We had the good fortune of connecting with Luis Cornejo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Luis, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I’m originally from Inglewood, CA, born to a Mexican father and a Guatemalan mother. Growing up we rarely, if ever, talked about mental health. Not only did my parents not have the language, but they didn’t really understand the concept. This isn’t an uncommon experience in most Latinx families. The interesting thing is that individuals in the Latinx community experience higher than average rates of depression, anxiety, and trauma. Yet, most go through life untreated for a variety of reasons including lack of access to mental health services due to financial hardship, transportation, lack of information, stigma, or lack of access to Spanish-speaking therapists. My family was no exception and as very religious people they often resorted to prayer and faith as their answer. Through most of my childhood and early adulthood, I went through various episodes of depression and anxiety due to being gay and not being able to tell my family. It wasn’t until I was in my mid 20’s that I learned about the importance of mental health and I was able to process a lot of my early experiences. This motivated and inspired me to pursue a career in the mental health field. Though I loved the work, I really started thinking about ways to use media to increase mental health awareness and education in a digestible way. This led to co-founding PsychoSocial with my best friend Katherine Dominguez, an associate social worker. I would say that my upbringing inspired me to want to help others and provide information that could help people heal. Understanding mental health and mental illness can make a huge difference in the way people respond and accept help. Mental health advocacy is not only part of who I am today, but it will be a part of who I will be throughout my life.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in the state of California. I specialize in working with the Latinx community, the LGBTQ community, trauma, anxiety, depression, children, and parents. On top of being a mental health professional and advocate, I am also a creative. PsychoSocial is a combination of my love for mental health, education, and creativity. Through PsychoSocial I have been able to highlight different aspects of mental health outside of the therapy room. What makes me proud is the fact that through PsychoSocial I have been able to build community and partnerships that continously inspire me. To get to where I am I had to go through years of education, training, and sacrifice. As a first generation college student it was not easy navigating the system, however, I had wonderful support and determination. The most important lesson I learned along the way was to continously practice self-love and appreciate my story. This really made a difference and allowed me to heal through my own therapy and accomplishments. If there is one thing I would like the world to know about PsychoSocial it’s that we should not be afraid of having conversations about mental health or mental illness. PsychoSocial’s motto is “Knowledge is Healing” and we firmly believe that it can make a difference in people’s lives to have accurate and helpful information.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is a great question! Especially with the shelter in place being in effect for the last two months. However, I would say that the top 3 places I would take a friend in L.A would have to be West Hollywood, Venice Beach, and Downtown. I love dancing and West Hollywood has some of the best music, drinks, and late night pizza! Venice Beach is one of my favorite places because its chill, has lots of interesting shops, and its the beach (how much more L.A can you get). Downtown is one of my favorite places because even though L.A is changing dramatically it still retains a lot of its culture and charm. Currently, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and just like the rest of California it is truly a wonderful place. If a friend visited San Francisco I would definitely take them downtown to go shopping and exploring, the Castro for drinks and dancing, and the Golden Gate Bridge!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to give a shoutout to my parents, partner, and my team at PsychoSocial, Liz Hinojosa, Katherine Dominguez, Cynthia Flores, and Krizia Aldana, who keep me motivated, inspired, and constantly growing!