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Zoom Into Dad’s Mental Health: Supporting Fathers in the Rio Grande Valley

In January 2020, RGV DADS embarked on a mission to address a pressing yet often overlooked issue: mental health support for fathers. We met with Jeremy San Miguel and Dr. Cynthia Cavazos-Gonzalez from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) to start discussions on how we could provide much-needed support to dads in our community.

One of our members, Joe, shared a poignant observation that sparked our journey. He recounted attending prenatal visits with his significant other and noticing that while mothers’ well-being was carefully monitored, no one asked about the fathers. Joe’s experience highlighted a significant gap in the care system—dads were not being included in discussions about parental mental health.

In February 2020, we held our first mental health meeting at the UTRGV psychology clinic under the supervision of Dr. Cynthia Cavazos-Gonzalez. With her experience facilitating support groups for men who had suffered traumatic brain injuries, she brought invaluable insights into the effectiveness of support groups for men. Her guidance was instrumental in shaping our approach to supporting fathers.

However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 forced us to rethink our approach. In-person meetings were no longer viable, so we transitioned to virtual meetings via Zoom. Thus, "Zoom Into Dad’s Mental Health" was born. These meetings are held every Thursday, lasting about an hour, where we typically discuss three questions and leave the remaining time for “DADvice,” an open space for dads to share advice and support.

Our efforts received a significant boost in January 2024 when the Knapp Community Care Foundation awarded RGV DADS a grant to support our Zoom Into Dad’s Mental Health program. This generous grant has enabled us to expand our reach, particularly to fathers in the mid-Valley area. Moreover, we have initiated hybrid meetings at two local coffee shops in Weslaco and Elsa, Texas. Both venues are owned by local dads, providing a familiar and supportive environment. Participants are treated to a beverage and have a chance to win a gift card through a raffle, adding a fun incentive to our gatherings.

Betuzas Coffee Cafe

At RGV DADS, we are proud to champion the mental health of fathers. We firmly believe that supporting dads not only enhances their well-being but also positively impacts their families and future generations. Through our ongoing efforts and the continued support of our community, we strive to make a lasting difference in the lives of fathers throughout the Rio Grande Valley.

Join us every Thursday and be a part of this transformative journey. Together, we can ensure that dads receive the support they deserve, fostering healthier families and stronger communities.

Weslaco's Daily Grind

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