Mexico’s Next Big Step: FundaMental

April 03, 2024
This story took place in Mexico

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When thoughts turn to Mexico, a variety of words naturally spring to mind: gastronomy, culture, entertainment, vibrancy, and, for some, the concept of home. However, certain terms rarely enter the mental landscape, such as political stability and social justice. Unfortunately, “mental health” is also not a widely considered concept in Mexico, largely due to a lack of awareness, limited access to treatment, and pervasive stigma.

Having spent my entire life in Mexico, proudly born and raised, I’ve attended school here, formed enduring friendships, and triumphed over formidable challenges. My roots run deep in Mexican soil, shaping my soul and identity, and I’m forever grateful and proud of that. Nevertheless, this pride coexists with the harsh reality of insufficient mental health resources in my country. 

Since the age of 14, I actively sought a team of professionals to help me navigate the depression and anxiety I grappled with at the time. Securing professional help remained a challenge, finding the right therapist felt daunting, and affording one presented its own set of difficulties. Access to mental health treatment in Mexico is not straightforward, nor is it affordable, regardless of the diagnosis or prognosis.

As my condition deteriorated, and the need for intensive treatment grew, my options became increasingly limited. Eventually, we faced the difficult decision that I had to seek treatment outside my native country due to the lack of available options in Mexico. I had to undergo inpatient treatment for depression, anxiety, self-harm, and an eating disorder. Making this significant change at the age of 16 was already a substantial challenge, and I had to leave my family and home to receive help in Orange County, CA, for a little over four months.

This scenario repeated when I turned 19, requiring institutionalization once again, this time in a psychiatric hospital for a complete recovery. The inevitability of leaving the country didn’t make it any easier. This time, I spent six weeks at the Menninger Clinic in Houston, TX.

The alarming lack of access to mental health treatment, information, and safe spaces in Mexico is heartbreaking and life-threatening. The pervasive stigma surrounding mental illnesses infiltrates households, classrooms, and conversations like a plague, affecting the most intimate and vulnerable aspects of one’s inner dialogue. Coupled with restricted access to treatment and resources, Mexico faces a high prevalence of mental illnesses with a disproportionately low rate of treatment.

In a nation where 38.5 million citizens grapple with Major Depressive Disorder and a mere 2.1% can access treatment and medication, concerning signals emerge. When we witness the suicide rate nearly tripling in the age group of 15-29 since 1994 (from 2,603 to 8,432 cases), it becomes evident that the issue extends beyond mere unawareness and stigma.

Having experienced firsthand the repercussions of limited access to treatment, exorbitant costs, pervasive stigma, and scarce resources, I’ve chosen to take matters into my own hands. I’ve decided to stop waiting for change to materialize and become the force of change myself. Armed with experience and passion, I am determined to plant the initial seed for a better Mexico and witness the transformative currents of change come to life.

In collaboration with my mom and my best friend, we’ve established the NGO “FundaMental,” a pro-mental health organization committed to eradicating stigma and providing treatment scholarships. Our aim is to ensure people of all ages and socio-economic levels have access to top-tier psychological treatment, encompassing therapy, psychiatry, and medication.

Although Fundamental is in its early stages, we acknowledge there’s a long journey ahead. However, we remain optimistic that change is inevitable and are prepared to go above and beyond to bring it about. Advocating for mental health is my life’s calling. I believe that overcoming my own pain and anguish has equipped me with valuable insights and resilience to guide and help others facing similar challenges.

Today, we are actively shaping a better Mexico—one with increased access, understanding, kindness, love, and empathy for those dealing with mental illnesses. FundaMental stands as a significant step forward for Mexico’s mental health landscape, and we welcome support and assistance from advocates worldwide. Stay tuned, as in the coming months, I’ll share more about FundaMental’s impact, and anyone eager to contribute to this life-changing initiative has a special place at our table.



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