First Lady Chirlane McCray announced a new grassroots effort to promote mental health literacy among the Latinx community during a Hispanic Heritage event at Gracie Mansion on Tuesday.

Under the initiative Latinx Thrive, advocacy organizations and New York City elected officials have formed a coalition to connect more individuals and families to the services of ThriveNYC, the city’s mental health and substance misuse program.

“Latinx Thrive is the city’s commitment to addressing the stigma and other barriers that keep New Yorkers in the Latinx community from using the behavioral health services available to them,” said McCray “By working together with elected officials and community leaders, we will ensure that more Spanish-speaking New Yorkers are aware of and have access to culturally competent mental health resources.”

The 2017 Community Health Survey revealed that Latinx New Yorkers had a higher prevalence of depression than white New Yorkers. However, white New Yorkers, 58 percent, were more likely to receive treatment for a mental health problem, compared to just 39 percent of Latinx New Yorkers.

Lack of information and knowledge about mental health within the community prevents individuals from seeking treatment, said Brooklyn Councilmember Rafael Espinal. 

“The Latinx Thrive program will help close the information and treatment gap when it comes to mental health for Latino New Yorkers,” said Espinal.

Additionally, the current political climate has created a culture of fear among the Latino, Latina and Latinx community, traumatizing its members and further isolating them from needed resources, said McCray.

By the end of 2019, the coalition will train 10,000 community members in Mental Health First Aid and host 100 listening sessions, known as “Thrive Talks,” where community members can share their stories, connect with others and learn about available mental health resources.

Brooklyn Councilmember Antonio Reynoso welcomes the new initiative.

“Physical and mental health are both critical components of overall wellbeing,” said Reynoso. “Yet lack of information and social stigma has kept many members of the Latino community from accessing the care that they deserve. Latinx Thrive will connect Latino community members with NYC’s available mental health tools and resources while helping to break the stigma associated with mental care.”

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Andrea Leonhardt

“Made in Germany,” Andrea Leonhardt is the managing editor for BK Reader. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, with minors in American studies and education, and a master’s...

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