J Balvin Encourages Fans to Ditch the 'Macho Thing' and 'Show That You Are Vulnerable'

Singer J Balvin tells PEOPLE why he's thrown his support behind the new bilingual app for the Latinx community, OYE

J Balvin.Photo: OYE

J Balvin is creating a space for the Latinx community to make mental health a priority.

Speaking to PEOPLE about the launch of OYE, the first-ever bilingual wellness app for the Latinx community, the Colombian star — who serves as OYE's chief dream officer — opened up about his own mental health struggles and why he wants others to feel comfortable talking about theirs.

"[Mental health] is definitely a huge taboo already in Latinos — it's probably the macho thing — but that's not cool anymore," the "Azul" singer, 37, tells PEOPLE. "I think that you are macho when you show that you are vulnerable — it doesn't show that you're weak, it's just showing that you're human and you go through ups and downs."

J Balvin.OYE

He continues, "When I see my favorite artist talking about the human side, it makes me feel proud of the person because you can see that behind that huge artist or that huge person that you admire, it's someone just like us."

For Balvin, being a part of a project like OYE hits close to home because he's lived with depression and anxiety since he was young.

"I didn't know what it was and I didn't know that I was having this bad of a wellness situation in general until I started talking about it," he says. "It was beautiful to see how many lives we saved when I started talking about mental health."

Then he realized talking about it wasn't enough — he wanted to do more. When OYE was presented to him, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to help people.

The app is available in English and Spanish and aims to help people feel better by unlocking their creativity and transforming emotions through creative actions. It features emotional check-ins, goal setting exercises and mindful notifications. After the free trial, subscriptions start at $4.99 per month.

"There's a lot of people right now that through their cell phones, it's the only way they express themselves," the "Mi Gente" singer says. "Because sometimes they're just scared to talk about their feelings with other people. Well, it is sad. So that's why we have OYE, because it's not just about me anymore. It's about us."

J Balvin.OYE

He adds, "When you have a neighbor that is happy, he lights up the whole room. You know what I'm saying? So we need more happy people to make the world better."

In Balvin's eyes, this is a step in the right direction — but it's only the beginning of making mental health an everyday topic.

He adds, "We've got to start making these conversation normal, [like we] talk about football and basketball. That's my part. That's my part of this beautiful journey to OYE and my partners, is that it's an extension of myself, of ourself."

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