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These Latinas Will Give You The Mental Health Boost You Need

While Latinas show similar susceptibility to mental illnesses as anybody else in the country, we have less access to treatment. Disparities, like the lack of health insurance, poverty, language barriers and immigration status, can make necessary care unfeasible, and without treatment, our community is at a greater risk of severe and persistent forms of mental health conditions. For support, many of us are turning to social media, where we find encouraging affirmations and a network to lean on.

Although social media, particularly photo-sharing platforms like Instagram, can bring high levels of anxiety and depression, these spaces are also being used by Latina mental health activists who want to bring wellness to their hermanas. While these digital healing spaces should not replace therapy with a licensed professional or prescribed medication, memes help to destigmatize mental illness, images of women of color survivors offer representation that show us we are not alone and quotes give us the strength and motivation to carry on our recovery and self-love journeys.

Ahead, seven Latina mental health advocates you should be following on social media.

1. Dior Vargas

Dior Vargas is a queer Ecuadorian-Puerto Rican-Italian feminist mental health activist. In 2015, the New York-based Latina started the People of Color and Mental Illness Photo Project, which aims to bring visibility to sufferers of color, who have long been left out of mental health media representation and research. Vargas, who is currently working toward a Master’s in Public Health at NYU’s College of Global Public Health, has received several awards for her activism, including The White House Champion of Change for Disability Advocacy Across Generations.

Catch her on Twitter spreading mental health resources and news.

2. Marcela Sabiá

So this photo was taken by my dear friend last year when I did a photoshoot. We were not the only people doing photos that day – it was part of a photographers & models meet up so they could improve portfolios. A small group of girls were modeling and even tough they had different features, all of them were really thin – except me. One girl was absolutely gorgeous – specially to society’s beauty standards – and everybody wanted (and fighted) to get a picture of her, of course. Eventually I was photographed by almost all of them and it was cool, but it was also clear I wasn’t the “ideal type” for a photoshoot. I’m curvy, I have big boobs and a lot more weight than any model there – so they wouldn’t spend much time on me and I couldn’t help but notice it. After posing, my friend quickly sent me my photos and it was awesome to see how beautiful I could look and feel – it made my day and I felt amazing. Others said they would gradually update their feeds with photos and I was excited and hoping to see some of mine. Well, I didn’t. The obvious gorgeous girl appeared in so many posts with different poses, colors and scenarios – while only two photographers updated a single picture of me. The other girls were not posted as much as the first one, but they definitely got a lot of pictures too. What I’m trying to say is that is very easy to feel like you are not good or pretty enough when you see yourself in some environments where beauty standards still are very much valued. So stay away from them if you can. I felt a little bit down and frustrated for not seeing any of the photos I took that day but I’m glad I could have this experience to share this with you. You don’t have to be thin to be beautiful, period. There is a lot of plus size/curvy models rocking out there to remind us that. Don’t be afraid to pose, to take pictures of yourself and feel gorgeous. Beauty is much more than our weight and I still want to do a lot of photoshoots – we just need eyes that see beauty everywhere ??#bopo #bopogoals #bopowarrior #bodypositivity #bodypositive #fuckbeautystandards #effbeautystandards #selflove

A post shared by Marcela Sabiá (@marcelailustra) on

Marcela Sabiá is a Brazilian illustrator using art to help followers who are dealing with mental illnesses. The 26 year old, who lives with depression and anxiety, often writes messages of hope along with her colorful designs. “Scars mean you can heal and survive,” reads one. “It’s OK to ask for help,” notes another. Sabiá takes her work one step further by also including anecdotes from therapy sessions or lessons she has learned as captions to her posts.

For beautiful visual inspiration on your feed, follow Sabiá on Instagram.

3. Gloria Lucas

Esta es me. ? @painbrushheart

A post shared by NPP (@nalgonapositivitypride) on

Gloria Lucas is a Los Angeles-based Xicana body positive activist. An eating disorder survivor, she created Nalgona Positivity Pride, a Xican@-Brown*-Indigenous body positive site, to bring representation and ED awareness and resources to communities of color. Through NPP, Lucas hopes to connect the relationship between historical trauma and oppression — like racism, colonialism, ableism and homophobia — and eating disorders.

Follow Lucas via NPP for education and support on decolonizing the body and body love on Instagram and Facebook.

4. Cinderella “Ella” D’jibri

[30 Post in 30 Days – Post 24] ———————————- All about that smoothie life, swipe left ?? for the recipe and instructions. This is #day9smoothie of the #10daygreensmoothiecleanse however, I am not on Day 9, I just really enjoy this recipe. Read the rest of this caption to know more about why I am indulging in this #smoothie today. So, a few weeks back, I did a 9 day #detox , 4 days of #juicing and 5 days of smoothies. I felt great, my bloating went down and I lost 8 pounds. Initially this 9 day cleanse was suppose to be 15 days, however I had a set back due to an emotional response that I had when I received some stressful news. Even though, my body did not crave junk food, I began to binge eat, because that is my coping mechanism. Eating and sleeping, when I get depressed or anxious is a habit that I am desperately trying to break. Consistency is difficult when you suffer with #bipolardepression because the illness itself is all about ups and downs. People who battle with #bipolardisorder understand that we are so susceptible to our triggers. It was awful going from an extreme high to an extreme low, but a part of my recovery is understanding the difference between a #setback and #failure ?. I didn't fail on my cleanse, I went a whole 9 days and that is a victory that I can bask in. If I did it once, then I can do it again. And, one thing is for sure, the food that enters my body contributes to my overall well being especially my mental and emotional well being. So, I have decided to give it another go, except with a different approach. I promise to give you the details within the coming weeks. For now, feel free to chat with me by sharing your thoughts, experiences and opinions in the comments below. ?????????? ———————————- #detox #cleansing #mentalhealth #mentalhealthmatters #blackmentalhealth #blackmentalhealthmatters #selflove #selfcare #mentalillness #motivationmonday #motivation #wellness #wellnesszone #wellnesswarrior #mentalhealthwarrior #foodshare #smoothielife #cleaneating #recipeswap #smoothierecipe

A post shared by ♒️Healer? (@ellaspeakz) on

Cinderella “Ella” D’jibril is a Peruvian mental health activist who uses her blog, Ella Speakz, and podcast, Building You Up, to discuss black mental health, body image and self-help. The Washington, D.C.-born and New Mexico-living Afro-Latina is currently a certified peer support worker and is completing her studies in clinical mental health counseling. When she’s not creating new content, she’s sprinkling messages of self-love, moving on and healing throughout her social media accounts.

Follow Ella on Instagram for notitas that will help get you through the day.

5. E Ortiz

? @atomicmakeupnyc gloss: dressed up ?

A post shared by E Ortiz (@ethereal.1) on

Emilia Ortiz is a bruja, spiritual adviser and mental health advocate based out of Brooklyn, New York. The puertoriquena often takes to Instagram to provide video advice sessions on a series of topics, from maintaining hope and protecting your space to making peace and knowing your value. But that’s not all. Her social media is also filled with relatable memes and poetry that will make you laugh, smile and cry through your healing.

Catch Ortiz’s words, and illuminating glow, over on Instagram.

6. Vero Higareda

Vero Higareda is a Mexican mental health advocate who started and runs Spark Bracelets, a company that makes bracelets to inspire people to start conversations about mental health. The Austin, Texas-based mujer wants to help destigmatize mental illness and help normalize behaviors and language that are oftentimes considered taboo in Latinx communities. Her hope: that once people lose the shame about their mental health they can begin to live a good and happy life.

Follow Higareda on Facebook and Instagram for informative and motivational posts.

7. Erica Leon

As an eating disorder dietitian, I see every single day that people really do recover!! There is a light at the end of the tunnel if you put in the work, choose recovery, and trust the process. It can be especially tough at this time of the year, so remind yourself what your values are, and double down on support! You’re worth it! . . . Interested in making peace with food, learning more about intuitive eating, rejecting the diet mentality, and finally living your life without obsessing over your weight? As a registered dietitian and certified intuitive eating counselor with over 20 years of experience, I bring you the Intuitive Eating Basics 101: Finding Food Peace and Body Freedom Forever online course. Start your journey today! (link in profile) . . . #haes #intuitiveeating #edrecovery #antidiet#riotsnotdiets #effyourbeautystandards#losehatenotweight #nourishnotpunish#recoverywarriors #balancednotclean #foodisfuel#prorecovery #bodyposi #bodypositive #bopo#realrecovery #allfoodsfit #intuitiveliving #selflove#nutrition #dietitian #healthateverysize#nutritiontherapy #virtualcounseling #RD2be #rd

A post shared by Erica Leon, MS, RDN, CEDRD (@ericaleonnutrition) on

Erica Leon is a New York-based eating disorder specialist and dietitian nutritionist. With degrees from Cornell University and New York University, the Latina helps ED sufferers recover through a non-diet and Health At Every Size approach. On Instagram, Leon often shares body love quotes, affirmations and research-backed data over colorful imagery.

Follow her on the ‘gram for wellness tips and inspo!

READ: Selena Gomez Talked About Why Mental Health Breaks From Social Media Are Important

Let us know who you’d add to the list in the comments below!

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Babies Trying Pan Dulce For the First Time is the Instagram Content We Didn’t Know We Needed

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Babies Trying Pan Dulce For the First Time is the Instagram Content We Didn’t Know We Needed

There are few things more delicioso than pan dulce. Whether it’s served with café con leche or grabbed as a quick breakfast indulgence, it really is the perfect treat. This variety of sweet bread has become a big part of the Latinidad.

When we’re talking pan dulce, conchas, puerquitos, orejas and empanadas are just a few of the mouthwatering options. No matter which sweet bread is your fav, you can relive your first taste over and over again with every fresh bite.

Thanks to social media, we can also see the adorableness that comes with baby’s first sweet bread. Hashtags like #BabysFirstConcha or #BabySweetBread are where to go to find cute pics of babies taking their first bites of sweet pan dulce.

Here are some super cute pictures of babies eating their first pan dulce.

1. Enjoy your matching concha, preciosa.

Instagram / @alanah.aya

Just like the color pink, conchas are perfect for every occasion. This little preciosa doesn’t hold back as she takes a mighty chomp out of her pan dulce. From the looks of it, this first bite won’t be her last. Enjoy, mija.

2. Matching concha costume = GOALS.

Instagram / @gr_twins

Pan dulce-themed birthday parties are now a thing — and we really wish they were back when we were kids. What better way to celebrate your special day than to dress like your favorite food. That frosting-covered face confirms how awesome pan dulce birthdays can be.

3. You don’t need teeth to enjoy pan dulce.

Instagram / @nadyaaglae

Not having teeth doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying the goodness that is pan dulce. If you’re a babe taking your first bite, just working that sweet treat with the gums you’ve been given is good enough. Just imagine how much pan dulce this cutie will take down once he actually gets those baby teeth in.

4. Just a little nibble for now.

Instagram / @ainsley_belle_511

While some babies might go mouth-first into their conchas, this little lady prefers to nibble. In her matching concha onesie, this sweetie is more proper with her first bite. However, once she gets a taste, there’s no doubt this little conchita will go pan dulce-crazy.

5. That smile says she knows this is going to be good.

Instagram / @lapasteleriadesofia

Look at the awe on her face. Look at that little grin. This baby knows she’s got something special in front of her. This pic was taken before the big chomp but that look on her face tells us it’s coming soon.

6. Nothing beats twinning with your pan dulce.

Instagram / @gr_twins

Can you really claim conchas are your favorite food if you don’t regularly dress up like them. Twinning with your favorite pan dulce is an awesome look no matter what day it is. Top it off with a concha cake and you’ve got a party.

7. Pan dulce: the perfect party food.

Instagram / @shopoliposa

Piñatas and decorations are all well and good, but a real party needs one more ingredient — pan dulce. This little lady knows what’s up as she snacks on her vanilla concha. What’s even better is the absolutely gorgeous photoshoot she had to immortalize her first bite.

8. If you are what you eat, eat lots of conchas

Instagram / @kaylaa_baylaa1

Have you ever seen a cuter conchita in your life? The answer is obviously no. This giggly little sweet bread is just as lovable as the pan dulce that she’s dressed as. Of course, her happy face could have something to do with all that colorful sugar.

9. Sweet like pan dulce.

Instagram / @madamemariposa

Those sweet, soulful eyes and that face buried into a soft concha are guaranteed to make you say, “Awwww.” This adorable shot doesn’t need any extra props or colorful backgrounds to make us swoon. If you don’t have baby fever yet, you probably do now.

10. Waiting for the sugar to kick in like…

Instagram / @normlone

Her face is telling us a lot. Namely that this little chula is lost in the flavor of her delicious pan dulce. We can admit that this state of pre-sugar high is super relatable. At least baby will be able to enjoy a nice nap after that sugar hits.

11. When you can’t wait to get home to start digging in.

Instagram / @aandylove

Sometimes you can’t wait to get home from the panderia before you start digging into the pan dulce. This sweetheart didn’t even wait to get out of her car seat to start snacking. Also, did anyone else notice that this concha is as big as her head? That’s a big project she’s working on.

12. Conchas are serious business.

Instagram / @lamonarcabakery

Although this little preciosa has a serious look on her face, those puffed out cheeks give away her secret. They’re stuffed with yummy concha. She’s obviously contemplating which piece of pan dulce she should take down next.

13. Go ahead and take a big bite, mija!

Instagram / @tres.marias.and.mama

For her “Coco”-themed birthday party, this little cutie has everything from flower crowns to guitars to complete that mood. Of course that means she also has the ultimate treat, pan dulce. We wonder if she waited to blow out the candles before she dug in.

14. We know that feeling, baby girl.

Instagram / @rlocreativedesign

That feeling when the pan dulce hits that sweet craving just right. This little cutie looks like she’s experiencing just a bit of euphoria with that first bite. The matching concha tee and pink tutu really complete this adorable look.

15. Her face says it all.

Instagram / @little_mia_sanchez

As perfect as pan dulce is, it’s also pretty messy. However, that mess is just proof that you’re thoroughly enjoying that sweet treat. This baby isn’t at all worried about the sugary mess on her face; she’s got her eyes on the prize.

16. Never too young for pan.

Instagram / @mrs.sotelo.official_

While many babies have pan dulce parties for their first or second birthdays, this little lady just couldn’t wait. As a celebration for her nine month b-day, she not only had a taste of delicious pan dulce, she also had a little photoshoot to commemorate it. After all, you’re never too young for this sweetness.

17. Now that’s a mouthful!

Instagram / @truegrumpybaby

Some babies nibble, some take a practice bite before they jump in. This baby isn’t afraid to take the plunge and go at it with a big ol’ bite. We hope he approaches every challenge in his life with the same bravery and commitment.

18. La Princesa de Conchas.

Instagram / @concha_bunny

First of all, we LOVE this look. Secondly, this little princesa looks absolutely in love with that sweet bread. No doubt, this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship between conchas and this little cutie pie.

19. The look of true love.

Instagram / @iscjuanita

This sweet smile can only mean one thing: this little one is in love with pan dulce. The sweet simplicity of her first bites is what this list is all about. It’s a reminder of what pan dulce is all about: sugar, bread, and all things good in this world.

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After Two Parkland Students Commit Suicide, Community Unites To Share Mental Health Resources

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After Two Parkland Students Commit Suicide, Community Unites To Share Mental Health Resources

One year after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., two students have died in apparent suicides, compelling the community to come together and share mental health resources.

On Saturday, a sophomore at the school, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting last year, took his own life. One week prior, Sydney Aiello, 19, a recent Stoneman Douglas graduate who lost her best friend in the massacre, also ended her life.

As the Florida’s emergency chief Jared Moskowitz calls for the state Legislature to send more mental health resources for the high school’s students and faculty, calling mental health a “bipartisan issue” on Twitter, the community has stepped in where the state government has been slow to respond.

On Sunday, more than 60 school, county, city, child services and law enforcement officials, as well as mental health specialists, teachers and parents, met for an emergency meeting. Ryan Petty, father of Alaina Petty, a 14-year-old freshman who was murdered on Feb. 14. 2018, said that the school district will be giving parents the “Columbia Protocol, six questions that parents should ask their children, the Miami Herald reports. Based on their answers, they will know what emergency resources are available to them. Additionally, nonprofits are offering free therapy groups and services.

Online, it’s students, former and current, who are using social media to offer resources to those still suffering from the trauma and loss of last year’s school shooting. David Hogg, who graduated from Stoneman Douglas in 2018 and has become a fierce anti-gun advocate, took to Twitter, reminding Parkland students and grads that trauma doesn’t go away quickly.

“Stop saying you’ll get over it,'” he wrote. “You don’t get over something that never should have happened because those that die from gun violence are stolen from us not naturally lost. Trauma and loss don’t just go away, you have to learn to live with it through getting support.”

According to Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, who spoke with Teen Vogue, witnessing traumatic events can lead to symptoms consistent with acute stress disorder, including recurring memories, dreams or nightmares of the event; mood changes; irritability and more. These memories, she adds, can lead to negative thoughts, hopelessness, trouble sleeping and more.

Hogg wants youth to know that these symptoms are normal and that they can be managed through help, like therapy, talking with friends and family, meditation and self-care practices.

He, along with others, shared his own self-care routine.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, know there is help available. For immediate support, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis and are unsure where to turn, you can also reach out to the Crisis Text Line by sending HOME to 741741.

Read: Survivor Of Florida School Shooting Emma Gonzalez Is Turning Her Anger Into Political Activism

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