My cheese mode didn't work. It was hurting our family and

Speaker 1: 00:38 Urges, greater access to resources.

Speaker 3: 00:41 And we should take kind of like a pledge of like sharing those resources for those people that need it. Not just okay, well, it's out there. People know about it. Uh, KPBS

Speaker 1: 00:50 Community conversation on Latin X, mental health. That's a head-on midday edition. The pandemic has been stressful for everyone. And many people find it's taken a toll on their mental health, but mental health is a topic that's often avoided. Many say that in the Latin X culture, there are taboos that keep issues like depression, substance abuse, and domestic violence in the shadows. Now members of the Latin X community say that silence hurts the community and they are eager to start a conversation about treatment and prevention of mental health issues. KPBS north county reported Tonya thorn moderated, a KPBS panel last week on the challenges of addressing mental health issues in Latin X culture. Her guests are Lee, Seth ma a marriage and family therapist, and director of programs at operation hope, north county, a shelter for families and women experiencing homelessness. She also trains people on the peer model and early intervention program for young people at risk for severe mental illness. Louis Canseco a domestic violence education and prevention specialist at the community resource center in Encinitas. He works with young boys and men about how to embrace a healthy masculinity and Roy [inaudible] who has navigated the mental health system personally, and now offers short-term emotional, spiritual help to corporate employees. He has a master's degree in applied ministries, which is pastoral care and counseling. We also asked community members to contribute their thoughts and Tonya starts the discussion with one of those comments.

Speaker 3: 02:37 So let's just, let's kick it off with one of the questions we received. And this one goes to you, Louise, you work a lot with men. What are some of the barriers you need to Latino men that you have encountered?

Speaker 2: 02:50 So, man, that's an next community. You know, we, we have this, um, this cultural ideology where men cannot seek out help where they, you know, men are told to suppress their emotions, uh, stay quiet about, you know, problems. If you're dealing with something, we'll deal with it yourself, right? That kinda, that kind of thing. Men don't cry. Men don't feel right, because if you do cry, you know, other people are gonna make fun of you. So these ideas exist. And that is what causes another man to suppressive feelings and not, not show vulnerability, you know? And so one thing that I focus on when I'm teaching about masculinity, healthy masculinity is about it's about vulnerability, right? Embracing vulnerability, having the courage to ask for help when whatever thing is bothering us, maybe it might be, you know, when I'm talking with John boys, you know, it might be asking for help with their homework, you know, but that practice of just asking for help and believability, you know, later on in life, when we do encounter bigger problems, such as mental health thing, we will have that courage to say, Hey, you know, there's something wrong with me.

Speaker 2: 03:58 I need help.

Speaker 3: 03:59 Thank you so much, Louise. Um, now for a second question, Roy, this one's for you, you got into your line of work after having personal struggles with mental illness, you encounter some of those barriers that Luis mentioned.

Speaker 2: 04:11 Yeah. You know, in my twenties, I decided to see a therapist at the encouragement of, uh, uh, my mentor, who was a psychiatrist at our local church at the time I had a lot of pressure on my chest and uh, felt like I couldn't breathe. So my family doctor, I went to go see my family doctor and he rolled out cardiac issues and then said, he said it was something called anxiety. And I said, what? What's that? And so when he asked me how long I had felt this way, I said, well, for as long as I can remember. And then he asked me if I was sad or depressed and that triggered some feelings and me, uh, both, uh, of those experiences paved the way for me to see a therapist and I've been receiving therapy off and on since that time, um, I, I grew up in a machismo home. So I went the other route. I didn't want to, that. I felt that that didn't work. Uh, machismo didn't work. It was hurting our family. And so I thought, well, I gotta find a different route. Uh, it's not working for me to just hold all of this inside.

Speaker 3: 05:13 And I think, um, Roy you're, you're really are an example of breaking that cycle because I feel like if you hadn't been the one that sought out help, this could have, you know, maybe passed on to your children and, you know, the cycle just keeps going and going. So I think, you know, you're a living example of it. Perfect lens. This next question is for you. Um, this is something present in many different cultures. There can be lots of pressure to conform, to very traditional life goals, such as getting and staying married, having children, following cultural and religious traditions. How can the pressure from this have a negative impact on mental health? That's a good question. I actually, I see a lot young career professionals, uh, females and males, and then a lot of, um, you know, different backgrounds and cultures, Asian Americans, um, Hispanic, you name it Caucasian.

Speaker 3: 06:10 And there is this pressure. I wouldn't say, especially with like Asian and Hispanic families, you'll get that pressure of like, come on, you're having a degree. You went to school. If that's, you know, within the family goals that once you have that career or that degree, like your next step is like, okay, hurry up and get married and have kids. And a lot of the times, I think just historically, you know, previous generations, our number one job was to get married and have children. And those ideas have evolved and change. And some individuals sometimes are not really interested in having kids or having a family. It really affects self-esteem. It helps sometimes just the bonding with the family. They feel like they don't understand each other. You know, my mom doesn't understand me. She's wants this for me. Um, and sometimes a lot of young people feel that their family doesn't quite get them.

Speaker 3: 07:02 So even if they want to start dating someone or they're dating someone, it, depending on them for awhile, they don't want to share those milestones that they do with that relationship, because then they get that pressure of like, okay, well, you guys been dating for two years. Where's the ring, or are you guys been married for a few years? So I was like, where's the baby? And it just really affects just the individual on it, on their own career and their own goals and the relationships that is, um, motivation to move forward with their own individual goals. Because then we're second guessing what we want. Right. So I'm the individual that, you know, I'm dating. I don't have any children in a pet and the pressure from family members, you know, it really affects you mentally because you're like, okay, what am I doing wrong?

Speaker 3: 07:42 Am I doing this wrong? Am I going against the grain? And then there's, there's where we see that people start like keeping things to themselves. Then we bottle things up and then next thing you know, we're having an anxiety attack and her chest is hurting. I feel like for women, we have, you know, a little bit more pressure because, you know, um, children, I'm curious, um, loosen Roy, if you, you know, what you guys have, if you guys have anything to say about this, like from a male perspective, you know, like pressures for you guys, you know, and how it impacts your mental health or mental health in general, with people that you have encountered.

Speaker 2: 08:14 I definitely think there's a pressure for males to be the providers. There's a pressure to hold the family up. Uh, Mexican culture tends to, or Latin X culture tends to be a very well, it depends, right? I mean, it's very, it could be very patriarchal. Um, and so you, you know, you, you assume that like, uh, like for example, if, uh, APA is not in the home, then you start getting your uncles and your theos telling you was Miho. Uh [inaudible] uh, Theo, I'm only 12 years old, you know? Um, so there's definitely this, this, uh, like Luis was saying, there is a cultural ideology to like, well, you're the man, suck it up, go out and work, go out and provide. And like, that's, that's the narrative. I, I think I gently ask the, the men that I provide support with and say, how is that working?

Speaker 2: 09:08 Is that working? Tell me how that's working. And then they'll say, well, you know, it's, it's, it's, uh, it's not. So I wonder if there's an alternative way to be a provider, but to also be honest and to say it's hard to be a husband, it's hard to be a partner. It's hard to be a father. It's hard to be a provider. It's hard not having the education to make the kind of money that I want to make, and that it's all multifaceted. And when we show up, when we let our life speak, when we bring these things to the foray, then it's a lot easier to say, okay, well, what are my options? And what are my paths and what do I really long for? Uh, so there's definitely those pressures that I think we have to work through and, and, and think through.

Speaker 3: 09:50 Yeah. And I mean, you know, we all live in California. It's not getting any cheaper to live here. So definitely we're all feeling all sorts of pressures. So, you know, mental health, I mean, it's very, it's something we really need to be talking about. Um, and so this next question is for all of you, I'd like to ask for all of you to weigh in, I'll start with you, Liz. Um, what types of mental health challenges have you seen most in your day day-to-day work in the community? I think since the pandemic, um, there definitely has been a shift. I think just the whole quarantine process, I think just at the beginning and really changed a lot of people's perspectives and their priorities in life. It's like, okay, well, this is like the family unit. We have to do this. And I think a lot of people were working harder than it ever worked.

Speaker 3: 10:34 Um, and people were in really circumstances that they had never been before, including ourselves, right. Even if the professionals, we have never been through a pandemic, and now we're being this holding ground for all these people that are having crisis, but, you know, nobody's was telling us how to handle this either. So I think first of all, it was dependent and just having those relationships, I think the number one thing that we saw a lot was a lot of domestic violence. People had the outlet of going to work, or they had that outlet of sending the kids to school and the husband or the wife, their work. So they have those outlets of being home alone and in the quarantine process. I think one thing that I know it was the hardest is that kids were being abused more like if you called child protective services line, they were picking up within five minutes.

Speaker 3: 11:23 That never happens. They're usually on hold for like four hours. And when they're picking up the phone so fast, you realize no one's calling and because nobody's seeing it. And what I think is like, those kids on those couples are fighting and nobody's supporting them because they're, they're isolated, nobody's there to assist them. Nobody's there to help them. There's no teacher watching out, there's no therapist kind of evaluating and you know, the zoom camera could only do so much. Right. Um, so there was a lot of that. There was a lot of relationships that maybe didn't realize that there were no broken relationship. And there was a fairs that were going on. You know, people are working on working later, coming back late. I have a meeting and all those were stripped from the ordinary day. And then people, you know, people are like, why aren't you coming?

Speaker 3: 12:10 And there was a lot of infidelity issues that, you know, I was getting calls about parenting. It has been very stressful for parents. I want to say multitasking, especially working parents. I, my cat off to you working parents that are staying home with the kiddos. I'm a mom, myself and I am a director of a program called operation hope. And one thing that I mentioned that I observed at the shelter is, you know, the parents are actually trying to teach the kids and you know, the kids need some structure and they're already in a stressful environment, right? Like they're homeless, they're at a shelter. And yet they have to work on all these things that they have to figure out and get, we have to teach on top of it. And another thing has been the financial stress, the insecurity of like, where's the income gonna come?

Speaker 3: 12:58 What are we going to do? When are they going to cut off then employments the CMOs check. Is that going to be enough? I think the list can go on and on and on. But I think one of the things that was prevalent was just the dynamic within the family, in a household with domestic violence. I think I saw a lot of that, that, you know, people probably because they were together all day, every day, they're probably getting in more and people are reaching out a little bit more, which I'm glad that I was getting those calls, but it's also unfortunate that it was happening as much as it is happening. Luis, I know you work on domestic violence prevention and Liz mentioned an increase in domestic violence. Did you have more people reaching out to you during the pandemic or to your organization?

Speaker 2: 13:41 Thank you, Tanya. Yes. There has been an increase in domestic violence. Uh, and it's very unfortunate. Like Liz said, you know, a lot of people made those calls to domestic minors compliance, but a lot of people don't because they live with that person who's causing harm. So it is very hard for those folks to make.com. Right. Uh, so there's a lot of people suffering right now and, and doors. Right. Um, trying to make a cop, but not being able to, because the person causing harm is right there. And like Lisa said, um, I let our young people, yeah. A lot of domestic violence calls were made in a lot of those calls where younger people, and I'm not a therapist. I don't work with people one-to-one, but I do work with a lot of students. And also a lot of young people, you know, are experiencing a lot of pain being in home all day and, you know, uh, soon calls and soon class and all of that don't get me wrong. Some kids, I, I, having a good time waking up in their pajamas and going to school is, is it can be really cool for some, but some other kids are experiencing a lot of pain. You know, I have LGBTQ who they're not supported by their parents. So being home all day and having not with them all day, it's really painful.

Speaker 3: 15:01 It's definitely a challenge that we're all overcoming together. And I feel like we're all facing it and, you know, coming from very different scenarios. Um, Roy, is there anything you would like to add in terms of this common mental health challenge or a common mental health challenge that you've seen lately?

Speaker 2: 15:18 Yes. I think Lisa really captured what our chaplains and I have been discussing lately. We've been thinking about what this new normal is going to look like and what challenges people have been facing. So we're, we're kind of calling this up. We know that the pandemic is an over, but we're leaning more towards what we're referring to as a post pandemic season and what are the challenges that people were facing and are continuing to continuing to face. And so we're going to be focusing on, on a call back to, uh, deepening relationships, uh, with yourself, with your spouse, with your kids, with your partner in the workplace, because we saw such an uptick in panic attacks, anxieties, uh, people were having panic attacks at work. People were overtaxed, uh, stress wise. So you had the difficulty of managing your home life, which was an uproar.

Speaker 2: 16:17 Uh, we have teenagers and we think that was difficult. But if you had grade level kids school and you don't have the, you have to go to work or, or you don't have the technology or the bandwidth to figure that out, that is really going to set back a lot of people in the Latin X community. And so those are things that I'm trying to be very mindful of in the workplace and figure out how we can come alongside them, resource them, encourage equip, help them grieve the losses that they had during this time, help them name what they're actually experiencing. I had employees whose heart rates or elevated they were sweaty at work because they had to cope with challenges at home, and then the increase of work in the workplace. And then all of the new mask guidelines, testing, COVID testing people, getting sick, and then not being able to go to work.

Speaker 2: 17:17 And so people were getting extra work and having to, I mean, the biggest word was adapting right. And being resilient, but you're still having to deal with all of these emotions and what do you do with them? And so what we're going to do is shift our focus to what post pandemic care is going to look like. And we saw an increase of marital strain, divorce, infidelity, financial pressure, and then a broken a brokenness in relationships. All of your social networks came to a halt to some extent, and now you're having to re-engage in your friendships. And so we think that the pressure cooker of the pandemic revealed the good stuff in us, how we're resilient, how we can adapt, how we can overcome, but it also exposed us a little bit. It exposed where some of the cracks were. And I think again, being vulnerable and honest about that is the best place for healing and hope.

Speaker 1: 18:30 This is KPBS mid-day edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh seeking mental health treatment is not only a question of overcoming cultural taboos and the Latin X community. It's also about access to treatment. KPBS reporter, Tonya thorn continues the discussion on Latin X mental health.

Speaker 3: 18:49 Can we get an emailed question from immigration attorney Elizabeth Lopez? She wrote many cultures, don't see depression or post-traumatic stress disorder as a psychological condition, but rather just that person is being lazy. Or we not only does that not ask for help, but they don't even consider it something that should be asked for help to cure. Um, Liz, I want to know, like at what point do you think we should be seeking help and are there certain signs we should be looking out for? That's an excellent question. Um, the post-traumatic stress is, you know, witnessing a life threatening event that somebody's life was at risk and there's this kind of like a shock, right? And sometimes you can have reoccurring dreams, memories, flashbacks, depression, some anxiety that, you know, if it's remembering the place or the area, and a lot of the times is reoccurring for about six months after the events.

Speaker 3: 19:42 Right. Um, very vivid. A lot of the times people think I can't shake it off. Um, I'm just thinking a lot about, because I still kind of dealing with it lot of the times that really handicaps people. And I think that with the really handicapping component of it is that because they think that they're dealing with it by ignoring it, but it's not a big deal. And I think with our Latin X community, I want to mention something like the adults, the males in our families, um, like Roy was saying, you know, like both of them had get to work or the men, the family that was happening a lot right now during the pandemic, right? A lot of people lost their jobs. A lot of people got their hours cut. A lot of people were living in a tech, you know, paycheck by paycheck, by paycheck, paycheck.

Speaker 3: 20:27 And I can guarantee you that those parents, those much hill guys that were kind of leading the home and feeding the family, they're tired, they're stressed out of their mind. They're probably having some post-traumatic stress disorder or just during the pandemic and losing their job and fearing that they're going to lose their home and they're not going to get a Ford. And how do they address it at first of all, it's recognizing to the individual, one thing is seeking help. But before you seek help, the individual has to recognize like I'm tired or something's wrong, pushing it down and ignoring it. I'm telling you right now, it's going to make it worse down the line. Maybe you are a very strong male, very strong female, very strong individual. Yes. Latinos, Latin X people [inaudible] and we'll push through. I get it that it's only going to last so long.

Speaker 3: 21:15 It's going to catch up. So when you feel that you're pressing it down versus acknowledging it for yourself, and then maybe talking to a medical professional and addressing some of those traumas and Latinos tend to go to the doctor until it's like, they're really sick. You know, they end up maybe even going to the emergency room. They don't, they don't think, oh, something's hurting. Maybe I should go. Like they wait until the last minute, but it was almost dead. Cause you know, we, we don't want, we don't have the time we got to work. We don't have time to go to the doctor or, you know, take time off. Like I get it. I see it in my family. I see it in all in our culture. And it's, you know, and that kind of leads me to the next question. Like, what is the difference between, uh, like a doctor's visit and getting a referral for a therapist?

Speaker 3: 21:57 Like, you know, a lot of our, maybe something is hurting, maybe something is wrong and they go to the doctors when, you know, maybe they should be looking for a therapist or, you know, how, how does one get that referral? I don't know. Um, who'd like to jump on and answer this question. I think like Roy mentioned earlier, you know, he was having some chest pain, right. And typically with the land next humidity, that's how we're going to get them in because they wait, they bottled it so much that now we're having physical reactions. They were getting chest pain. We're getting headaches or getting vertical. Like our blood is high because we were like already at the cap. So now we're like, well, something's wrong physically. I'm going to go to the doctor. Once it gets ruled out, the doctor's going to say, you know, you're stressed out, you're depressed.

Speaker 3: 22:39 You're anxious. You need to go see a therapist when other, some other cultures like Caucasian Americans. They're like, you know what? You're a little depressed. Maybe we need to go see the anxiousness. Let's talk to the therapist within our community. I think that we wait and that's a problem. I think this is, this is a call for action. Let's not wait until our chest is hurting. Okay. We know that something's off. Let's go talk to someone in the referral process. If we have someone that we know, right. We might not know everything about ability. If we know that they're going through a change, even just the pen, then maybe we know that, you know, uh, directors or managers or just us in general, we have been working harder than we have ever done before. So our stress level was higher. Are we deep decompressing? Are we releasing some of that stress?

Speaker 3: 23:26 If we know we're not, and we're just kind of pushing it down, then it's healthy for us to talk to someone about it and how can we cope with it? You can go to your pastor. If you feel comfortable, you can go to a mentor. You can call, uh, you know, some of the hotlines to just talk to someone and just get some guidelines. Because I think sometimes within our community, we don't know what it is. We just know that something's off. You know, we know when something's wrong with us, right? So if you know that something's off, let's reach out to help. And let's not go to the emergency room when we're 20 something years old and think that we're having a heart attack. And you know, I think, you know, the hotlines, I feel like people are, you know, our community. And I think the community in general is a little hesitant about calling the hotlines.

Speaker 3: 24:10 I mean, it's a one 800 number, you know, how are they going to help? But I feel like they're, you know, they're very helpful and you don't know, you know, what resources are going to offer you. So, I mean, through my own reporting, I found so many websites on hotline. So I mean, I definitely encourage our community, use them and take advantage of them. They're there for a reason. And don't hesitate, you know, who knows this could make you feel better. I mean, I encourage anyone that's, if something is off call, like it's free one 800 number, you find it it's at the Palm of your hands. We all have our cell phones. So I definitely encourage our community to use the hotlines. And at the end of this, we will be providing some resources that people can take, um, take with them and share, you know, share with your grandma, with your Diaz, with your Thiel's, with, you know, your neighbors. Um, so they're there for a reason. Um, Luis, I want to ask you this next question. This came in from Brenda [inaudible], who is a program coordinator for the first five steps home visiting program. And she's an alcohol resident. She writes that we know a lot of Latin X person seeking mental health support, do not have health insurance. That's a big thing, health insurance, um, are there any affordable or alternatives

Speaker 2: 25:21 There's resources in the greed for, for people? And I think that's really important for us to bring to the community too, you know, especially as professionals who do this work to really get informed of the resources that exist and bring them to the communities because I've been to so many communities, Spanish speaking communities, and I have to find these resources and people look at me like, is this a new resource? You don't know, it's not a new resource. You know, it's just having reached this community, but it's not new. And then before I even was shocked to find out that they're free, you know, so it is our responsibility to the responsibility of us, people who work, we'll do this work to bring those, uh, these resources to the community. And I do know that, um, for people under the age of 18, uh, people can get free mental health services, healthcare under the affordable care act. Uh, so definitely look at it, look into that. Yes.

Speaker 3: 26:14 Roy, how about you? What do you know? I mean, you know, because you're a service, um, I'm not a hundred percent sure if you know how affordable it is because I know you're a chaplain, so I know the spiritual, like how about you? What, what do you have, um, what do you know about affordable alternatives?

Speaker 2: 26:28 Yeah, so that was a couple of resources that I want to talk about as a corporate chaplain. So number one, um, if, if you have your most workplaces, the benefits package is going to include, uh, uh, uh, therapeutic care. And so when I talked to, when I finished up my short-term, uh, counseling with employees, if I deemed that they need continuous longterm care, then what we do is we, um, we encourage them to reach out to their EAP program, their, their insurance company to say, uh, I I'm looking for therapy. And most insurance companies are going to say, yeah, absolutely. Here's a list of people that you can call in your area. Uh, what I've also done is I have a list that I've compiled of local therapists, so that as they're talking to me, here's a great opportunity to, to be a bridge from short-term to more longterm care.

Speaker 2: 27:27 So a lot of companies do offer this through the benefits and that's a very easy, low hanging resource that employees could take advantage of. Um, and so, and then there's local churches like north coast, Calvary chapel, and north coast church in the midst of they have free, uh, counseling to community members. And so they could call north coast, Calvary chapel, north coast church, and say, I'm looking for counseling. Can I meet with somebody? Um, and some, some of the sessions are free. Some of them are very, very affordable. And so I'm really grateful to be a part of those networks so that people have options where they could visit and people are taking advantage of them periodically. So that's really exciting.

Speaker 3: 28:16 I think, you know, getting from familiar familiarized with our health insurance, a lot of our Latinos are hardworking. They have health insurance. And I mean, I know I don't personally, I, you know, I can go at times without using my health insurance and I'm like, I, I pay for dental. I pay for health insurance. Like we need to, we need to know what we're paying for and use it. We need to use our regular doctor visits. And I think a lot of our Latino community tends to not know what they're paying for know what benefits they have and what it ultimately covers. So that's another thing

Speaker 2: 28:47 On that note. I wanted to say that like, as a pastor, as a, as a clergy person, we definitely believe that people need mental health. Just like they need medical health and spiritual health. There is, we don't have a bifurcation of what life looks like. We believe in our faith tradition that we are an integrated person. And so if we're feeling something on our chest, if we're having physical symptoms, some of that could be mental and emotional. And we believe from our faith perspective, that it's very crucial to be seeing people like Luis and Lisa, that it's a whole package type of a thing where if I'm not able to address something as a clergy, and by the way, I think clergy need to also take responsibility and accept that we don't have all the answers and that we need people like Lisette, P people like Lewis in the community to say, you need to go and see them, because this is out of my scope.

Speaker 2: 29:49 I can teach you to pray. I can teach you to listen. I can teach you to meditate. I can point you to our faith tradition, but I'm not a therapist. And so I think having more bridging like that is going to be very crucial for people to understand. I mean, Latinos in general are very religious. And what I try to tell people is that our religion actually says that counseling is good. One of the terms that is referred to God is God is counselor. There are so many scriptures that are saying that there's guidance. There's hope, there's peace, it's very counseling oriented. So I think our faith tradition has a big value for the counseling tradition. And so we want to keep encouraging people to do that.

Speaker 3: 30:37 I'd like to, I think we all can agree that we've seen an increase in domestic violence, sadly with the pandemic and Louis. I want to direct this question to you. This comes from a sunny seasonal resident who wrote in, brought this into our website and said that in seeking domestic violence counseling, she's had a hard time getting calls back, or it costs money. Are there any specific resources that you would recommend to this person that's seeking domestic violence counseling?

Speaker 2: 31:02 Yes. We do have a list of our resources around the county. Uh, so I would, I would recommend to please call them the, uh, the national hotline and they can connect you with where's your closest community center. So you can get those services. Now, something that I want to add that we were talking about mental health and services, is that, uh, also just be aware that here in San Diego, this is very new, but, uh, we have, uh, San Diego has provided a mobile crisis response team. Uh, so now for folks who are experiencing something, uh, you know, a, a crisis, a mental health illness, uh, there's a number that is non-line enforcement. So I think that's really important for the community to be aware of.

Speaker 3: 31:44 And I think one thing that I want to make sure that we touched base on before we end this is that we do have a lot of undocumented immigrants and say, oh, county. So we talked about insurance panels. We talked about, you know, clinics and programs. One thing that I want everyone to know, whether you're documented or not, you still have access to healthcare. We cannot deny to services. I mean, myself as a clinician, we cannot deny services for that. Even if you're documented or not, and you need mental health services, there's a lot of programs that are free and they don't require you to have documentation. They will ask for your birthday, your name. You don't have to give them your book, your social security number. Even you can call hotline. I think this is why I like hotlines because within our community, we don't like telling people our business, but at hotline, if someone on the phone, you can't see, they can't see you.

Speaker 3: 32:35 You tell them what's going on and they will guide to where you need to go. They'll give you a list of people that you can call. If you need to get out of there fast, they will get you out of there fast, and it's free. They don't know you it's safe. And I think that for our community thing, it's important that people know that pick up the phone. Now you can text, you can even text even there's different codes that it looks like it's just like a coupon that they're sending you and then send you an address. So please use those hotlines because they don't know you. And I know sometimes a lot of our community, or don't want to talk about it. And they'll give you those free resources, especially if you are, don't have insurance or you're undocumented, but you have access to it. [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 33:30 This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm Maureen, cavanaug our special on Latin X mental health concludes by urging people affected by trauma to reach out for help. Reporter Tanya thorn reads a question from a listener.

Speaker 3: 33:45 Um, this next question is, you know, it's, it's a hard topic you guys, and I want to give our audience a warning. Um, this next question can be triggering or disturbing to some of our viewers tuning in. So I'm a San Diego resident wrote into our website and said, my daughter was molested when she was nine years old. And I want her to start talking about it. We have Kaiser insurance, but it doesn't cover family therapy or some kind of therapy that could help my daughter. Some of you guys are parents. Like, do you guys have any suggestions for this parent? I think I, I mean, we probably all seen this time and time again. Um, and I think it's hard for the parents. Obviously. It's very hard for the child. I think sometimes that parent has a really tough time because we feel like we're the protectors.

Speaker 3: 34:28 And then when something like this happens, it affects our mental health. Right? As the parent, we see that a lot at the shelters. So we kind of have to treat the child and then we make sure that we meet the needs of the mom. One thing with trauma, we have to be careful when we're treating it. I think clinicians out there are going to agree with me. If you try to treat trauma too early, it's not going to work because they're going to shut down. It might make things worse. So we have to wait actually for the client for it to be ready. I see. I specialize in trauma work, uh, sexual trauma actually, and severe mental health. And when I cannot tell you how many times I'll see IMC, a young adult or a 20, 30 year old saying, you know, I got molested on as her young CWS as involved.

Speaker 3: 35:14 I went to therapy. I didn't want to talk about it. I just gave him a little bits and pieces. It didn't work. It just prolonged kind of like the treatments. And now that they're adults or, you know, young adolescents now they're ready to talk about it. So I think with trauma, we really have to be careful on how we navigate that because sometimes we can be doing more harm than helping. So we want to make sure that we, it as soon as possible, but we do want to respect. Sometimes people don't want to talk about it because they're afraid. So that's one thing. The other thing is that we can address it too early if the trauma is just like right there. So we have to make sure that first of all, the client's ready and that you're having the appropriate provider, um, kind of spreading that.

Speaker 3: 35:56 You said the Kaiser, because I hear a lot of referrals from Kaiser and the private practice because they don't depend light therapy and therapy for trauma. And right now there's three, four months, wait time to get any type of appointment. So I would say if trauma occurs, you know, try to do some access in crisis line kind of work to make sure that, that the youth is not suicidal, that they're not thinking of self-harming because that could be really fun since a lot of people that have been raped, do a lot of self harm and suicide. So you want to make sure that you're addressing that and then making sure that you try to get an appointment, you know, next door. So right now, since it's still far out to make sure that we're addressing not only just the child, but the parents too. I think a lot of people forget that the caregiver goes through a lot of that trauma too. Um, I want to turn it to one of our community members to ask this next question. So take a look. Hi,

Speaker 4: 36:43 This is Mariana from Chula Vista with the pandemic. We saw a lot of people reconnecting to the outdoors. Can you talk a little bit about the health, um, physical and mental health benefits that we get from being out in nature?

Speaker 2: 36:56 So in our, in our wisdom tradition, we, we personally see, um, a lot of figures in the Bible that are doing things outside and during the pandemic. One of the things that we did as a family is that we did a lot of more walks together as a family. And, uh, I ride a road bikes. So I'm one of those dudes. That's, uh, I'm a Latino that's, uh, wearing spandex out riding 50, 80, 90 miles out in San Diego. And I can tell you that if I've had a really tough week, being out in nature, having the sun hitting me, uh, exerting my body is releasing the bad stress. And then it's creating the good endorphins, the good chemicals. And so, uh, I tell people that I feel like I get baptized every time I go out in nature to reconnect with the ground. Uh, one of my favorite theologian said that it's hard to love yourself, and it's hard to love people. So start with loving rocks, start with loving the sky, start with loving the trees and that if you, we get a love for creation that we might actually get a love for self and for others

Speaker 3: 38:11 To piggyback off Roy, when we treating someone that's depressed, we usually will recommend the psychiatrist will recommend vitamin D and people that are depressed. Usually don't go outside because they're endorsed. So they're lacking the vitamin D. So the simple fact that we're outside and we're getting that vitamin D is actually making us feel better. They'll put me in levels, go up, you know, all those good chemicals that make you feel better, just the breathing air. And then thing about the outdoors is that it helps us get grounded. So one technique that we use in therapy, just when we're in therapy, it's the grounding technique to help us get grounded. So being out in the outdoors, it naturally grounds you because you're getting a little sensories, are getting the smell, the water, the trees, the air hitting, or the birth, there's all those sensory that help you get grounded.

Speaker 3: 38:54 So you're not so much focused on what's actually going in here that you're stressed out about it. And then anxiety. I'm an outdoor person. I'm a hiker. So I love hiking. So whenever I have a stressful time, I go hit the bounce and go hiking and just trying to relax or go towards the beach, the grounding, grounding, grounding, and just helps to kind of like stay in the moment and vitamin D yeah. You know what I mean? Sometimes, um, we're hesitant. I'm like, oh, should I go on a high actually go on a walk, but once you're done with it, you feel so much better. You come back and you're like, I am so happy. I did that. And you just feel refreshed and alive and you're ready to get your day going. So I definitely definitely agree. Um, I want to, I want to show this next question. Um, Liz, you can feel free to answer this one.

Speaker 4: 39:37 Hi, Tanya. This is [inaudible] Palmer. Thank you for allowing me to ask a question. And my question today is how are the mental health professionals preparing to address some of the, um, very real barriers that our Latino community is experiencing? Um, how can we, you know, reach out to mental health professionals with when some of them don't understand the pulse of our communities and the traumas that come with that there are language barriers. There are, um, fears of immigration and historical trauma that we've encountered. How are the mental health professionals and the field of mental health preparing? I know that we're promoting, you know, that more of our Latino community reach out and access the services, but, you know, are they ready, you know, to help our community, um, walk through this new way of addressing our trauma?

Speaker 3: 40:33 I think just in general mental health professionals, I think, like I said, nobody prepared us for this pandemic, but I think one thing that I think I just saw was the clinical that clinicians and professionals kind of, and together, and just asking for help of liquidators or niches of like, Hey, you're the expert in this, help us in this. Um, you're the expert in that, like helping it to, so the community in itself, I think has gotten stronger and more United. One thing that I want to emphasize is that, yes, we have cultural competency. We all have to take cultural competency and take those units to make sure that we know every culture out there. Uh, but I think one important thing that, like I mentioned on the report before is that if you're within the culture, you understand the components and the aspects of, of what the culture and the structures are.

Speaker 3: 41:20 Right. And you know, that you are afraid to go outside or, you know, apply for a job to go to the doctor because you're undocumented. You cannot go see the doctor or the therapist, even if they have a sliding scale because there's $25 you don't have. Right. So the way that at least at work, I'm preparing here at the practice, or just even at the shelter and making sure that we have resources for the families available, whether they have documentation or not a here, the shelter at the practice, I'm sorry. I have created a sliding scale for people that don't have access to mental health that need our, that on the waitlist performance. I have so many people calling me. Can I please just go see you and those pet private pay until the insurance could get me in. So how do I expedite that process?

Speaker 3: 42:04 A lot of the times people don't have access to severe mental health. Like I used to work for this program kickstart, and it was the first, it was only for Medi-Cal I, at first it was just for people that didn't have insurance and then Medi-Cal and how do we create access for those people that don't know where to search? So it's really just education. I think a lot of Facebook groups have been doing such a wonderful job or Instagram of just sharing some of those resources. So I think as a community, as a whole, we should take kind of like a pledge of like sharing those resources for those people that need it, not just, okay, well, it's out there, people know about it. This is really, I think just as a provider is our responsibility to make sure that we share those resources and we make it available for everyone.

Speaker 3: 42:44 But then we also know what we're dealing with. And I think one thing that maybe as providers, like, I know, okay, this is out of my scope. Kind of like what we always say and where can I send this client that I know that they're going to be taken care of? Like, so not just sending them back to Kaiser that I know that there's no Hispanic provider there or not just sending them to the community center because they have resources there, like maybe linking them because it takes some, sometimes it was in our community. It might take us a little bit longer to find the right fit and finding the right fit for therapy. It's the key, it's the key. You can have the best therapist in the world, the most educated one, but if it's not the right fit for you, treatment's not going to work or it's not going to be as effective.

Speaker 2: 43:26 Yeah. You're the expert on the therapy. I appreciate that. Um, and so what I, you know, what I encourage you, I just wanna encourage people to reach out for help, you know, really pick up the phone and call, you know, you're not alone for people who are experiencing domestic violence. You're not alone. We are here to help you and get you into a better position.

Speaker 1: 43:47 Thank you for joining us for the KPBS special on Latin X mental health, hosted by KPBS reporter, Tonya Thorne, and produced by Brooke Ruth. Our guests were marriage and family therapist Lee, Seth ma Luis Canseco from the community resource center in Encinitas and Roy influenza who offers pastoral care and counseling for additional resources, visit kpbs.org.

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KPBS Midday Edition

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily talk show hosted by Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon, keeping San Diegans in the know on everything from politics to the arts.