Latinx Mental Health Workshop Brings Students Together to Discuss Anger as a BIPOC Student – The Daily Utah Chronicle
The University of Utah Latinx Community and University Counseling Center held their latest anger workshop in a series on mental health in the Latinx community.
The Anger We Carry was a panel discussion on anger, where it comes from, why it’s there, and the differences in anger for Latinx people.
Fabi Madrigal and Nicole Puertas Sanchez from the BIPOC Student Support Group, All the Feels, moderated the discussion. Students and participants from diverse backgrounds were asked to reflect on their anger and question not only their emotions, but also how institutions inform that anger.
The Latinx Mental Health Workshop Series is an initiative to provide students with an opportunity to discuss the unseen frustration of stigma, generational trauma, and cultural expectations from their families and society.
Natalie Ramirez-Oritz and Adriana Leon, both U students, expressed anger stemming from their parents’ lack of compassion as first-generation students, gender roles in Latin culture, and lack of diversity on the campus.
“For the Latinx community, mental health isn’t really a thing in the culture,” said second-year social work student Ramirez-Ortiz. “Having a mental health workshop for the Latinx community can help community members see the other side rather than how they are culturally supposed to feel.”
Many students from countries like Argentina, Chile, Honduras, El Salvador, and Mexico all shared a common sense of resentment from previous generations for the opportunity to live and attend college in the United States. Some students were first generation Americans whose parents had escaped violence, poverty and discrimination.
“A lot of us have immigrant parents,” said Leon, a first-year computer science student. “They’ve crossed borders, they’ve had so many hurdles, and then they look at us and say ‘why can’t you handle college? or ‘why are you so stressed?’
Leon added that parents, with or without papers, as well as some students do not understand the difficulties of accessing resources for opportunities as an undocumented student. U student organizations like SOMOS Dreamers advocate for undocumented students.
The Latinx Student Union strives to create community and resources for students living with the special emotional challenges of being first generation while creating a culturally familiar space for students.
Jasmine Aguilar-Lopez, event coordinator for the Latinx Student Union, said: “We have parents who crossed the border violently, many of us are first generation, some of us are undocumented. and our parents are like ‘well, you have it so much easier.'”
Therapy is expensive, and many Hispanic youth in Utah are traditionally underserved. “Not many people know about on-campus counseling resources,” Aguilar-Lopez said. “So we’re trying to help close that gap so students know and can access therapy.”
The U’s Hispanic enrollment sits at 13%, far behind Salt Community College’s 21%, according to KSL. However, initiatives such as institutional recruitment, student clubs, and mental health counseling are part of a larger Utah initiative to develop and retain Hispanic students in higher education.
Christina Kelly LeCluyse, outreach coordinator at the College Counseling Center, said UCC and the Center for Equity and Student Relatedness have onboarded therapists like Madrigal and Puertas from All the Feels who are working to make counseling more accessible and more relevant to students of color.
For many Latinx students, being on a predominantly white campus means fewer opportunities to be seen by their community and even fewer opportunities to meet a therapist who understands the Latinx experience.
Roundtable students spoke about the anger that results from stigmas like “spicy latina” or macho masculinity and the “forever stranger trope” that confines people to perpetual outsider status. because of their foreign status.
During the discussion, students agreed that seeing other students who looked like them was key to finding a community of like-minded individuals.
“Knowing that my therapist is also a person of color makes me feel like he will be able to understand my perspective,” Aguilar-Lopez said.
“I’m sitting here and seeing people who look like me going through the same struggles and it makes me feel better, like I’m not alone and I have someone to relate to,” said Ramirez-Oritz.
The U Counseling Center is currently working with the Center for Equity and Student Belonging to provide greater access to therapy for students as well as community workshops to encourage students to use on-campus resources to discuss their hidden struggles. and find other students who can relate.
“These events allow us to build a community where we all allow ourselves to be vulnerable, where we are not allowed to be vulnerable, like at home or on campus,” said Netza Cuyuch-Jaimes, a biology and finance major. at the U.
The Latinx Mental Health Workshop Series will resume its next meeting on March 30 at 4 p.m. in the Unity Lounge to meet with SOMOS Dreamers to discuss being an undocumented college student in Utah.