Mental Health Association Outreach to the Spanish-Speaking Community

Article Contributed by
Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County

The cover story in the recent Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) newsletter tells the story of certified peer specialist Luis Rosa. The Puerto Rican native’s dual language skills have enabled the MHA to extend their services to many Spanish-speaking members of the community.

Thanks to the Spanish language skills of Luis Rosa, a Certified Peer Specialist trained in Recovery Coaching and a Certified Mental Health First Aid trainer, 74 Spanish-speaking participants got connected to resources during the last fiscal year of the Mental Health Association (MHA) in Chautauqua County.

Rosa’s story is featured on the cover of the MHA’s Fall 2017 Newsletter. It tells of his journey from the Bronx back to his native Puerto Rico, his subsequent schooling at Columbia University in New York City, and his eventual settling in Jamestown. Downturns in his life led to substance use disorders, till he found his way through support at the MHA, where he can now help people who might otherwise go unaided.

Of the Mental Health Association, Rosa says, “If I had to start all over again, I would start here.” Pointing out that participants come back even after they are out of a crisis situation, he said, “I like this place because I’m helping others. I encourage them: ‘I did it, you can, too.'”

The newsletter also describes Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s visit to the MHA, Mental Health First Aid Training, and collaborations with the Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention, A Fresh Start, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, and Jamestown Community College’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Program.

Another piece explains the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) score, a tally of different types of abuse, neglect, and other hallmarks of a rough childhood. The ACE study found a stunning link between multiple stressful events in childhood and chronic diseases, as well as social, emotional and behavioral problems.

The newsletter can be read in its entirety on the MHA website by clicking on “Read Our Newsletter” at mhachautauqua.org.

The Mental Health Association is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center, in Jamestown, New York. More than two dozen peer support groups meet there every week, with focuses including Veterans, Jobs, Spanish Language, Women’s PTSD, AA Living Sober, Parents in Recovery, and many more.

The MHA works in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and treatment courts to help participants be successful in attaining their goals. In an accepting environment, it provides recovery coaching by certified peer specialists as well as support groups and classes.

There is no charge for any of the MHA’s services or programs.

To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua. A list of support groups and classes is at mhachautauqua.org/services.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.