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It’s no secret that mental health issues don’t get the same focus, attention or treatment that physical ailments do. Although awareness is on the rise, mental health issues are often either misunderstood, or worse yet, stigmatized. This is especially true in Latino/x communities. Where cultural, language and generational differences make it even more difficult to bridge the gap of understanding.

None of the above is lost on HBO Max’s Pa’lante!, and creative agency, WORD.  The two media companies have collaborated on the short film The Healing of Us. The final film of a four-part digital content series and community campaign Are You Listening?

The short film, which is led by mental health experts and notable Latino/x voices Sasha Merci, Josie Rosario, and Carlos Gomez, addresses the stigmas behind mental health across Latino/x communities.

The Setting

Setting the scene is a fundamental part of storytelling.  The Healing of Us accomplishes this through a roundtable discussion set on a recreated salon illustrating iconic symbolisms found in barbershops and hair salons. The aesthetic reflects how these establishments have become a safe space to share experiences, emotions, and their transitions to adulthood.

The Message

The panelists share their unique experiences as well as highlight clips from HBO Max “Habla Now” and “Habla Men” segments where Latino/x notables Diane Guerrero, Ricardo Restrepo and Barbra Herr, also share their experiences. Throughout the conversation, the panelists express their personal accounts on their journey towards therapy. The generational differences and most importantly privilege in language, emotional intelligence, communal affordability and accessibility. The negative connotations around men and emotional expression, as well as communal healing.

“We are constantly hurting each other. No one is stepping back and asking what am I doing wrong and how do I heal the inner child that was never able to heal?” asked comedian, writer, and co-lead actress from the HBO Max film, De Lo Mio, Sasha Merci. “Seek help in the best way that you can. Reach out to your community, reach out to people you feel you can trust…it’s about being around people that are trying to heal as much as you. If we can heal ourselves, we can heal an entire community,” she added.

The Goal

Quite simply – awareness, understanding and impact.  Jessica Vargas, Director, Multicultural Marketing at HBO Max told us “Our partnership with WORD and the universal experiences shared in “Habla” have provided us with thought provoking and engaging conversations that need to be had in our community.”

“We set out to make an impact with the launch of Pa’lante this year and this collaboration is exactly the work we want to elevate, as it embraces all of our experiences and backgrounds”, she added.

One look at this film and you can see it’s creators are one step close to achieving that goal.

The Healing of Us will go live on HBO Max Pa’lante! social platforms and the HBO Max YouTube channel this week. 


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