2010 Latino/a Behavioral Health Conference


Cultural Competence and Education are Key to Access and Acceptance of Mental Health Services

CHICAGO (November 16, 2010)
-- On a mission to promote education, awareness and prevention of mental illness among the Latino/a population in the United States, the Illinois Department of Human Services, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP), and the Latina/o Mental Health Providers Network at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, this year co-sponsored the Latino Behavioral Health Conference on October 15, 2010. What began as a grass-roots campaign in 1992 has become an annual event, led by a planning committee of mental health practitioners, social service professionals, and educators who have sought to develop leadership and a culturally competent knowledge base among Illinois mental and behavioral health professionals.

"Latinas/os represent the largest and fastest growing ethnic group in the U.S., and yet continue to face multiple challenges in seeking out, accessing and receiving mental health services," said Gustavo Espinosa, LCSW, Region 1 Central executive director for the Illinois Department of Human Services. "This Conference is so significant because it continues to improve the cultural competency of mental health care providers-empowering the providers and the Latino community themselves with the education and tools necessary to address and manage mental health issues."

Entitled "Transitions and Growth, Empowering the Latino Community," this year's Conference was held at Chicago's Merchandise Mart, with over 200 behavioral health professionals in attendance. Welcomed by Dr. Carroll Cradock, campus president of the Chicago Campus of TCSPP, and Michelle Saddler, chief of staff for Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, the Conference focused primarily on improving mental health services for Latino/as by providing the latest in best practices through a culturally sensitive lens. Fabricio Balcazar, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois-Chicago, and Adam Alonso, MSW, executive director of Corazon, Inc. provided dynamic keynote addresses on cultural competency. Session topics covered included, among others, The Use of Storytelling as a Therapeutic Intervention with Latino Youth, Cultural Implications When Working with Latina Trauma Survivors, and Providing Mental Health Treatment to Latino Older Adults in Primary Health Care.

The Chicago School faculty and students helped plan the conference and also presented. Dr. Virginia Quinonez, chair of TCSPP's Clinical Counseling program, presented on the Latino Behavioral Health Task Force: Implementing Strategies to Maintain/Improve Services for Latinas/os; and Dr. Hector Torres, director of the Center for Latina/o Mental Health at TCSPP, along with TCSPP Clinical Counseling students Patricia Monterosa and Amanda Maschmeier, presented on the Clinical Implications of Xenophobia in the United States.

"I believe that the sponsors of and participants in this Conference recognize that we serve everyone when underserved populations get the mental health services they need and deserve," said Dr. Torres. "We share the goal of ensuring that those services are provided with cultural sensitivity and respect."

About the Illinois Department of Human Services
The Department of Human Services is one of Illinois' largest agencies, with more than 14,000 employees and an annual budget of over $5.6 billion.

Illinois created DHS in 1997, to provide residents with streamlined access to integrated services, especially those who are striving to move from welfare to work and economic independence, and others who face multiple challenges to self-sufficiency. DHS is proud of its diversity, efficiency, and the services that the agency and its community partners provide to Illinois citizens.
For more information, visit http://www.dhs.state.il.us

About The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Founded in 1979, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP) is the nation's leading nonprofit graduate school dedicated exclusively to the applications of psychology and related behavioral sciences. The school is an active member of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology, which has recognized TCSPP for its distinguished service and outstanding contributions to cultural diversity and advocacy. The school's community service initiatives have resulted in three consecutive years of recognition on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, including the additional "With Distinction" honor in 2010. In 2009, the school was named to The Chronicle of Higher Education's annual list of "Great Colleges to Work For." Campuses are located in Chicago; in Los Angeles, Westwood, and Irvine, California; and the newest campus in Washington, D.C. Doctoral psychology programs and masters psychology programs are offered on-ground and in an Online format.

For more information about The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, visit www.thechicagoschool.edu. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gradpsychology. Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thechicagoschool.

About the Latino Mental Health Providers Network
The Latina/o Mental Health Providers Network is the result of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology's commitment to diversity and multicultural psychology and generous support from The Chicago Community Trust. The initiative was developed as a response to the pressing need for more mental health professionals who are appropriately trained in the assessment and treatment of Latino/a clients.

The LMHPN meets bimonthly; members of the network receive continuum education credits on Latino/a mental health issues. In addition, the meetings aim to provide the space for providers to learn about other services available in the city, strengthen their referral sources, connect with other providers, and engage in deeper discussions on how to improve mental health delivery for Latinos/as across the city. For more information, visit http://lmhpn.tcscenters.org/ .

For The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Lynne Baker

For the Illinois Department of Human Services
Gustavo Espinosa

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