Though it’s not discussed nearly as often as it can be, mental health issues affect many Latinx individuals, families, and communities. Mental Health America (MHA) estimates that there are 8.9 million Latinx people in the U.S. that live with a diagnosable mental illness, but according to the Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), only 10 percent of Latinx people with a mental health disorder actually seek specialized mental health treatment. The reason for this disparity? A lack of culturally competent therapists — therapists who’ve been trained to be respectful and understanding of diverse patients’ cultures — is often cited as one of the main reasons Latinx people forego mental health counseling For this reason, Brandie Carlos, a web designer and social media manager, was moved to create Therapy For Latinx, a new online database that makes it easy for Latinx people to find mental health professionals in their own communities.
Carlos tells Bustle she was moved to create the resource this past May after one of her best friends died by suicide last February, and she struggled to find a culturally competent therapist who could help her process her grief. “I tried to find a Latina therapist through my insurance, [but] it was a frustrating process,” Carlos says. “I thought to myself If I can’t find [a Latina therapist], how can someone who is Spanish-speaking only, or undocumented, or in another marginalized group find a therapist that speaks their language and is culturally competent? I saw a need for Latinx people to have access to user-friendly mental health resources.”