About Estoy Aquí

Estoy Aqui means I Am Here” in Spanish

Estoy Aqui means
I Am Here”
in Spanish

Our guiding principle is “Estoy Aquí para Ti, Tú Estás Aquí para Mí” – “I Am Here for You, You are Here for Me.” This mantra reflects our commitment to providing a supportive community where individuals can find solace, understanding, and validation.

Reflecting on my own journey, I often wonder how different things could have been if I had Estoy Aqui during my younger years. It could have spared me from the burden of guilt and shame that settled in my heart. You see, I believed that everything was my fault, that I was solely responsible for my struggles. However, had I found Estoy Aqui, my suicidal thoughts would have been acknowledged as a rational and protective response against oppression.

This is why at Estoy Aqui, we believe that to truly eliminate suicide, we must delve deeper, exploring the root causes behind pain and trauma.

Estoy Aqui means I Care about Your Story

Estoy Aqui believes in the power of storytelling, recognizing that the knowledge gained from painful and traumatic experiences is not only valid but also a valuable source of information. We understand that suicide is a language of pain. Rather than turning away or dismissing this language, we seek to translate it, to listen, and ask questions rooted in curiosity and compassion.

In this way, the sharing of these stories is not only seen as a powerful act of vulnerability, but also as a courageous act of protection. We believe that through sharing stories, communities can be shielded against the physical act of suicide and the complexities of mental health issues. Each story shared becomes a building block, fortifying the collective wisdom of shared experiences that can heal wounds, transform lives, and save souls.

Estoy Aqui means Sigo Aqui, I Am Still Here

Estoy Aqui is more than just a name; it is a declaration to the world: “Sigo Aquí, I Am Still Here.” This is a testament to the enduring strength found within community and alternative cultural systems. For we know that it is possible to belong to a community that is present and equipped with the knowledge and skills to sustain us.

We promote the intrinsic worth of interdependence, emphasizing the importance of curiosity, validation, and consent when supporting others. No longer bound by the notion of individual responsibility and resilience, Estoy Aqui dares to hold systems accountable. We understand that true wellness requires a collective effort, a transformative shift that encompasses not just ourselves but the systems that shape our lives.

Image created by Alyse Ruriani. Check out her website and Instagram

Who is Ysabel Garcia?

“I combine theory with real-world experience, fostering an environment that encourages growth, learning, and transformation.”

My name is Ysabel Garcia, and I am a Dominican immigrant with a bold and ambitious mission to dive heart first into raw and honest conversations about mental health, social justice, and suicide.

Having survived the psychiatric system myself, I have witnessed firsthand the detrimental effects of mainstream mental health practices that often disregard the social and cultural factors contributing to mental health issues. Despite this, I maintain a sense of humor and openly discuss my experiences with suicide ideation, aiming to inspire others to do the same.

My extensive involvement in esteemed organizations, such as the Lived Experience Advisory Committee for the Suicide Prevention Resource Center and the Springfield Youth Mental Health Coalition, demonstrates my commitment to making a tangible impact in the field. As a Community Faculty member at Baystate/UMass PURCH and a Co-Trainer at Growing A New Heart, I actively contribute to shaping the future of social justice and training.

Notable media features, including features in the Boston Globe, Psychology Today, Mad in America, and Verywell Mind, speaks to the credibility and expertise I bring to the table. Moreover, my prominent role in the groundbreaking documentary MOSAIC, exploring the intersection of racism and health equity, showcases my ability to connect with diverse audiences and communicate complex ideas effectively.

My recognitions also speak to my commitment to advocate for suicide upstream prevention within communities. These include being honored as part of the 2023 ALX100 by Amplify Latinx, recognized in the 40 Under 40 2022 Class by Business West, receiving the Miss Altered States Award in 2021, and being honored as a Latinx Amplifier in 2020.

Moreover, my academic and training background fortifies my expertise in the field. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Bay Path University, providing me with a solid foundation in understanding the complexities of mental health and public health dynamics. I also hold certifications in Intentional Peer Support, Nonviolent Communication, Intergroup Dialogue, and Basic Mediation. These certifications have equipped me with valuable tools to address diverse needs and facilitate meaningful change.

Together, we can embark on a journey of meaningful dialogue and actionable change! Contact me today to explore how I can provide a training program specifically for your organization’s needs.