Campus

Charlas de Saludad Supports Latinx Students’ Mental Health

(Graphic By Mary Guevara/Indy)

Charlas de Salud Emocional is a workshop specifically targeted towards Latinx and other Spanish-speaking students. Created and led by counselor Natalia Figueroa, Charlas de Salud Emocional translates to an emotional health support group, where students can find support within their own community. 

“There isn’t as much support for the Latino community. There are few Spanish-speaking counselors and Spanish-speaking people in multiple areas of health, I wanted to bring that to Clark to help students who might be struggling or who might need to connect with other Latino students,” Figueroa said.

Every meeting consists of different topics such as daily stress management, mental health issues, and things you can do to help improve your mental and emotional health. The idea is for each meeting to feel more like a conversation. Figueroa said collaboration is key. 

Discussing mental health issues with Hispanic families can often be a challenge. A study done by the Pew Research Center found that the Hispanic community is more susceptible to suffer from mental health distress, due to immigration and acculturation. A large portion of Hispanic families might not seek treatment due to a number of barriers such as language, socioeconomic status, and the stigmatization surrounding mental health issues. 

Figueroa said reshaping the way we discuss mental health issues is a start. “We don’t call it group therapy, we call it Charlas.” 

Figueroa also said it’s important to take a moment and to notice your body. “For the Latino community, a lot of the stress is found within the body. Having headaches, pressure on the face, and stomach aches. Those physical manifestations are not necessarily found as much within Western or white identifying folks.”

“The idea of this is not just to be in Spanish for language, it’s to be culturally appropriate as well,” Figueroa said.

One of the techniques Figueroa shared in one of her workshops can be helpful for stress and anxiety. This technique is called square breathing which consists of breathing in for four seconds, holding for four seconds, exhaling for four seconds, and holding for four seconds. “We have a lot of hormones in our body, and this helps regulate not only our breathing but also helps calm us.”

Due to low involvement, Charlas de Saludad will not be holding sessions until spring quarter. To learn more about the workshops click here.

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