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Meet Brandie Carlos of Therapy for Latinx in East LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brandie Carlos.

Brandie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
In February of 2018, I lost one of my best friends to a combination of antidepressants and alcohol. He was one of those people that could light up a room with his smile. I know everyone says that about people they love but even strangers would say that about him and any friend who I introduced him to. After he passed away, I questioned myself, what could I have done differently? What resources were available that he didn’t know about? I spent the following months mourning and continue to grieve the loss of someone who I thought would be the Godfather to my kids when I had them.

Through my grief and solitude, I began to think about how many more people would lose best friends, brothers, and dads to the same combination. I began googling and asking friends how they manage their mental health? What resources did they know about? How did they find a therapist? Where do you even start? I mostly received shoulder shrugs, “I don’t knows” and a deep sense of shame for googling resources but never really doing anything about it. I was in the processes of looking for a therapist to support me through my grief and I couldn’t find one listed in my insurance. I knew that I wanted a Latina therapist and it felt impossible to find one that was local and affordable. I kept asking around and the story kept repeating itself, people just dealt with it. When things got really bad, they would google a topic but the shame and stigma kept them from actually seeing a therapist. Then, the ones that actually made it to an office were split between people gushing about their therapists and people who felt frustrated at not being able to find a therapist that was Latinx or that practice cultural humility. There was an even deeper level of frustration when I spoke to friends in the Latinx community that is marginalized such as LGTBQ, Undocumented, Deaf, Veterans, etc.

At this point, all I could think of was the optimism of my friend. He always had a realistic perspective that I appreciated. I began thinking about what could be done to alleviate the frustration of my friends and community that I kept hearing over and over. That’s when I came across TherapyforBlackgirls.com, and I was completely inspired by the safe space that was being built by Dr. Joy. To my surprise, I googled and looked around but found no resources specifically for the Latinx community. That was when the idea clicked. As I began building the site, I decided to have a therapist directory, people sharing stories or experiences, and resources for people who want to become a licensed mental health practitioner. I’m excited to finally launch the site and see where this project goes. My hope is that through this site fewer people have to lose their best friend.

Today, I have over 100 therapists listed in over 18 states across the country, we have an official partnership with Mental Health America, and have received messages from people that have found their therapist through our database. In the future, my hope is to have live events, mentorship programs for those looking to get into the field, and scholarships for Latinx students that want to get into the field.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It hasn’t been an easy process, professionally I am a web designer and social media consultant. I have no background in mental health. I’ve been able to reach out to mental health organizations and specific people to consult me along the way. I’ve also had a lack of support from some mental health professionals that feel that my work is not valid because I’m not a mental health professional. My goal has never been to claim that I am trained in mental health but I do feel that I am passionate about mental health and my vision is to make mental health resources more accessible to the Latinx community that needs it. The latest challenge is juggling working full time, running my consulting business, and managing Therapy for Latinx on my own. At the moment, I don’t have a staff and have funded this whole project on my own. I would love to figure out a way to receive funding to have staff and be able to expand even faster.

Therapy for Latinx – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Therapy for LatinX is a database of resources, practitioners, and Latinx who share their stories of mental health, healing, and advocacy. We are a starting point for people to connect with Latinx therapist. We also share resources and events across the country. I am most proud of filling a need that has been overseen for so long. Even within the Latinx community, there are so many people that are marginalized such as undocumented, deaf, trans, and more. We pride ourselves in doing out best to provide resources for these communities. The best part has also been how Latinx therapists across the country have connected. We are really building a network of therapists who are starting to meet other therapists with similar experiences in academia and professionally.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success looks different to me at every new stage I enter in life. If has been the driving force that evolves with me every time I reach a new goal. It definitely feels like having the freedom to do what I love on a daily basis and what I love changes as I get older. Today, it looks like being able to build a platform that provides accessibility to people of color. My dream is to see more poc in tech.

Pricing:

  • $15/month for a monthly subscription for Therapists
  • $120/year for yearly subscription for Therapist

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Nadia Alvarez LMFT (polka dot top)

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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