Since 1949, May has been officially recognized as Mental Health Month. Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally, with an estimated 22.1 percent of Americans age 18 and older or 1 in 5 adults suffering from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year.
Recognizing the signs of mental illness is important. Feelings of sadness, anxiety, worry or sleep problems are not uncommon. However, where these feelings get intense, last for long periods of time or begin to interfere with school, friendships and other relationships, it may be a sign of a mental illness and time to seek professional help.
Counseling ethics require that mental health services be provided to everyone regardless of their race, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion or disability. Mental health services should be accessible and confidential. Mental health services help people work through emotional issues and deal with life situation. Imagine that you speak only Spanish and your counselor does not. What do you do?
In partnership with Chautauqua County Office of Mental Hygiene, Family Service of the Chautauqua Region seek to reduce the number of Latino-Hispanic mentally ill who require but are not receiving effective mental health services by providing trained interpreters who themselves are persons of Latino-Hispanic heritage and are fluent in both Spanish and English.
Working in both ends of the county, primarily with: Chautauqua County Mental Health, The Resource Center and WCA Hospital; interpreters are available to Latino-Hispanic clients, at no cost to them, for the purpose of accessing mental health services. These interpreters maintain the confidentiality of every conversation and seek to help the client feel comfortable in the counseling setting.
There are many barriers to accessing mental health services for the Latino-Hispanic community including insurance, culture and language. Working together with the mental health providing agencies, Family Service of the Chautauqua Region Hispanic Outreach staff help overcome these barriers by providing culturally sensitive interpretation services. Latino-Hispanics often have different attitudes about accessing mental health services and may feel highly stigmatized for doing so. Access to culturally appropriate and effective care is critical to overcoming these obstacles.
We know that it is difficult for an English speaking person to seek mental health services. Imagine someone who speaks no English. The simple task of making a phone call or talking to a service provider can be nearly impossible for someone who does not speak English. That is why this service is so valuable to this community. Since 2001, Chautauqua County Office of Mental Hygiene and Family Service of the Chautauqua Region have come together to make sure that no Latino-Hispanic in this community will be denied services because of a language barrier.
The vision of the program is:
To bridge the gap between the Latino-Hispanic community and mental health service providers.
To assist Latino-Hispanic families and individuals in gaining access to area resources and mental health service providers.
To provide a continuum of care for mental health services.
To assist Latino-Hispanic families and individuals become self-sufficient.
According to the most recent census, there are 8,229 Latino-Hispanics in Chautauqua County. This is up from 5,901 in 2000. This substantial growth has put a strain on some resources making it even more difficult for members of the Latino-Hispanic community to access services on their own. We can help you with this. If you are Latino-Hispanic with a mental health need, contact one of the mental health service providers: Chautauqua County Office of Mental Hygiene Behavioral Health, 661-8330 (Jamestown) or 363-3550 (Dunkirk); The Resource Center, 661-1590 (Jamestown) or 366-6858 (Dunkirk); or WCA Hospital Mental Health Services, 664-8641 (Jamestown) or 363-0018 (Dunkirk). They will set you up with a mental health professional and an interpreter. Language need not be a barrier in receiving needed mental health services.