Brother Be Well Wellness for Boys and Men of Color

As a young, gay, immigrant man with low socioeconomic status, Patrick had to scratch and claw his way through the education system. He relentlessly fought for his American dream. After graduating from the University of California, Davis with highest honors, Patrick continued to further his education. He obtained his master’s degree and is currently a Physician Associate (PA) in the department of Dermatology at the University of California, Davis. It’s one of his missions to help patients lead healthier lives. 

Patrick’s passion to care for others does not stop at his work as a PA. Over the years, Patrick worked to overcome self-stigmatizing his mental health struggles and became a public speaker, sharing his recovery journey with others. He aims to inspire others to take charge in their own healing journey. 

“You have to be your own hero,” Patrick says. “People always say, ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way.’ It’s so true. It might not be the way you want to take, but there is a way.

In his line of advocacy work, Patrick holds a special place for SchoolHouse Connection, formerly known as NAEHCY’s LeTendre Fund. Their scholarship program gave him the boost he needed to spring into the world of higher education. He plans to take a more active role with this organization once he is more established in his career to give back to struggling students.

Another milestone Patrick was very proud of was his coming out experience. He became more comfortable with being a gay man and was determined to come out to his family when he reached the age of twenty-one. One day on the way home from a family vacation with his aunt, Patrick mumbled to his aunt, “Auntie, I’m gay.” He feared he would be rejected by the one person he loved the most in this whole world.

“Honey,” she replied simply, “I know.”

Patrick’s aunt, one of the women who had kept him alive as an infant, had thought nonstop about her nephew even after she immigrated to the United States to start a new life. When she learned why he had left his mother’s house, she’d done her research and learned that LGBTQ+ youth are more prone to mental health issues due to bullying and rejection. She also learned that her nephew might face discrimination wherever he went. Most importantly, she learned that to Patrick, being gay was just part of who he was. He was still the little boy whom she loved with all her heart.  

Patrick broke into tears in the car ride home. There was no explanation, no justification, no judgment, just a nephew and his aunt driving home together. It may have been a cold winter day, but their hearts were warm and full of love. Patrick felt a sense of relief as tension eased from his shoulders. After decades of abuse, neglect, and rejection for who he was, Patrick received what every human being ought to have: unconditional love. For once, he didn’t have to fight for his right to exist just as he was. 

Being accepted, or better yet, celebrated for exactly who you are is how one can heal and thrive. It’s the most important message Patrick wants the readers of his story to take away from his journey. If everyone plays their part in promoting mental health awareness, children like “little Patrick” would not have to suffer alone in silence.

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