Over the years, music has provided an outlet for Latin musicians to address mental health issues through their songs. For example, Puerto Rican rapper Residente released his autobiographical “René” in 2020, where he frankly opened up about depression and the dark moments in his life.
Bad Bunny’s 2018 “Estamos Bien,” on the other hand, is about putting your mental health first. In the homemade music video, he brings the important message to life, where we see the Puerto Rican singer taking bathroom selfies with an old video camera, painting his nails purple, packing his swimwear, picking up some friends, road-tripping in La Isla del Encanto, and hanging out with locals and tourists at the beach.
To mark World Mental Health Day (observed on Oct. 10), we’ve compiled a list of songs that raise mental health awareness or bring forth any personal struggles — plus, songs about finding the light at the end of the tunnel after inner turmoil.
According to the official World Health Organization’s website, “the overall objective of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health.” The day is meant to “provide an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.”
From Aterciopelados’ “Luz Azul” to Diego Torres’ “Color Esperanza” to Residente’s “René,” and beyond, see the inspirational list of songs below:
Aterciopelados, “Luz Azul”
In “Luz Azul,” Colombian rock band Aterciopelados sing about seeing the positive things in life when everything is going wrong: “If you stayed without gas/ If they robbed you in the corner/ If they stabbed your soul with a thorn/ If things get bad, remember that life is colorful/ The sky is blue and space is full of light.”
Bad Bunny, “Estamos Bien”
Bad Bunny released his empowering anthem “Estamos Bien” with a special message on social media: “Many times we’re sad and we don’t know why and it’s simply because we forget about the simple things in life. I’m human just like you! And even though I’ve done many big things there are smaller ones that I have yet to achieve. And it’s those smaller things that give happiness.”
Diego Torres, “Color Esperanza”
“I know that the windows can open/ Changing the air depends on you and it will help you and it’ll be worth it,” sings Diego Torres in “Color Esperanza,” which has become an anthem of hope and resilience.
Francisca Valenzuela, “La Fortaleza”
Chilean singer-songwriter Francisca Valenzuela released the diary-style La Fortaleza album in 2020, positioning its title track as the closing cut to the set. “Everything that has happened has gotten me to where I am now/ I look forward and bury the guilt/ I leave, pack my bag and take a deep breath/ I don’t look back,” she sings. The song is about knowing self-worth and understanding you are enough.
Jarabe de Palo, “Bonito”
“Bonita la vida, respira, respira, respira,” is the simple message that Jarabe de Palo send in their 2003 single, reminding fans about the beauty of life and the importance of breathing. The song is an up-tempo, feel-good alternative track that speaks about enjoying the simple things in life.
Kany García feat. Natalia Lafourcade, “Remamos”
The Puerto Rican singer-songwriter García teams up with Natalia Lafourcade for the beautiful and powerful “Remamos,” which talks about a new beginning, leaving behind what has brought you down or hasn’t allowed you to be your true self.
Kendo Kaponi, “Resistencia”
Kaponi’s “Resistencia” takes listeners on a journey about his life in prison and the depression he suffered behind bars. “Court didn’t understand my position and they sentenced me to prison/ Christmas in depression and segregation,” he raps.
Logic & Juanes feat. Alessia Cara & Khalid, “1-800-273-8255”
Juanes joined Logic for the Spanish remix of his powerful track. The song’s title is the phone number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. “There are people in this world that are trying to get through difficult situations and most of them probably are alone — probably they don’t know what to do,” Juanes told Billboard. “Music is always going to be that way to connect with ourselves and the rest of the world, and just find some help through art, because art is such a powerful weapon.”
Pedro Capó & Farruko, “Calma (Remix)”
Not only does the chill, reggae-infused “Calma” bring to the forefront the beauty of Puerto Rico, and tell the story of a tropical kind of love in its lyrics, but it’s also about “going to the beach, disconnecting, and being present,” Capó previously said to Billboard.
The Puerto Rican singer-songwriter and rapper released an introspective song with raw lyrics about depression and dark moments in his life. Writing the personal track was “therapeutic,” he previously told Billboard. “When I fall into depression, I tell my problems to the window of the plan/ Stress has me sick, I haven’t slept in 10 years,” he sings.