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J Balvin Wants to End Mental Health Stigma for Latinx People

What to know: Colombian Reggaeton superstar J Balvin is opening up about his struggles with anxiety and depression. Penning a personal essay, Balvin explained how working with doctors, taking medication and regular meditation has improved his mental health, along with how meditation has become his go-to coping skill.

J Balvin also highlighted that it’s important for him to be open about his struggles with anxiety and depression because many still suffer in silence. This is especially true among Latinx populations. He wrote:

Because I am Latino — I know there can be a certain stigma in my community when it comes to mental well-being. Many Latino men will not want to talk about depression, because they fear it is not a manly thing, or that they will then be known as loco. But I don’t hesitate to say that I have been depressed.

The Frontlines: As J Balvin pointed out, it’s important to advocate for culturally competent mental health providers in order to deliver adequate care.

  • According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 35% of Latinx people described their mental health as “not good” at least one day during the 30-day polling period
  • As of 2015, 86% of licensed psychologists in the U.S. were white, and only 5% identified as Hispanic
  • Research suggests finding a trusted mental health professional who speaks your native language fluently and understands your cultural background can have a big impact on your quality of care

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A Mighty Voice: Feel alone in your struggle with anxiety or depression? Our community member, Amber W., shared what they wish their friends and family knew about living with mental illness. “Anxiety and depression are a part of me. I am not ashamed. If you don’t understand this illness imagine how hard it is for me to understand. Every day is a balancing act of anxiety vs. depression, although in this battle they both win. I don’t want sympathy, just a little empathy.” You can submit your first person story, too.

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Other things to know: While meditation won’t “cure” mental illness, it can be helpful if you’re coping with difficult emotions. Meditation is free, can be done anywhere and may result in feeler a little calmer when you’re really struggling. Here are some resources to get going:

How to take action: J Balvin teamed up with Deepak Chopra to build a free, 21-day meditation experience called “Renew Yourself: Body, Mind & Spirit.” The experience focuses on resilience and healing and is offered in both English and Spanish. Each meditation is 20 minutes. You can register here.

Header image via J Blavin/Instagram