In the Latine community many people may avoid seeking mental health care for various reasons. Some of these reasons include language barriers, limited access to affordable care and stigma surrounding mental health among their friends and family. Additionally, people of color often experience racism, discrimination and bias in medical settings, deepening distrust and stifling people from seeking help when they need it. More than half of Hispanic young adults ages 18-25 with serious mental illness may not receive treatment. To address this issue, the Latino Network is working to bring culturally competent behavioral health options to the families they serve, funded in part by Cambia Health Foundation.
At Cambia Health Foundation, we invest in organizations that are working toward a future where every person has an equal opportunity to live the healthiest life possible – and behavioral health care is an important component of that. Last year, Latino Network received a grant from the Foundation. With the funding, they launched their plan to implement a pilot program in the 2023 school year and to provide mental health services to more than 100 Latine students.
“Our goal is to continue to grow the number of Community Health Workers who can support Latine youth and families in our area, and build deep trust over time and increase accessibility to much-needed mental and behavioral health services in this post-pandemic era,” states Lorena Mosqueda, Latino Network’s director of health & wellness.
Cultural competence embodies the importance of providing culturally and linguistically appropriate health care to people in cross-cultural communities. They are doing this in many ways, including examples such as:
- Increasing access to mental health care for youth by incorporating services into after-school programs, specifically for 6th-8th graders.
- Developing a certification program for Latino Network staff who are already providing essential mental health services.
- Partnering with culturally-grounded nonprofits and providers to help community health workers gain specialized mental health training and help them become certified as Qualified Mental Health Associates.
Latino Network strives to empower the families they serve to have the knowledge and skills to make decisions that support their health and wellness. As a reflection of that work, the model of mental health services for youth is centered around increasing youth’s knowledge about their own mental health needs, decreasing loneliness, and providing youth with clinical and social interventions with a provider.
“We are on track to submit our Certificate of approval (COA) application by the end of summer 2023 to get us closer to our goal of implementing mental health programing and direct mental health services to our Latine youth and broader Spanish speaking community,” explains Mosqueda. “And this wouldn’t be possible without our valued and trusted partnership with Cambia Health Foundation.”
July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, a platform to raise awareness of the unique mental health struggles that marginalized racial and ethnic communities face in the United States. By highlighting these disparities, we can challenge stigma and advocate for equitable access to mental health resources. We’re proud to highlight the work of Latino Network, which is funded within our Resilient Children & Families area of focus, and their impactful work in expanding the availability and utilization of behavioral health services among the communities they serve.