We’ve all been through certain experiences in our lives that bring us to a dark place. Overcoming the barriers of disability, language and culture can also be alienating. Not to mention, most of the time we are told at a young age that the only way to heal from our trauma is to disregard the turmoil and move on. But, moving on isn’t always the answer.
After her best friend committed suicide in their teen years, RedLily® contributor Nathalye Moreno experienced pain like no other. She had nowhere to turn and no resources to consult. Today, she is determined to help others who are experiencing a deep pain in some way.
Nathalye is the CEO of Mindsolutions, LLC, a non-profit that supports prevention and the ongoing effort to help children with suicidal thoughts and tendencies through education integration. She believes the solution is bringing mental health education and awareness into the school systems. Mindsolutions provides information and education to children with the hope of saving more lives. Education is key.
Here’s how Nathalye is bringing peace into peoples’ lives one day at a time by educating communities about overcoming barriers of disability, language and culture.
By the editor,
Kerrie Lee Brown
Founder of RedLily®
“Overcoming Disability, Language and Culture Barriers”
I am a Venezuelan-American licensed professional counselor, both bicultural and bilingual, who specializes in helping children and families overcome language, culture barriers and conciliated values through mental health therapy. I have to confess that when I immigrated to the United States, I wanted to blend in with the people around me, rather than appreciate and explore what it meant to be different and unique. However, my accent, the color of skin, and my culture – all of these labels and identities made me feel out of place.
I felt rejected. I felt that I did not belong here and that, ultimately, I did not belong anywhere. No longer in my native country, here I am an immigrant – and for a while, that became my sole identity.
On being seen as different
In my experience, being an immigrant closes many doors, you will be in the last position to achieve leadership positions in the community. The silver lining is you gain empathy for other people who feel rejected because they are seen as different, too. I became aware that we all place these labels on society and individuals to understand each other, but in the end, the categorization does not create organization and understanding. It instead creates separation, hate, segregation, bigotry, genocide, and racism.
It’s a matter of perspective
When I gained awareness of this issue, my perception changed, and I took down these labels, allowing myself to exist simply as we all are: human beings. Today, I am not embarrassed about my accent, skin tone, or cultural traditions, and I feel positive about and proud of myself no matter where I am in the world.
Through my teachings, I aim to deliver the message that it’s time to return to the basics of who we are as a society and a global community. We all are of the same kind – we all are human beings who are surviving a global pandemic together, which only reinforces this shared experience.
Through my non-profit Mindsolutions and ZeroGround, we seek to help reduce suicidal rates by educating kids identified with signs of mental illness and help them learn how to approach individuals who have demonstrated self-harm.
For me, the key is to empowerment is remaining true to who I am, being able to access education, learn how to be resilient and have passion for going against conformity. All of these factors help me to see the value in myself and learn how to perceive the world as a picture of unity and not as a threat.
I have also learned the value of empathy. I learned something about myself and about others, which is that we are on this planet to help each other. It is part of human DNA.
I have asked myself many times why I chose this career, and one memory always comes to me. I remember my friends Carlos, Lucia, Maggie, and Katy. Carlos was the kid in the corner that no one wanted to talk to; our classmates called him weird, they made fun of his large ears and mouth, but he never reacted to them. I was the one who was always paired with him in class and he asked me why.
Sadly, I also remember that he would cut himself and talk about dark things; and I never knew what to tell him, or how to help. So, I just tried to be a kind companion for him and a supportive listener.
Similarly, Lucia, Maggie, and Katy were the most fun and sweet girls. They welcomed me with open arms and were always warm and encouraging in my first days at school when I was moved to a new city. Later, I also noticed they were victims of bullying, the other kids called them the “ugly” group. Others asked me why I was hanging out with them and also started bullying me because I decided to be their friend. I never forgot how sad they felt and emotionally exhausting it was for them and myself to go to school.
Mental health awareness
Our emotional and mental health suffers when there are inconsistencies between the image we have of ourselves and what takes place in our immediate experiences. Counseling allows us to gain an accurate perception of who we are in the world and include our feelings in this reality.
“What is done cannot be undone, but one can prevent it from happening again.” – Anne Frank
For that reason, my mission is to provide resources and guidance to young people and their families to attain an “equal world.” I am a strong believer in the power and value of education because it was my own academic experience that helped me understand and seek equality by becoming a strong, independent woman.
As a result, my passion is working with communities where the children and families are at risk for issues such as bullying, rejection, addiction, mental illness, suicide, being a danger to others, and the perpetuation of stigmas and victimization.
What keeps me going
Part of my campaign is to shift labels of race, color, gender, orientation, and age back to “zero ground” to enhance their full potential. Also, our team has designed a program to reach out to children in school who may be struggling.
We believe in teaching kids about mental illness, how to approach individuals with issues and help them, and how to get professional help. Mindsolutions, LLC offers low-cost or free mental health services. The main goal is to provide the tools, treatment and skills necessary to empower youth in our community.
“When you are no longer identified with any labels, you enhance your understanding for others, adopt new values and learn to respect people for how they really are; you have opened the doors to reach more people.”
Thank you for reading my story,
About the author:
Nathalye Moreno is a Venezuelan-American licensed professional counselor, with majors in Psychology and Business Administration. She is bicultural and bilingual (English/Spanish) and specializes in providing children and families with inclusive and empathic mental health therapy, overcoming the barriers of disability, language and culture through formal academic experience, which helped her understand and seek equality in her personal and professional life, leading to her becoming a strong, independent woman. She is extremely passionate about providing mental health tools to achieve an equal world and provide a safe place for people who are feeling like outsiders. For more information, visit her website or email [email protected] Stay in the loop by visiting YouTube.
Photo of Nathalye Moreno courtesy of Graphique Fine Art Photography