La Cocina provides much needed mental health understanding and care for the Latinx community

“I didn’t know what to do or where to go,” Gonzalez continued. Out of desperation he said he had decided to open up to his current employer, La Cocina.

The kitchen is a non-profit mental health clinic. Latinx, Latinx lead and Latinx serving are founded.

Janina Fari, founder and CEO of La Cocinanas, PhD

The literal translation of La Cocina is “the kitchen”. The history of their name comes from the Peasant movement with Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez. “They organized themselves in the kitchen … and often closed their meetings by saying: ‘All revolutions begin in the kitchen'”, said Janina Fari, founder and CEO of La Cocina.nas, PhD

La Cocina started after the 2016 election, when they noticed the rising rates of anxiety and depression among immigrant groups. Their team now includes more than 17 professionals, including qualified psychologists, counselors, social workers, marriage and family therapists, mentors and educators, and health promotion practitioners.

As an organization, they serve nine Colorado counties. So far, La Cocina claims to have facilitated mental health recovery for over 1,000 Latinx families. Their multidisciplinary teams have grown to include trainers and program leaders.

“People believe that the mental health of our community was much worse than that of the white communities. But this is really a misunderstanding, ”Fari saidnhow.

“In the Latinx community, people are diagnosed with excessive mental illness. This is true for some groups, however when it comes to children with developmental disorders or children with a non-neurotypical developmental presentation, one of the things that happens is that they are underdiagnosed, “Fari said.nhow.

He said people in schools might notice something different with the child, but since the child is bilingual or monolingual in Spanish, Farinas mentioned, they may not take it out and think it will work on its own.

“The problem with this view is that there is a big difference between being bilingual and having needs that are perhaps different from other children in school.” This pattern, she said, is what leads many families like Gonzalez’s to go undiagnosed for a long time.

As bilingual and multicultural people, La Cocina professionals can see where the child may need additional support.

“There is an important role for us at La Cocina in collaborating with school systems so that we can prevent it,” said Fari.nhow.

This is one of their main missions in La Cocina: to ensure that families are supported and receive the help they need.

“This piece about allowing our community to really define for themselves what the healing journey is, needs to be centered,” said Fari.nhow.

La Cocina accepts referrals from other agencies and people can also call them directly. The services are completely free and La Cocina offers various programs, even for new parents.

“It was a blessing for me to have them. Not only did they help me fight for my son, they helped me fight for my mental health, ”said Gonzalez.

Cocina supported her as she transitioned to the new school, taught her about her son’s rights as a special needs student, and even held therapy sessions for her for a year.

“I’ve gotten to the point where I can talk about it now, there was a time when I was crying,” said Gonzalez. He gives enormous credit to his support system with La Cocina. “Now they are my family; I love them and feel completely comfortable and empowered with them ”.


Sonia Gutierrez is a Rocky Mountain PBS media journalist. You can reach it at [email protected].

Julio Sandoval is a Rocky Mountain PBS media journalist. You can reach it at [email protected].

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