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Breaking Down Barriers to Mental Healthcare

Meet Matthew Gomez

Asking for mental health help can be daunting. But, thanks to a recent donation from the T.W. Lewis Foundation, the Valleywise Health Community Health Center – West Maryvale added a new position to provide more behavioral health counseling services to the underserved.

Meet Matthew Gomez, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who grew up in Glendale, Arizona. He has a wealth of experience providing psychotherapy and social services in both healthcare and educational settings. Now, he provides care to patients at Valleywise Health in the West Valley.

Gomez is a Mexican American who grew up in the community where he works. He attended Glendale High School and earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in social work at Arizona State University.

“My journey started in public service by working with children and family systems,” said Gomez. “I spent a few years as a child welfare investigator and then transitioned to special education, working with teenagers and high school students. Through these experiences, I realized many of the barriers to achieving a functional lifestyle related to mental health and healing. If you don’t have mental health, how do you succeed in other facets of your life?”

Gomez started his work at Valleywise Health last September. Since then, he has focused on ramping up and learning about Valleywise Health systems and the patients the organization serves. Currently, he is primarily working with women and adolescents. He sees roughly 25-30 patients a week, but the need is even greater.

“It is very important to me to provide care to everyone in need, regardless of their socioeconomic barriers,” said Gomez. At Valleywise Health, we treat patients of all backgrounds, age ranges, and acuities, both in the clinic and via telehealth. We provide access to people who don’t feel comfortable seeing us in person and those who lack financial means or reliable transportation. We want everyone to have access to mental health services.”

Gomez uses a humanistic approach to relate to his patients and understands the importance of finding the right therapist, with whom patients can build a connection.

“For many cultures, the stigma of receiving mental health care can be an obstacle to getting help,” added Gomez. “As a Latino, it is important to me to represent my community and connect with patients with similar backgrounds and cultural identities.”

Gomez believes that supporting the community with things like access to mental health services has the potential to make an enormous impact both short- and long-term.

“At the end of the day, to anyone dealing with a mental health crisis, you are not alone,” added Gomez. “Everyone has their own challenges, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

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