• Mariana Sierra

Mental Health in the Borderland: Part One


During these unprecedented times, conversations about mental health have become more common. We constantly see social posts about how we can take care of our mental health during the pandemic and how to start those types of conversations with our loved ones. However, our borderland community is quite distinctive. In fact, many of us were in the process of healing from the August 3rd tragedy when the pandemic began.

In a recent conversation I had with an old friend, she shared with me how confused she was because of the way everything was unfolding all at once. It can be overwhelming. At the FRC, we understand it can be especially hard for our community. As we near the one-year mark of August 3rd, we want to take the time to discuss the importance of mental health as well as encourage individuals to have an open dialogue about seeking mental health.

On this episode, we speak to Emergence Health Network’s Chief of Clinical Services, Celeste Nevarez. Celeste walks us through what mental health means, the benefits of focusing on it and how we can openly discuss it with friends and family. Through our conversation, we learn the ways in which our mental health is equally as important as physical health. We’ll also discuss current stigmas that surround mental health in our region and how we can begin to erase those stigmas from our community.

A Native El Pasoan Committed to our Region The amazing Celeste Nevarez is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor who graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology in 2008. She continued her education at Arizona State University and in 2010, earned a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology.

She soon realized that our borderland needed more resources on mental health. The desire to provide those resources for our community lead her back to El Paso. Through her education and experiences, Celeste has developed her expertise in adolescent issues, the impact of trauma, and empowering women. Celeste utilizes an array of modalities to serve her clients, including CBT, EMDR, TF-CBT, and Motivational Interviewing.

Mental Health in El Paso In our discussion with Celeste, we learned that members of our community are becoming more open to seeking mental health, however, there’s still a lot of work to be done. There are still stigmas that surround mental health that need to be addressed.

Most of the times we might feel afraid of being judged or seem as week for asking for help. Nonetheless, as Celeste reflects, mental health is equally as important as physical health. We go to the doctor to get a yearly physical, but for some reason, we don’t prioritize our mental state. We must recognize that feelings and emotions are key components to our overall well-being too. In my experience, seeking help has made me feel empowered and loved. Celeste suggestions that to remove those stigmas surrounding mental health, we need to normalize having those conversations at our dinner tables.

Another misconception is that we often believe that going to therapy is only for the wealthy. Media constantly portrays this concept to society which is untrue. Therapy, if that’s you or a loved one’s next step, can be attainable. There are many options for everyone, and Emergence Health Network is a good resource in El Paso.

Every Journey to Healing is Different and Unique One of the things that I’ve learned as a team member of the FRC, is that everyone’s journey is different. My journey to long-term recovery is different from yours and that’s okay. We are all different.

Since I embarked this healing process, I have realized that there is beauty in recognizing that everyone’s journey is different. There are different resources that can adapt to YOUR needs.

I’m a huge fan of non-traditional therapies. Non-traditional therapies can supplement and boost traditional therapy. For example, I started my journey by journaling. Journaling helped me realize that there were some things I needed to address with a professional. Currently, I’ve joined different types of counseling sessions but writing my feelings supplements my therapy session and helps me with my daily mental health.


We encourage our community to seek different ways that can improve their mental health. For some people its physical activity and for others it can be listening to a podcast. Listen to your body and mind to do what makes you feel the best version of yourself.

Next Steps Towards Healing There’s a lot of power in asking for help. If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or depressed, please do not hesitate to reach out to our staff at the FRC. It is okay if we don’t feel strong all the time, but we can feel united. We have each other and we will heal together.

We’d love to get the conversation going. Share with us what is your favorite way of taking care of your mental health? Ask your family members or friends what does mental health mean to them. It is important to start these conversations to recognize the meaning of mental health in our lives and how it has impacted us.

Press play and take a listen to learn more.


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