Daisy Cardenas is working as a bilingual clinician at Side By Side, alongside her third year of studies in the counseling psychology graduate program at the University of San Francisco. Side By Side, a Bay Area nonprofit, serves at-risk youth and their families. As part of its therapeutic behavioral services team in Santa Rosa, Daisy will continue to provide intensive, in-home support services for children with moderate to severe behavioral challenges.
In addition, Daisy serves as program coordinator for Santa Rosa Junior College’s HOPE program, which provides support to first-generation, low-income students pursuing careers in health care. The program aims to increase the number of bilingual and bicultural professionals in the field.
Daisy, the eldest of five children, became the first in her family to go to college. She earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Sonoma State University in 2018. She decided to pursue a master’s in marriage and family therapy after learning about the growing rate of individuals with mental illness in the criminal justice system. Daisy would like to work with individuals impacted by trauma, as well as combat the stigma around mental health, particularly in the Latinx community. Raised in a Spanish-speaking immigrant community in Richmond in the East Bay, Daisy saw firsthand the impacts of mental health stigma and the need for bilingual and bicultural health and mental health providers. She said she is grateful for the Mental Health Talent Pipeline Project scholarship, which is helping pay for a portion of her tuition at USF. The project aims to increase the number of bilingual mental health professionals in Sonoma County.
“Now that I am working as a clinician … I can see how high the need for bilingual, bicultural professionals in this field is. I am thankful to be part of the effort to close the [access] gap,” she said.
Daisy also expressed gratitude for the support she has received from Healthcare Foundation staff and the other scholarship recipients. She said, “I am so thankful because I have created a deep connection with the Pipeline recipients. … All of us who have received this scholarship have created a sisterhood.”