Unspoken Barriers: Dr. Ballestas

August 19, 2021



AARON: The fear of opening up and talking to people really scared me.

ASHIMA: I remember not speaking, ‘cause I was isolating. I was pulling away from the world.

AARON: Growing up, culturally, for us in the African American community and being male, you’re taught to just kinda suck it up.

DR.MIRNA BALLESTAS: Oftentimes, individuals are hesitant to approach mental health professionals. There’s always this relation of, others have had it worse. I’m not able, I’m not allowed to feel debilitated or to feel stuck by this experience or by these feelings.

ASHIMA: I think there’s stigmas around this idea that if you’re living with a mental health condition, you can’t live a healthy, happy, fulfilling life.

AARON: The first time when I started to seek help was very difficult for me. It was very challenging.

ASHIMA: The truth was, I always wanted to talk about it, because that in itself is therapeutic.

DR.MIRNA BALLESTAS: I will do my best to respect and to offer a healthy, safe space.

AARON: It’s like a boost in the arm of energy to say, hey, you know, I’m not feeling good today, doc. And he’s always on it.

ASHIMA: I have the right support system, and I will always be talking about mental health in any capacity that I can.

AARON: There’s people that you can talk to. We just gotta make folks know that we care.