Master of Social Work student - Columbia University and Blogger
Founder of SoulfulWorker
Tell us about your career. What is soulful worker and how it all started?
For undergrad, I studied Psychology at USC (which was for the most
part an incredible experience) but when I graduated, I was experiencing
clinical depression. I had no clue what to do next personally or
professionally. Long story short it took therapy, trying out different jobs,
volunteering, and connecting with my community to discover my sense of
purpose and love of social work. I appreciate that the field is very diverse
and combines two of my passions: mental health and social justice. Now, I
am currently starting my second year of graduate school at Columbia
University and am on the clinical track.
Soulful Worker is a blog and community that developed out of my
personal need to learn more about mental health and the social work
profession. I write about everything from understanding panic disorder to
career options within the field. It’s a safe space to connect with folks, break
down the information I’m learning, and provide resources to anyone
interested in learning about mental health or what it’s like to be a social
What is the favorite part of your job? How do we de-stigmatize mental health in general but particularly in the latin community? How can we educate our community?
I love the opportunity to empower others to take care of their mental
health! In the culture I grew up in, talking about mental health simply wasn’t
done and I know that’s true for many of us. For me, talking so openly about
mental health feels rebellious and empowering. I want to use my training
and education to empower others as well help them discover tools for living
a happy and healthy life. A (very close) second favorite part of my job is
learning from the folks with whom I work! I am constantly humbled by how
resilient, kind, adaptable, and courageous people can be. Overall, I love the
work that I do both as a therapist in training and a mental health content
Believe it or not, we still have a long way to go when it comes to
de-stigmatizing mental health and removing barriers to both education and
treatment. In order to de-stigmatize mental health/mental illness I think there
are two foundational things we can do: have open conversations about it and
educate ourselves. While we are hearing mental health buzzwords more and
more in the media, it can still be really confusing and uncomfortable to talk
I think these two foundational approaches of discussion and education are
applicable in the Latinx community. Our community is too strong to stay
silent on such an important topic. Latinx folk experiences the same level of
susceptibility to mental health issues but also face major inequality when it
comes to resources such as education and treatment options. There is so
much to be said on the subject of Latinx mental health and I think the larger
conversation is only getting started!
In regards to how we can increase education within our community, it’s
important to remember that we all have mental health just like we all have
physical health. Taking this perspective can help us and our friends/family
recognize that mental health struggles aren’t anything to be ashamed of and
can be treated with the proper support like physical illnesses. Look for resources created by Latinx mental health professionals in both English and Spanish that can be shared with friends and family.
Next, if a Latinx person is interested in getting professional help but doesn’t want to call a therapist right away, I recommend talking with your primary care physician. Doctors can help folks to understand symptoms and treatment options while also recommending a therapist or Psychiatrist. If possible working with a Latinx therapist, or someone you feel practices
cultural competence/humility, can help remove barriers such as language
and cultural nuances.
I’m currently working on creating some mental health resource guides that will be on Soulful Worker soon, but here are a couple of recommendations if anyone is interested in learning more.
For a bilingual (English & Spanish) overview on mental health check out
this PDF from the National Alliance on Mental Illness:
Simple to use directories of Latinx Therapists:
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood to me means having the opportunity to be vulnerable without fear of judgement. Sisterhood for me is sacred and I sincerely believe it can boost our overall happiness.
What's your personal mantra?
The 5 by 5 rule: if it’s not going to matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes worrying over it! I first heard this on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (so much badass babe energy) and while it takes a lot of practice, it’s really transformed the way I look at things.
What would you tell your 18-year old self?
You are so much more powerful than you think you are.
Love yourself first and the rest will follow.
What would be your advice for women who are building
careers in your industry?
As Marie Forleo says, “clarity comes from engagement, not thought. If you’re interested in social work, mental health, creating content etc., I highly recommend taking action and getting involved. Volunteer in your community and work with populations that interest you. Engagement is by far the thing that helped me the most in deciding what field was right for me. I also recommend reaching out and asking for informational interviews with women who have careers you admire. These women can be amazing resources and it never hurts
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