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How Therapinxy is Redefining Mental Health and Wellness in the Filipin@/xs Community

Members of the Therapinxy team pose for a photo at the Directory Launch Block Party in San Francisco, California on June 12, 2022. Photo Courtesy: Ruth Dimagmaliw

Finding a provider who understands one’s culture and background can have a significant impact when it comes to mental health care, and this is what Therapinxy, an online platform with over 100 Filipinx providers, strives to offer. Seeking to destigmatize mental health and build Filipino resiliency, Therapinxy combines ancestral healing and mental health services through collective care, kapwa, and liberation.

For Therapinxy Marketing Director Sheena Minoc, the goal is to provide a network of therapists and mental health professionals who prioritize a culturally responsive and Whole Person approach to mental health care in the Filipin@/xs community.

“We understand that there’s not just one way to address or work on mental health. Being the only Filipino service provider, we are excited to be a part of the community and thought of in that way. We’re not trying to compete or differentiate ourselves but to provide the resources,” Minoc said.

Therapinxy recognizes the cultural values, traditions, and social stigmas that may prevent someone from seeking therapy or mental health services. Scholars link feelings of inferiority and shame within the Filipino American community to decades of Spanish and U.S. colonialism in the Philippines, which resulted in widespread colorism, internalized oppression, and colonial mentality across generations.

According to a study published in 2017, Filipino American youth were at higher risk of experiencing depressive symptoms than Chinese American youth during adolescence and young adulthood. Research conducted in 2019 by pediatrician and researcher Dr. Joyce Javier from the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles revealed higher rates of suicidal ideation among Filipina American teenagers compared to other ethnicities. The findings demonstrated the critical need for urgent and proactive measures to educate the community about suicide and family-focused preventive interventions, tackle adolescent mental health disparities, and demand increased funding for comprehensive research.

With a commitment to social justice and healing generational trauma, Christy Andres Tonel, Grants Manager for Therapinxy, founded Compassionate Connections to provide healing-centered yoga for communities facing and recovering from trauma through classes and retreats grounded in community.

“When you realize you can lean on people who want to guide you, who want to support and uplift you and want you well and happy, you realize it’s not so scary,” Tonel said.

Therapinxy adopts a holistic approach to destigmatize negative perceptions associated with mental health, assisting Filipin@/xs in achieving mental wellness through the body and mind by offering methods to meet their specific needs.

Minoc says mental health and well-being should be considered an umbrella term encompassing a wide range of practices, including prevention, personal growth, and fun activities.

“Just as with physical health, there are big scary moments in mental health, but there are also preventative measures that can make you feel good, stronger, and faster,” Minoc said. “We should not just focus on working through stress, anxiety, and family or work issues, but also on building emotional awareness, problem-solving skills, and appropriate responses.

Therapinxy hopes to encourage dialogue and emphasize the benefits of seeking support through fun and engaging events with DJs, cocktails, and performers.

“We want people to know that mental health is not just about trauma or negative experiences. There are many different ways to work on your mental health, and it’s not just about there being something wrong with you,” Minoc said.

A main priority of Therapinxy is to ensure their free to low-cost services are accessible to anyone considering therapy services. Exploring the intersection of ancestral and spiritual roots in healing, they utilize social media campaigns and virtual workshops to raise awareness about mental health and dispel the misconception that therapy is only accessible to a privileged few.

Ruth Christine Dimagmaliw is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Community Engagement Associate at Therapinxy. She works closely with people of color, children of immigrants, and multi-generational Americans navigating familial relationships, societal expectations, and cultural values in their everyday lives.

“Mental health is an everyday asset in our lives that we have to take care of. People need to know that it’s more accessible than they think,” Dimagmaliw said. “There are different ways to access our mental health, whether by engaging in our self-care practices and other forms of healing, building out our own community, or being able to surround yourself with people who want to heal.”

Therapinxy’s passion for mental health advocacy extends to the vital role of supporting community members and wellness providers.

“It deepens my understanding of my identity and how I carry myself for others. I think that’s equally important and reassuring who I am as a person to make sure that other folks feel safe enough to express who they are as people when they’re with me. It definitely keeps me grounded in that sense,” Dimagmaliw said.

Since beginning in 2020 and launching their online directory in June 2022, Therapinxy has made notable strides beyond the teams’ imagination. From connecting with over 100 Filipinx mental health and wellness resources, therapists, and healers to reaching over 280 cities globally, Therapinxy hopes the love and support will continue to grow and spread awareness nationwide and internationally.

“This is just the service that folks never knew they quite needed. As an organization, I know we’re still fairly new. There are still people discovering who we are as an organization and the services we provide,” Dimagmaliw said. “I really hope that we are able to provide that centralized platform where folks can find people when they need them.”

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