NEW YORK — The mental health is an issue which is becoming more and more important, mainly after the COVID-19 pandemic that led people to have a change in their routines and lifestyle. These changes generated states of depression, anxiety and other emotions for many, due to confinement and the uncertainty of a virus that went around the world.
However, the stigma behind mental health still remains and for many the idea of going to a psychologist or taking therapy can be a reason for others to judge you and think that something is wrong or the idea that you are “crazy”. According to the American Psychiatric Association “More than half of people with mental illness do not receive help for their mental illness. Often people avoid or delay seeking treatment because they fear they will be treated differently or lose their livelihood.”
When talking about the Hispanic community, 35.1% of Hispanic/Latino adults with mental illness receive treatment each year compared to the US average of 46.2%. according to National Alliance on Mental Illness. This is due to barriers such as language and the lack of health insurance.
For many people it must be difficult to know what they need help with or how to find that professional who can guide them or give them the tools due to the stigma or barriers mentioned above.
The doctor and psychologist Dayana Jiménez, who specializes in helping adolescents, young adults, and parents with issues such as anxiety, spoke with Telemundo 47 and highlighted that this negative idea of going to the psychologist, especially after the pandemic, has changed. She recalls that it should be taught that “anyone can suffer from mental health and it is part of being human.”
“It’s changing the way you think about how receiving that support helps you live better,” he said.
In addition, Dr. Jiménez explained that to go to therapy you don’t necessarily have to be in a crisis.
Everyone can receive this help because it shows another perspective on life situations “A patient of mine told me one day: ‘if we all received therapy we would be happier’. And I think it’s the truth. Help is not only sought when you are in a crisis or very sad. Going to a therapist helps you to have another perspective, which we sometimes forget, for example about our dreams, or how to be in relationships with other people. It is finding the parts and areas that can always be improved. It’s also a way to explore and there’s always room to improve as human beings.”
For this reason, Dr. Dayana Jiménez shares some valuable advice on how to find a professional for therapy and how to prepare for that first meeting with a professional.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO FIND A THERAPIST WHO FOCUSES ON MENTAL HEALTH?
According to Dr. Dayana Jiménez, there are some steps that can help a person find the right therapist.
- Language: “First is to think in which language is going to feel better. What we do know from research is that people’s primary language is sometimes the language that the therapist should have. So, for example, look for a professional who speaks Spanish, or someone who is bilingual if that is the case,” said Dr. Jiménez.
a. Culture: Find someone who understands your culture. This can help you have better communication.
- Therapy Type: Investigate which types of treatments have the best therapy. There are several, for example, the therapy known as Dalectical Behavior Therapy, (DBT, for its acronym), which can be effective.
- Experience: Look at the experience of the therapist, read her reviews.
- Health insurance: Observe what insurance you receive, or what the payment plan would be. If that insurance is used or is going to be paid in cash. Look for possibilities for those who do not have insurance.
- Place where the therapy is performed: Ask if therapy will be done in person, online, or both.
- Treat different therapists: Find the one that best suits what you are looking for.
- Personal information: Ask about how they protect personal information, especially for undocumented people.
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR MY FIRST THERAPY?
Dr. Jiménez shared the following steps:
- Subjects: one of the first things is to be honest with yourself. Make a list of those things you would like to work on. What I wish.
- Escuchar: Be aware of what the therapist says. “What questions is the therapist asking me, which are almost always related to life and goals.”
- Breathe: “Meeting a new therapist can be nerve-wracking because they think they can judge you. The most important thing about that first day is to tell yourself that I feel comfortable in this place”, said Dr. Jiménez.
- Communication and being honest: “Communicate to the therapist when something bothers me or does not feel good,” added Dr. Jiménez.
- Reflect: After the section, think about how I felt, how was that relationship with the therapist.
- Other: Look how often you will see the psychologist, and for how long.
USE RESOURCES THAT MAY HELP YOU
Below, we share some resources that can help you find a therapist focused primarily on the Hispanic community.
- Latinx Therapists Action Network: It is an online platform and network of Latino mental health professionals who honor and affirm the dignity and healing of migrant communities marginalized by criminalization, detention, and deportation.
- American Pshychiatric Association: It has resources in Spanish on mental health for the Hispanic community.
- American Society Hispanic Psychiatry: It has a list of professionals by state.
- Therapy for Latinx: Help the Latino or Hispanic community find the therapist that best suits them. A database of therapists who identify as Latinx or who have worked closely with and understand the unique needs of the Latinx community. The website is also offered in Spanish.
- Latinx Therapy: Latinx Therapy was founded in 2018 with a mission to destigmatize mental health in the Latinx community. A database for Latinos looking for a diversity of mental health and wellness resources, courses and workshops. The website also offers a national directory to help find a therapist and navigate the mental health patient/client-provider journey.
- Inclusive Therapists: Help find therapists in the area.
- Mental Health America’s Resources for Latinx/Hispanic Communities: General mental health resources in Spanish, including a list of materials in Spanish and assessment tools in Spanish.
- Psychology Today: A directory of Hispanic/Latinx therapists.
- Zencare: Help find therapists in New York.
- Tri-State Government Resources on Mental Health:
- New York City with NYC Well: NYC Well is a connection to free and confidential crisis counseling, mental health and substance use support, information and referrals. You can reach the toll-free helpline 24/7 via phone, text, and online chat. Behavioral health professionals can connect you with the services you need. To call: 1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355) o 1-888-692-9355 (Español). Information here.
- New Jersey: Here you can find the information.
- Connecticut: Information here.
- New York State: Here the information.